Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dishonesty !?


Lately I have been watching and talking to folks who are now advertising horses for sale. Not that I'm actually wanting to buy another horse, but who doesn't love to window shop ? I'm as guilty as the next horse person...

This dishonesty /lying has been going on since I was 16 and went to my first horse auction w/ a friend. Everyyyyyone has a horse they want another person to own and as usual, said horse is Perfection on 4 legs. If one goes to horse sales- unless the horses will bring over $50K, people will lie. Heck- they'll lie in order to sell a horse that is priced at $100K. I have seen it happen way to often.

Nowadays,people just don't seem to care.To sell their horse, they'll tell you what they think you want to hear.Never mind that their horse is over 30 years old and 3 legged lame- it is the Best Horse around. Lies about soundnesses, lamenesses,and insanity *( whether it be man made or bad breeding)- they sort of forget to mention those facts.Even the younger sellers do this now! They will answer any question you ask so long as it's a positive one... if not ? They claim that " gosh, I never saw that! He's always been fine for me".

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh- right, I hear ya....

 When did humans become so rude, uncaring, and crass that they don't care where their horse goes, just so it leaves their place? We see it all the time at horse auctions.I have told folks that there will ALWAYS be a reason a horse is at an auction... Always. Might it be a wicked divorce to a terrible car accident, or worse. Might it be that someone has destroyed the horses' mind or body thru being an idiot and thinking they know all about equines? So many reasons but just the same : there's the horse in a hotbed of germs, infectious diseases, a chance to get kicked by another horse who is just as scared as the horse it wallops.And, there are the people there to tell you how sweet & kind their horsey is but their kids lost interest, or some other tall tale of woe.

Then there are the dealers.
These people (men and women alike) who see a horse as a way to make a paycheck. I don't like horse dealers in the least. Now, they are called "kill buyers"- a much more appropriate name. They used to remind me of Vultures sitting on a fence, waiting for someone to pull into the sale with a trailer and horse. They gather around,trying to look inside, asking "whatcha got in dere?" One day I had an empty trailer, all closed up and it happened; I told them I had a baby elephant inside and didn't want anyone to see it. ☺

The kill buyers have a wonderful racket going on by now- and it involves those who really don't know horses like they need to.Inexperience will most likely get you a horse that's not usable and by now? Prices are much more than the average $300.00 horse. Having seen drafters up in prices for something with registration papers at sales or little cute minis' who will chase your kids out of the fields. Registered horses bring a lot more money than say an old 'dobbin' type fresh out of the pasture. Drafters bring more because they are huge and there are a ton of people wanting one to ride them. Never mind that they're bred for being the muscle men of the horse world and can possibly jar your teeth loose at a trot.... Almost any equine that has that " awwwww" effect going on will bring more money and the dealers know it.  Old horses too will bring prices they wouldn't at a slaughter house. ( and they pull on one's heart so badly)

So the dealers buy at auction sales, ship to another one, try to sell said horse to someone else, and they take the horse to yet Another auction and sell it there.Ever heard that the middle-man makes all of the money ? These dudes are the middlemen of the auction sale.

Now we have one dealer who comes up with having his own auction. He cleans up the horses he bought at a so called slaughter auction,clips their bridle paths, oils their hooves, snaps some super nice photos, and maybe even a 30 second video of the horse being ridden- and people flock like seagulls to that sale. The dealers will, ummmm, try to be honest, but when it comes to making money, that all goes right down the proverbial toilet.  Again- still needing to sell that horse and make a profit, they will be the first to tell unknowing people how great the horse is. "Anything for a buck".

This has bugged me for decades. Seeing unsuspecting first or second horse owners getting ripped off by others. What to do to help stop it though ? I always ask pointed questions like- what happened to that front leg? How long has it been lame?

