Monday, June 26, 2017

Summertimmmmmeeee

And the livin' is easy. 
Well, at least how the song lyrics go. Hope everyone is enjoyin' their summer time.

No vacations this year, not much going on but caring for da horses, and hens.  Speaking of the hens, the little peeps are no longer little peeps. They are growing up- their voices are changing too! It's so fun to listen to them. The one flighty one is the worst. She sounds like a rusty nail scratching on a black board.  Sparkle's voice has changed to a nice mature hen sound,but Star ? Omgawd.

This week is supposed to be delightful !!!  Cooler, and the best part, lower humidity. Life outdoors is so much harder when it is higher than say 55%.  So it has been busy around here... mowing pastures, cob-webbing in the barn and much more. This is in addition to all the other things that go along w/ owning a small horse farm. It is hard squeezing it all into those days where one doesn't run out of steam. So far, so good though!

I had to clip the rest of BoJangles' winter coat this week. Even though his winter coat shed out, it's still a heavy "summer" one left. He now is sporting a "not so good" trace clip- but at least he's cooler. Evidently, his DSLD has begun spreading to the rest of his body and Cushing's Disease is setting in.  I will see how he does this year and get him on some meds for it if he needs it. Poor ol' guy- he is just the sweetest.

Riding lessons are going well, and life is good here. Ha- til temps go back up to the 90's and get more miserable. Have a wonderful week!


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Lots Goin' On!

6.6.2017

Today is  "D-Day" - make sure to say a prayer of thanks for those brave men who died that day, trying to help us stay free...

Let's see- Seems to me that I missed May completely. It was a good month- and a bad month. Two non-paying boarders moved their horses to another farm. One because it was so close to her house and the other ? Who knows.  Horses are relaxed, and turn outs are easy breezy. The last weekend in May was my birthday. Oh- and Memorial day too. I joke w/ folks, saying that people have parades, picnics and fireworks "just to celebrate my birthday" !  ( I really do know better)  It was wonderful- my older sister and younger brother came up from Maryland to visit with cake and gifts. They even sang happy birthday. It was so nice to be able to visit with them for a while. We went out for a late lunch and then they had to go. Every time I wished they could stay longer.

The remaining hens have settled in pretty well by now. There are three black hens. one lavender hen, one little Cochin bantam hen, and two "teenagers". Both hens also... One lavender and one weird looking thing that I was calling "pecker head" for a while. She is now named "Star".  She was left here by one of the gals who moved her horse, and it is nothing like my fat farm hens. She's flighty, silly, and Always on guard for monsters. ( you know those 'monsters' that like to sneak around, scaring the life out of chickens, right ?) Also- Gracie is here still. She's my bantam Silkie. Below is Gracie having her photo taken by my trail camera!

Been hitching n' driving Briana some. Mostly it has been raining here, so the footing wasn't the best for driving. We did drive down the road one time- Briana thought it was interesting to be going somewhere else. She's such a sweetie. My husband calls her " little Evie" because of how she acts and looks.
This was Evie, andddddd
                              This is Briana...

Much smaller but just as smart and funny too. Never did I think that I'd fall in love with a 13.1 hand PONY, but I have. She's as much fun as one of my Percheron's only in a smaller package.

 Hay is being cut up here in Penciltucky finally. Soon our hay loft will be full of sweet,fresh green hay.I always love having hay up before Fall... it is nice to know that when the snow falls, we are prepared.  Back in Maryland, I imagine they're on their second cutting of hay. We are a good 2 weeks behind them.

Plenty of rain means plenty of grass... And Weeds.  Yuck-I have been mowing weeds like mad, trying to let the grass grow instead. It's working slowly. I know how to create lush green pastures, but up here ? Ha- no extra money for fertilizer, lime or weed killer.  So, I mow.

That's about it for now- hope your week goes great.















