Farm life

A New Bridle for Gemmie

The left side of the property has all been connected and opened up for horse use. We were going to introduce them to the new space Sunday morning but it alternated pouring rain and ice pellets until mid afternoon. Winter GO AWAY. The right side is trickier to connect all five pastures as there are two wooded sections separating some of the pastures.

When I got home on Saturday, I saw Dusty in the front woods opening up an area to connect the pastures through. I got out and said hello and was greeted with him complaining about needing a chainsaw. I asked what he needed one for. The trees were all small. I went on to tell him to use the ax. That’s what people did before chainsaws were invented, right? Easy.

Well. He didn’t like that and pointed to a tree telling me to use the ax and cut it down. I bet him I could do it and put a new bridle versus an ultra marathon race entry for him on the line.

The tree in question

A while later and I had won myself a new bridle.

Bye, baby tree

Now to figure out what I want! I actually think I am going to get a new girth instead. I’ve been eyeing the TFS Stretch Tech girth for a while now and am not really liking the fit of mine. It keeps the saddle snug and in place, but when I put my hand along it, the front 1/4 is loose and all the pressure is along the back 3/4s. Its in part due to Gem’s anatomy, but I think it is also the material the girth is made out of.

Regardless of what I choose to get, it was won with my own sweat and the death of a baby tree. Sorry about that baby tree.

Farm life

Gem Gives Me a Heart Attack

Dusty headed out to do morning chores Sunday, per usual. Bring the horses in, feed and hay them, let them eat for a bit and then one of us goes out to put them back out an hour or so later.

He barely left the house when my phone rang. Odd. I was snuggled up on the couch with Wyatt watching a cartoon. I looked at the phone and it was Dusty. Even more odd. Answering it granted me with a simple “you need to come out here.” I figured he would have told me if someone was dead or bleeding or something, so I pulled myself out from under Wyatt and ran outside in my pjs and slippers.

I saw this:

A bit grainy, but I wasn’t taking time to snap a good picture

That looks ok. Two horses near each other behind a fence. Except there is one glaring problem. Gem is NOT IN HER PASTURE. Pete and Nash are.

So…Pete on the far right is solidly inside the pasture where they have been since moving in. The fence line can be seen BETWEEN Pete and Gem as the row of t posts and tape. Gem is standing in the lane that leads down to the pond and is in between two pastures. It has some tape as a gate of sorts blocking access to the pond lane and that is what Gem is standing behind. Impatiently waiting for her breakfast. Had she been so inclined she could have wandered down to the pond, into the woods and be lost for forever.

Gulp.

We found part of the tape down halfway toward the pond and a pile of Gem poop tattling on her escape route. It is unclear whether she tore it down in her impatience (very possible), if the high winds did it or if a deer (numerous visit the farm) knocked it down. Either way she didn’t look back at the opportunity to try to get to the barn. I fully believe that had the tape not blocked her way, Dusty would have found her in the barn either in her stall or more likely in the hay stall eating. The girl wants to be inside something fierce.

We grabbed the horses and put them in the barn while Dusty got busy repairing the fence. We didn’t string these lines and they are not as taut as we would like, so he spent a few hours tightening everything he could. The next day we had planned to move them to a different pasture anyway since they had eaten all the green stuff out of this one and we have enough room to rotate and not ruin any one pasture.

Miss Mare was on high risk escape watch for the next few days but seems content with the larger space and more green grass. Until she eats that down. Then we might find her on our front porch peeking in.

Farm life

The New Routine

Life is starting to settle on the farm. With the new digs came a new routine and it took me a while to figure out what would work best.

Sunset grazing

While I love the pasture life, I’m not a fan of feeding in it. In order to prevent the faster eating Pete from stealing Gem’s grain, I’d have to stand there and watch them eat. Not so bad in nice weather, but it sucked in the rain, cold or extreme heat. I also didn’t like how the horses had no handling unless I was either riding or going to annoy them with farrier work or other such things. It was making Gem a bit annoying to catch and Pete darn near impossible. He tends towards going feral when he isn’t handled frequently.