IF a person wants to go to an auction (even more so, a dealers auction at their own place)- then they'd better darn well know their lamenesses, unsoundnesses, signs that a horse is sore or hurting somewhere internally, good and bad conformation (letting you know what kind of ride said horse will be), bitting problems, training troubles,equine personalities, and more so, the use of drugs.

Remember that sales are a cesspool of infection- shipping fever,upper respiratory infections, strangles (strep infection) and more. Figure once you do buy a horse from a sale- it's gonna get sick, so quarantine it for at least 2 weeks- a month is better. What I do with a horse that is considered a "rescue" is to start in on antibiotics the day it arrives. Don't chance the horse causing a barn full of sick horses- it's a lot more expensive to care for a barn of sick horses than  keeping one separated for a while.

If you don't pay attention, there are drugs available that'll calm a nasty tempered horse down for a few weeks. Horses can easily appear sound of mind or body but in truth, are not. Once that wears off, look out. I only had that happen one time at a sale many years ago,and that Appaloosa mare, 3 weeks later, was going to tear someone's face off, given a chance.The moment I saw and learned about drugs and horses, she was put down. No one would ever run the chance of being injured by her again. Yet there she was- at an auction and the sweetest App. around.

So put on those observation hats, KNOW what you are seeing and never ever get sucked in by a soft set of dark brown equine eyes.Buy at sales with your head and never your heart- and maybe, just maybe you'll find a great horse to take home.

Below are two 'rescues' from the New Holland sale that came to live here. The mare in front had been an Amish driving horse and the mare in back- simply was an "old" Thoroughbred.Turns out, after some researching by her new owner, she had been quite the event horse before she got "old" and was sent to the auction. The mare in front is a 5-gaited American Saddlebred. She had been all but used up, mistreated (she had learned to fight back when humans offered pain or fear,etc) and abused- then shipped to a sale. Both of these mares would have ended up on dinner plates in Europe in a couple of weeks, had they not come here. They were both sick, thin, scared, and filthy. When they left they were up to weight, slick and shining with good health. This photo was taken a few months before they left our farm.

All in all, the BEST way to make a horse purchase is to simply save your hard earned money and make a private purchase. Not from a sale... That way you do have enough time to see the horse ridden and handled,and to get what's called a 'Pre-purchase Vet Exam' done. ( ask your veterinarian to come check this horse out for any reason to not buy it) 
Even then, you can easily be lied to via dishonest sellers, but you can certainly lower those odds.
Good luck to all those who see owning a horse in their future-
Get out there with a mentor and Learn!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Real Christmas Eve :)


Apologies for the post before this one. I have no idea why it is weird. I couldn't figure out how to fix it either and gave up. Sometimes it's more wise to walk away than get frustrated.  Or, maybe screaming at one's computer monitor?

So far, Christmas Eve Day is nothing like in the past. No snow, for example... heck, it's 45 degrees outside now. Oh well, the rainy day Could have been a blizzard. The first Christmas spent with Glenn took us to Maryland on Christmas Eve. We enjoyed the festivities with my family, and figured we'd head home to Pennsylvania the next afternoon.

HA! Seems Mother Nature had sent Maryland a HUGE snowstorm overnight. The main road we took hadn't been plowed but maybe once and the smaller roads had been plowed. Wow, did it snow!

By the time we drove down the little road to our farm, the snow was SO bad we could hardly see.. The photo below is the next day.

                Our farm had become a fairy land !

But thanks to the Jeep,and Glenn's good driving, we got home with out a problem.

Talk about a WHITE Christmas!  Wooooooooooohooooo.

Tonight, there will be none of that though. I'm sitting here enjoying a glass of wine from a local winery. The good folks who make it come twice a year and get our horse manure. A pretty fair trade, don't you think.

The horses are all tucked in their stalls, as are the hens in their houses. Simone`, our new kitten, was happily playing with the kitty ball she found when I left.