Sunday, April 23, 2017

Horse Watching & some murders

4.23.2017

This past week has been quiet... Morning chores were done quickly and the same with the evening feed. The weather has been so wonderful, all of the horses got to stay outside continuously. I liked it- and I can only suppose they did too. Much less work for people to do!

Simone, our new-ish kitten, has been able to be out in the barn too. She actually was doing some mousing and caught one this morning.  Woooohoooooo- granted, it was a very young stupid mouse but none the less, she's beginning to do her job. She carried it in the tack room ( ewww) and proceeded to torture it to death. I left as even though I know it is what cats do,I still don't like to be around when they do that. Yuck.
below is Simone. Taken by Pat Showers ( thanks!)











                          Rest in Peace, Issac.
This past week I lost my kind rooster, Issac.
He was attacked by something that got into the house he was sleeping in. Chased him out ( I imagine he flew over the gate) grabbed him and killed him. Just beautiful lavender feathers remained. If that wasn't a big enough loss, the next night, the 'what-ever' came back. This time, it tried to dig under the hen's house on the hill, and succeeded in getting inside. The next morning, I had 4 hens dead and one just gone. It all broke my heart a little once again. So now I have two little bantams, one lavender hen, and three black hens from this year. Once they got over the shock of what happened, they began laying again and I'm getting 5 eggs daily.  Not to bad, I think. These girls will remain in a box stall until I am SURE what ever it was doing the killing is dead also. There's also two young ladies living in my garden tub for now. One lavender pullet and one who knows what from a gal who hatched the eggs.
 I am 90% sure it was a fox- the method of killing, the digging, and the fact that it returned lets me think that's what it was.< sigh> This farm is Awful for things dying . So many horses, and hens...makes a gal want to say 'to hell with it all'.  Sadly enough- all of these chickens have been lost over the years.  :(









Horse watching :   I love doing this when it's quiet n' peaceful out. I've been trying to figure out why Rusty behaves as he does, and I *think* I have some ideas. He is best pals w/ the draft ponies- but he'll charge the two geldings in the other field. Usually this happens when it's time to be fed or if some person is around. This horse really has me stymied big time. When I attempt to talk with him about it , I get a blank stare or totally ignored. So Rusty is keeping his secrets for now.

When Briana arrived here in 2015, she was just 5 years old. A little intimidated by the other horses. Especially the Percherons... she n' Lynn got along alright soon enough.  Now, this week, being turned out with Rose, the tide has changed. Rose used to be the boss mare but now ? Briana is.  I guess she's grown up mentally in the past year. Rose gives way but doesn't seem to mind when Briana "protects" her from Rusty being a PITA. When Lynn got older and her arthritis kicked in, she started walking away from her hay when BoJangles told her to. Then when Evie was still alive, she was Boss Mare of the two. The young and able take over the herd hierarchy, and things change. With Shonee n' Jae, it is a partnership/ friendship. But Jae is the boss when it's feed time...  Go figure. It's all what the horse thinks of him/herself. If they want to be the boss, and willing to argue their way up the proverbial ladder, they will be. Then as horses age, a younger, more bold horse, takes over the position of Boss. It has fascinated me for years and I still love watching them.
                            Evie n' Lynn
             










Thursday, April 13, 2017

KrisTales

AKA: stories from the past.