All this was solved with the new barn. We’ve been bringing them in for feeding twice daily and it has made a world of difference. Gem can now eat as slowly as she’d like since Pete can’t get to her. This also creates a situation where we are haltering and leading them in/out four times a day.  When Gem sees me coming with a halter these days, she meets me at the gate to see what is up. That is a first in nearly eight years of having her and I love it.

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Food? Food? Are you sure you don’t have food?

The only issue that has popped up is Gem’s decision that she is now an indoor horse and refuses to leave her stall both morning and night to return to the pasture. It takes a solid minute or two to convince her that outside in a green pasture isn’t so terrible before she will slowly drag her fat butt down the barn aisle and outside. She does so in protest too as she drags her legs and hangs her head. Of course the moment she is out she goes trotting away and rolls, so I don’t believe her antics one bit. Life is hard when you are a Princess. I’ve also caught Pete dozing in the morning when I go to turn out. If I didn’t work all day I’d let them stay in for a few hours.

Her typical post turn out roll

Nashers is fitting in as well. I completely failed to get any media of his introduction to the herd, but it was a complete non event. They said hi and got to eating.  He is being slowly introduced to turnout since I have no idea what his grass situation has been before up in RI. Currently he gets to go out with Gem and Pete during the day and is in at night. I’m not sure when we will let him out at night if at all. Once the spring grass starts growing in a few months, we will be back to shorter cycles until he adjusts.

Wyatt helps bring him in and out. Nash needs to learn some better ground manners as he likes to stop a lot to eat clover. i don;t tolerate horses who pull on you or try to stop when being led, so we are working on that. 

All is currently well which is great feeling. There is a lot of work to do around the place and we will slowly get to it all in due time. Right now I’m just happy everyone has settled in.

Farm life, Riding/Horses

Wyatt Meets Nashville

Friday was a screwy day. I was expecting the shipper to come in later in the day but Thursday night he called me to say he’d be there around 9 am. I had to leave for the OR by 10 and was really nervous about getting Nash and leaving right away hoping he’d still be alive when I got home later that night.

Thankfully my Aunt and Uncle, the ones who taught me how to ride, moved down here last year and were eager to help out. They came that morning and stayed all day watching over him. I couldn’t thank them enough.

I had two surgeries to do and true to form with this OR my start time kept getting bumped back. The first case went amazing but the second fell apart a bit. It turned out good in the end, but it took all my training and skills to figure out. By the time I finally left it was 5:15 and getting dark.

Dusty was getting out at the same time so he grabbed Wyatt and I went straight home. My Aunt and Uncle were still there and my parents had come as well. It was late and it was dark.

I got home just before Dusty and Wyatt and I asked Wyatt for a favor. I told him something odd had showed up in the barn and I needed his help figuring it out. We walked into the barn and I pointed out the stall. Wyatt couldn’t see over and neither could Nash, so I picked him up and he just about lost his crap right there.

He was so excited!!

We took Nash out and Wyatt immediately asked to walk him then wanted to ride. We wandered down to the arena, threw the lights on for the first time and Wyatt climbed right up. Bareback. He giggled and laughed as we went around and then asked if he could jump. We went over a ground pole and then a small cross rail that Nash just stepped over and Wyatt was on cloud nine.

Eventually we convinced him to get down but only because everyone was leaving. He then brushed him out and picked his feet and asked to go on again. So we did.

Saturday morning he got up and ran outside to grab Nash. He walked him around then got his helmet to ride. Dusty took him all over the one pasture, up and down hill and Nash didn’t put a foot wrong. When he got stubborn and stopped, Wyatt pony club kicked and told him to walk on and he did. They even trotted some.