Now, this 'new kitten' Glenn chose to help replace our two other house cats is another story. Oh lordy, he is an absolute destruction team built into one longggggg cat! Life is a wonderful game for this dude- and everything is to be batted about the house, or dragged. He's knocked over the window candles, broken bulbs and some of the actual candles. He attacked the toilet paper in the guest bathroom and had it all over the place... he has stolen items from the office and I've not seen them again. ( I know he's got all that hidden away somewhere) He chases our poor American Bulldog, grabbing her tail, and it's been just recently that she has started retaliating.She is a very gentle soul but this idiot cat brings out the worst in her. Just this week, we put up the Christmas tree.... I did the decorating of it and now ? MAYBE 4 balls are left hanging way up top. All thanks to Glenn's Cat.  Needless to say, the tree is not as magnificent as it could have been. Never in my life with animals has one small cat been such a terror in the house!
< sighhhh>  Hope he grows up soon.

 I hope you all are having a great holiday season- no matter if you celebrate Hanukkah, Yule or many of the others that happen around this time of year. Hug those loved ones as you just never know how quickly they might be gone.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Eve.... 2016

I realize this has some troubles- blogger has had bad day, I think !

Christmas Eve....  Such a magical night.

"Say goodbye to November

She must be on her way
The cold winds of December
Feel like they're here to stay
Me, I'll just count the snowflakes
As they start to fall
Getting lost in the beauty
The magic of it all...

And our eyes filled with wonder

As the reindeer take to flight...

It's Christmas eve
Bells will ring
Through the town we gather to sing.
Christmas eve
Has begun
Peace and love to everyone

Light the festive candles

They'll chase the shadows away
Gathering round the yule log
With handfuls of holly
Winter winds will whisper
Through the shivering pines
Never have the stars
Looked brighter than tonight...

It's Christmas eve
Bells will ring
Through the town we gather to sing.
Christmas eve
Has begun,
Peace and love to everyone''
(Blackmore's Night )

When I was little, I couldn't wait til Christmas Eve. As poor as we were, Christmas was always a huge event. First, school let us all free for the holidays, lots of time to play. We'd tramp out to the woods where the crowsfoot grew, gathering lots of it ,and standing pine, stuffing it into burlap bags. Some weighed more than we did! Home again, then to making wreaths. Adding a huge red bow made each one perfect. We would then, take our treasures to each of our neighbors' houses.   For those who've never seen Crows Foot, here's a picture:

Crow's Foot:

It grows close to the ground and makes a wonderful wreath.

I know our parents liked us finding things to keep us busy as they had many things to be finished before Christmas Eve. We'd make decorations for the tree- popcorn strung on string, cranberries and blueberries on thread.  All of our 'store bought' decorations were quite old- they'd be very expensive antiques by now. We were so careful to not drop one on the tiled floor, but at least one got broken each year.

Our tree was one that'd been chosen a month before from the 'woods'. Our Dad would take an axe and we'd all walk out to cut it down. The little ones were told to ''stand back!"  They did- not wanting to get squished under a big fuzzy tree! When I was young, my Dad told us all a story of how the tree never wanted to be chosen as a Christmas tree... that it wanted to live out it's life in grandeur and in peace in the forest. So, we'd all bow our heads and one of us ( who'd been working on it all year long) would read our prayer to the trees. To thank them for being here and helping Mother Nature to continue living. Some of these prayers of thanks were real short, and some went on and on and onnnnnnnnnnnnnn.  Soon, we had a gorgeous tree in the tree stand, as my parents argued over whether it was straight or not. We kids thought this was silly. After all, what Christmas tree wasn't perfect, no matter what ? Let the decorating begin!

Then the long wait began. Those who already knew Santa Claus lived in our hearts and wasn't 'real', tried hard to not let on that he wasn't... 

I still have a handmade sign that simply reads "Believe". I still believe. Not in Santa or St Nick, or whatever name is given to him, but in Christmas and what it stands for. As I got older, I liked to celebrate the Winter Solstice as well- "Yule"...  Two grand celebrations with in the same week ? How perfect.