  I have been around horse people most of my life, with thanks to my mother. She realized very quickly that her daughter was a horse crazy child, and tried her best to support that craziness. She bought my first pony- who was everything a horsey kid did NOT need- and supplied me with feed/ hay for said pony. My dad constructed a one car sized "barn" for my eventual horse and was there for our very first ride together. Nothing went wrong as my mom had said it would, and I was so proud of my "training"!
  That TB gelding was from some of the top fox hunting lineage in Chester County ( Pennsylvania) and wasn't nearly as highly trained as I thought. There were a few training holes, thanks to a kid with no mentors. After all, we met when I was 13 and hardly wet behind the ears so far as horse knowledge went. We made it thru our life together without doing a lot of damage to each other and life was good.
  I remember teaching him to jump. After all, he was bred for hunting- so why couldn't he jump over things? My friend, Dennis, and I would set up "jumps" from saplings across the logging trails in the woods, then give jumping over them a try. My horse could jump- and he could jump High! ( it wasn't long before I learned about properly constructed jumps) At any rate- in my neighbors' field, he saw no reason to jump over something. Why not just go around it? Easier that way. I thought and thought and came up with giving him a small piece of carrot after each time he jumped over the "jump" in that field. We worked it out this way: I would do my circle and aim his face at the jump. Yay!! Over we'd go. I would then stop him and give him a piece of carrot as a reward. We were doing really well at this jumping stuff in a few weeks.
  Finally, I figured we were good enough to try our hand at shows... The guy who was hauling us arrived early that morning, and my horse decided there was no way he was going into something he could look over.Took me 2 hours to get that big horse into that small quarter horse sized trailer, and off we went. We arrived at the horse show- me in my "elephant ear" jodhpurs, boots shined so they looked plastic, tack sparkly clean and a big gawky looking 4 yr old red horse. He was so clean his coat just glistened. After getting our show number,I realized it was soon 'show time' ! We entered the ring, checking out the 8 jumps positioned along the ring's railing. Simple- jump over those jumps and we'd be done.
   We entered the show ring, did our canter circle and I aimed him towards the first jump. Wooooeeeeee- we cleared it! But then my horse screeched to a stop, and turned his face around, looking at me. "Oh nooooooooooooooo- we have to keep going!" Over the next jump, a screech to a halt and that look and it happened with every jump. Oh lordy- he was expecting his carrot reward. Needless to say, the whole class went that way and I was quite simply mortified. We didn't even get a ribbon that day but wow, did I learn a lot.
  I wanted the earth to open up and let me hide... but I had a horse to care for, even if I wasn't real happy with him.
 On the drive home, some serious pondering was going on in my head. That was when I began learning about horses in a different manner. They wanted to please, and did what they'd been taught... that meant the person doing the teaching really had to do it correctly. At 15, I'd begun learning to hear what the horses in my life were telling me.
 That horse eventually went on to another owner that was so excited to own a horse like mine. He knew the bloodlines and did teach "my" horse how to become a fox hunting horse- a Very good one. Last time I heard anything about those two, "my" horse had been retired and was then helping the mans' grand daughters to ride- and yes, jump.
  Somewhere I have some photos of me n' my first real horse- I suppose I should find them one day.

          God bless the horses who helped me learn.









Sunday, March 26, 2017

See ya, March

3.26.17

A few more days and March will be over with. There's a saying about March- "in like a lion, out like a lamb".....  however, not this year. So far, it has been winter, spring, one day of almost summertime and a snow storm. March can't seem to make up her mind!

As most horse people know, this is the time of year we all walk about covered in at least *some* horse hair. Shedding season- where horses' bodies realize it is time to lose that heavy winter hair and the summer coat returns. Therefore- we humans have the joys of horse hair Everywhere: eyes, eye lashes, all over clothing, in our mouth,nose and well- just everywhere! Ah, such is the life of a horse owner. My Percherons have been leaving giant 'hair' angels in the fields from rolling- big white ones.

The hens started laying again and I'm inundated with eggs. Everyone who comes here leaves w/ a dozen free range eggs from my girls. A pal has borrowed my incubator to see how she could do in hatching some fertile eggs and a few days ago, the hatching began!  So far she has ( I think) four peepies. A couple are mine and the rest belong to her. I think she did a fantastic job too!  This one is hopefully coming to our farm:

It had Just hatched...  A brand new little life in it's infancy. :)

 Lots of things in the plans for this year, now I have to get moving on the actual planning of them. Life at the barn is Wonderful right now! Other than some tragedies happening, we are good to go.

And so it goes- we are looking forward to April and all that might come along with it.
Hope yours is good too !








Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dishonesty !?

2.23.2016

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!