The best thing is how brave Wyatt is. I went back and forth with Trainer on what to get. She thought a 14h, older, been there done that horse would be best as he could have many, many years growing into it. But I knew Wyatt’s biggest issue was height and perceived speed and I was concerned that a 14h horse wouldn’t be much better than Gem at 15h. Nash has proven to be exactly what I wanted: a great confidence booster and something Wyatt would be comfortable handling and riding from the start. So far that is exactly what has been happening. He has been walking him around, brushing him, picking his feet and happily climbing up and down on his own. When he nearly fell off he just laughed.

Who knows if his interest will remain this high or what will happen, but I’m very happy I got Nashville. He will teach Wyatt a lot even if he decides he doesn’t want to ride much. And when he does outgrow him, I plan to break him to drive.

Wyatt has kept both his full name and barn name as Nashville and Nash. I call him Little Nashers. After the holidays I’ll need to find a nice used pony bridle and saddle. Wyatt has already decided his colors will be neon green and black (his favorites) so I need to get looking for saddle pad and bonnet in those.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Farm life

Pictorial Farm Tour

I’ve been failing at life a bit lately. It’s been hectic to say the least. I’m finding myself with very little energy to put into this story and it is one I want to do well. So, until I can find that energy once again and do the story justice I’m going to do a big media dump of the new farm. Although I’ve failed at that too since it took until our 5th time out there to take pictures and even then I only snagged shots of half the property. Someday I’ll find time to breathe again.

Also note that I’m on my cell in the app and it’s very hard to use so sorry for any weird formatting.

One of my favorite parts is the 1/4 mile long, double wide paved driveway. This place was a western show barn and boarding facility for many years and due to that it has a lot of features we wouldn’t have thought of. The drive was built for ease of use with trailers.

It ends in a circle around the windmill and well house. With a carport off to the right and parking spots to the left which allow the circle to be empty of cars.

There is a super cute metal windmill with the well house and the barn is behind it.

As you walk down the drive towards the barn there are pastures that run all the way from the drive entrance to the very back of the property along this side. Currently it is separated into three pastures, but the first thing we plan to do is make this into one large pasture. It appears to be a mix of Bermuda and fescue. I didn’t get a shot of all the pastures because we were out there for another reason and I didn’t have time, but they look like grass.

This side of the property has a hill that runs away from the camera onto the tree line that is decently steep enough. It also has a decline from the front to the back.

The barn itself is really two barns in one. The original wood barn has an old judges tower that overlooks the arena and houses the majority of the stalls and amenities. The newer Morton’s style barn added five stalls and an office.

This is a view from one entrance of the arena looking at the side of the barn. The arena opens into a smaller fenced in grass area at the front which I’m assuming was used for holding before a barrel or pole run. We plan on taking down the one fence line and adding this section into the other three main pastures on this side of the property. There is a back entrance to the arena which is more useful.

Speaking of the arena. It’s massive. Like no way could I ever have afforded to put one in this size massive. At one time it had nice river sand footing and has been professionally graded. Unfortunately grass has taken over in the six years since it was last used. I’m hoping a lot of weed killer to kill the grass and then a few days of turning it over will bring it back to life. Reclaiming an unused arena can be hard so fingers crossed this isn’t going to turn into a major project. The size will limit me being able to put anything fancy down for footing as I won’t be able to afford it so that sand better be nice. There are lights as well which means I can ride during the week after work once again.

I grabbed some shots from ground level and a few from the judges tower.

On our final walk through I saw some jump standards in the pile to go off to the dump and quickly claimed them.

The barn houses sixteen stalls and parallels the arena

There is an office complete with window. No clue what we will do with this room

Sixteen wood stalls. They aren’t my favorite design but all are functional especially since we don’t stall our horses much. I do plan to start feeding in the stalls for numerous reasons.