 Now that I am older, Christmas doesn't hold the fascination that it did when I was 10 or even 20. I noticed how my parents, as they grew older, got more into the religious side of Christmas. Sure, it's a Huge part of the holiday but as a child , those gifts called my name.  

We tried to go to the midnight service at church Christmas Eve, but it turned out that the littler ones stayed home and wait for Santa. I have some old family photos of various Christmas' and each one brought back such memories. It wasn't long til we were all adults and off on our own. We'd all 'go home' for Christmas Eve though.... The Finnish peoples celebrated Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day.
(  , for some reading ) So that's what we did. It was great fun, and even after my Dad was gone, Mom still had that evening for all of us. 

Back to being 8 again!  Morning arrived after, ohhhhhhhhhhh, a good 24 hours of waiting in bed. We were not allowed to get up until our parents did, which was sheer torture. Breakfast and then it was time! We'd each get a gift, and had to wait politely until the first gift was opened, and enjoyed. Thankyous, hugs and kisses on cheeks for the person who'd given it.  It was marvelous.

For me, Christmas is still magical and fun- just different now. My siblings are scattered to the 4 winds, parents are long gone,as is our homestead. No place to go 'home'. My husband and I have a quiet celebration, open gifts and create a wonderful Christmas feast for the evening. It's pleasant and peaceful.... 
but I still miss those early Christmas'...

''It's Christmas eve,
Bells will ring
Through the town we gather to sing.

Christmas eve,
Has begun...
Peace and love to everyone.''

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016- Goodbye

What a terrible year for me.There's a lot of good though- I have a brand new hip that works perfectly, some delightful gals here at the barn and healthy husband,horses,and hens! Life is goooooooooood.

The terrible part was women leaving when I needed them the most. They moved the horses I'd given to them ( yep- free, w/ no board due). Here I was a few days out of surgery, and yep- one had dreamed up something she didn't care for and gave notice. Turns out I wasn't the only one relieved when all the proverbial dust settled. The barn's inhabitants settled down and got back to happy/ relaxed again, as did the people. Sometimes awful things have to happen to make room for more good things- and I think that is what happened here this past Spring. I am looking forward to 2017 with high hopes.

We finally got to take a 'real' vacation like normal people do- driving up the coast to Maine and relaxed a bit. It wasn't long enough though- not for me. I fell in love with Maine big time and could easily move there when we finally retire.Of course, the husband warns me about the cold weather and big snow amounts. I tell him that I lived in Michigan and did alright.

Chicken stuff: Issac has been doing what he's good at and we have had ummm,5 new hens grow up here. Four blacks and one Lavender hen. Turns out this is great because a couple of months, we lost Daisy our other Lavender hen. Also,we have discovered that Gracie, the small Silky hen is a horrid mama,but oh myyyyy,she'll sit until something hatches on fertile eggs. What I've learned is to let her sit, and then once her baby hatches, to raise it in the tack room. Otherwise, she'll hurt the babies... duh. Little to no motherly instinct in that little gal. She tried her best to make her feet hatch this Fall- to no avail. This means she went broody and decided that she was sitting in the nest, on her little feet instead of eggs.(we took them away because it would have been way to cold for peepies) Winter isn't a wise time to be born when you're a teeny little chick.  Some of the girls have gone thru a molt earlier this Autumn. Oh lordy did they ever look Horrible!Some only did a semi molt and others like Chocolate were all but bald for a couple of days. Thank gosh new feathers grew back in fast.

We have a new short guy here. He's the newest part of the farm. This is Eli :

He's all of 11 hands tall and is a rescue. He'd been sent to an auction sale in New Holland, Pa which is a big " kill buyer" sale.  Long story short- he arrived here a couple of weeks ago and everyone loves him. I bought him a little teeny pony turnout blanket as it turns out he doesn't like the wind/ cold very much at all. He still isn't sure about us not getting after him for something but is getting used to the routine and people here. Even my husband seems to think he's an okay pony. We want to teach him to drive and what grand fun that'll be! I am hoping "Santa" brings us a new teeny little harness for him. Ha- I have Never had an equine so short. According to Eli, he's as tall & fierce as any of those Percherons he's seen. 

I had to face facts about the ancient barn kitties. They were totally deaf and so arthritic their lives were pretty awful. I had to make the choice to call our vet to let them both move on or risk someone running them over, or being stepped on by a horse. The most kind thing was to peacefully let them move over "Rainbow Bridge". I know we all shed some tears over having them go, but even though it was hard to say goodbye, it was the kindest thing.

Seems that God/Goddess saw what was happening and decided to send our farm a lovely little kitten. We had no idea if it was a male or female, so I started calling it "Simon/Simone`" until we figured out which it was. SHE is now becoming very friendly and is gorgeous. The plan is to get her spayed after the first of the year,and hopefully she will stick around. She adores Amanda who keeps her pony here!

That's about all of the news here in PA. WE are getting ready for Christmas and our annual party so it'll be hectic here for a while. I love this time of year, but it needs to get a little colder to seem more like Christmas. A little dash of snow would be perfection.
Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season,
 no matter what holiday you celebrate!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Welcome October!


Happily, it is October. My favorite month of the whole year.... Time for hoodies, jeans, bonfires on the beach ( well, if you live near one- and I did), and the world becomes strikingly gorgeous.
Halloween is my favorite holiday- right behind Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The chickens are molting ( loosing their old feathers and growing in new ones) and some look positively horrid. Skinny, partially bald and not real happy with life. I swear the hens know they look icky, because they don't seem to want much attention. In all reality, its' because it takes Lot of work growing in brand new feathers. Lilly is the bald lady of the week, so far... Silverwulf has lost her tail feathers and a couple of others aren't looking real good either. Egg laying comes to an abrupt stop during this time, but I don't mind. So all in all, I have mouldy looking hens, no eggs, and even Issac is walking around looking at them oddly.

The drafters are getting incredibly fuzzy and their heads, where usually their black skin shows up, are all covered in silver. Due to their great ages, these two are pure white now, with Lynn developing " flea bites". Little black specks- I have no idea who came up w/ the name as a description, but it has been like this for a lonnnnng time. Perhaps from back when people got bitten by fleas a lot ? I dunno...

The two draft pony mares are fuzzy too- I love it. Those two are not going to be cold this winter, if their shaggy coats mean anything. Briana is terribly fluffy ( ha- in more than one way) and she reminds me of a little black furry blimp with legs hanging out. Rose is a little taller and looks good in her winter splendor. This is a photo from last winter.... she's more black now and not as sunburned but still ummm,'fluffy".

The light horses have yet to have much of a winter fuzz even beginning. Such is a protective coat of cold blooded animals, I drafters; they won't need heavy turnout blankets to often.

We have a new addition to the house...Dexter! He's a little guy, but oh wow, Full of play and mock fighting. He is 100% Glenn's kitten- which means no more litter box cleaning for Me! ( yay)
                    He's 11 weeks in these two photos

For the past two weeks, I have been dealing with a twisted/ sprained ankle. Many thanks to a horse taking off and my landing wrong. The weird thing is that it swelled like mad, but never has hurt to walk on it. Finally my ankle is going back to normal, and the bruising is leaving too. Sheesh- if it's not one thing, it's a swollen ankle.(tease)

That's about it for now- Bess's little brood are quickly out growing her. The Lavender Orpington peep is really getting tall. Still, I am lousy and figuring out sexes of little chickens, so it's all a guess til one starts to practice crowing. ( have you ever heard a teenager rooster trying to crow ? Omgosh- it's hilarious!)

Enjoy this wonderful weather and All Hallows Eve !

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Molly the Mouser

  The other day, one of the gals who takes care of evening chores for me stopped at the house before leaving. She had some very amazing news it seemed.

This past February, we hatched out a peep. The mom was only good at hatching her babies but in no way was she going to care for them too."Molly" ended up being raised in the ever popular Cosequin bucket. She is half Lavender Orpington, and half who knows what.This is herself checking out a friend's cell phone:

She isn't a year old yet, and has become the most incredibly friendly barn chicken in a long time. She follows us around, supervising our work, she likes to ride in the wheelbarrow when we are putting hay in stalls for the horses, and loves checking out the manure we have put into the wheelbarrow while cleaning out stalls. All in all, Molly is quite a character.

She is now laying eggs and I think she's finally settled on a small place beside a hay bale for a place to do that. Used to be we would find them in the fresh hay in stalls, in a corner of a stall, and once or twice, in an actual nesting box. 

So- that's Molly. Now, back to the news that the gal brought to show me.....

It turns out that while she'd been mixing up feed for the horses, she heard a scuffling about outside. It was Molly. She'd found a mouse and was doing her best to catch it. She finally did, and killed it. The video from the gal's cell phone showed Molly checking the mouse out,pecking at it a little. Ok- so that's a normal behavior. Then she ate it WHOLE !!!

Yep- swallowed it right down. I was speechless at seeing that, let me tell you. There it all was- on a video. Thank goodness the gal had her phone with her and thought to record it. She hadn't a clue that Molly was going to do that and wanted to show me that Molly had indeed done a good thing.

Well, Molly seems to be fine still and is happily hunting about for spiders, flys and other items of interest to a chicken. Amazing stuff one sees at a horse fam if one is observant enough!

IFFFF I can figure out how to share the little video, I will add it here. 

Three cheers for our "Molly the Mouser ''!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

To 'hang' or not to 'hang' ??

 I bet you're wondering, "what in the heck is she up to now?" 
( and why are some words in a different font here? Hmmmm)

 Yep, that is the question... Should a "horse trainer" hang out a 'shingle' advertising that they can and will train your horse for you, or not......  There seem to be no regulations or licensing to become a so-called "trainer''- anywhere.  Not that I have noticed. Sure there are some horsey schools that turn out people who think they can train, just because they can ride and some are really very very good. Then, there are the others.

Anyways, I have always been impressed with many horse trainers. Those who actually know what they are doing, and understand the equine mind.This is a wonderful thing to me, and when I see someone who understands, I'm in heaven. Now- there's a person I could talk to and know they'd understand. Without that understanding, the door for mental and physical abuse opens wide.

 I never advertised myself AS a horse trainer, but as time went by, plenty of people saw the results of how I taught my own horses. Slowly, but surely, I developed a waiting list of sorts. ( this was LONG before the internet, facebook, twitter and blogs!!!) This list was good for my ego but often folks found another person to deal with their troubled horse.

Horses really do want to have life easy.They want food, ( IE: grasses if they are wild), quiet times, good pals to scratch backs with and enough water to stay happy. When a human is introduced onto that scene, things can go terribly wrong and fast.

Treat them with the understanding that they will need to become fluent in a language completely different. Different body languages, different verbal sounds, just different everything. Imagine being an English speaking person, and then have another person tell you things in a language you have never heard before... That's when trouble starts.

Horses are pretty darned intelligent ( just ask the pony who unlocks his stall door and unlocks only his best pal's stall door) and use it alot more than many folks know. They've survived for millions of years and have gotten so much more intelligent. BUT- they are still horses. Horses that get confused and then frightened because they are trying to understand so hard that they sometimes shut down into a hysterical panic.  When a horse goes there, you may as well re- think your 'training' procedures.

So- all of that written, do you think there should be requirements and/ or licensing for horse trainers ? I think if there were, it would save a lot of pain and confusion in the equine.