There is a small feed room

Looking down into the row of stalls in the old wooden portion of the barn

A roomy tack room begging to have organization added. I think this may be the thing I’m most excited about. I haven’t had access to a tack room since moving here in 2013. My stuff has lived in my trailer which makes packing a breeze but I’d rather have a nice safe spot. This is not climate controlled which is a project for down the road.

Another neat feature is a fully functional bathroom with laundry machines.

And a hot and cold wash rack

This is toward the back of the barn. Leaving through the back takes you straight into the arena

The barn also demarcates the two sides of the property nicely. Looking at the barn this direction has the arena to the right with the pastures I got pictures of. To the left is a pathway leading down to the pond and then five more pastures running from the pond to the front entrance to the property.

This side is going to take more work to connect everything. There are two pastures that will be easy to remove fences from, but then there is a small section of woods with a deep creek ravine between sections two and three. From there three could easily connect to four by removing a big open space previously used for a burn pile but we run into a similar problem connecting to five. All in all I think this side of the property has more acreage. Of the 30 acres, 26 are in pasture, two are with the house and two are in the pond.

Let’s see. What am I missing?

Out by the house there is a tree house for Wyatt. Beyond this are pastures 3 and 4 then a big open area that was used as a place for a big burn pile then pasture five.

Oh and there is a house but who cares about that?

Hopefully once we are all moved in this weekend I’ll remember to grab shots of the other side of the property but honestly it looks a lot like a bunch of grass.

Here are some aerial shots from the original ad. Everything you see is our property and it runs along the winding drive out to the road with pastures lining both sides that aren’t fully shown.

Family, Farm life, Uncategorized

Apparently Ponies No Longer Exist

Pony shopping. Ugh.

I’ve finally bit the bullet and began an outright, not so casual search for Wyatt’s wonder pony. The idea has been floating out there since early fall however we weren’t very serious about it and I wasn’t actively looking online for anything.

Then his birthday happened. The farrier was going to be at the barn and I had already taken the day off work for him. His party wasn’t until 4 pm, the kiddo loves going to the barn, and we had no other plans. Might as well get the hooves trimmed up and get that stressor off the list of things that needed to get done.

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Love seeing him up on Gem

So there we were getting the horses trimmed. After they were done Wyatt asks me if he could get on Gem. This isn’t unusual. Kiddo adores it, but then he asked if we could go in the woods on trail. Um…yes!!!! So I led him and Dusty walked beside as Gemmie picked her way carefully down the trail. I was thinking he would be done in a few minutes, but nope, he kept asking to go down a new trail and then another and another. Gemmie was really amazing with him and way more careful than she ever is with me. Its proof she can be a good girl and just chooses not to when I’m on board or leading her in the woods. Spiteful little girl.

Anyway…..

Boy needs a pony. I’m convinced he would love to ride around the yard, go over poles and explore the woods on horseback if he had a Wyatt sized four legged creature to do it on. Hubby is happy because we plan on introducing trail riding with Dusty on foot with the lead rope at first, then on foot without the lead rope. Dusty loves running. Anything that gets him more trail time is okay on his end.

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Only blue ribbon Gemmie has ever won

I took to the internet and searched all the local horse sites, horse for sale sites and competition pages. Nothing. I put out ISO ads:

ISO: We are beginning the search for my son’s first pony. Age, breed and gender are not important. A show record is not important. Must be well trained to w/t/c. He will be taking lunge line lessons to start with the pony, so needs to lunge. 13h and under. Must have a good brain and be child safe. $2500. 

We technically will go over $2500 if it is the perfect match, but I figure that’s more than double what I paid for Gem and we aren’t looking for a show pony, just something to teach Wyatt all three gaits and that is safe and sound.

Crickets.

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Can I have his two point form, please?

Maybe I’m looking at the exact wrong time of year, but there is nothing out there. Not even crappy, oddly put together, not trained ponies. Nothing. 

I did get one response, but after talking to the owner I don’t think it is a good fit. The pony is sweet and safe, but has never gone above a walk and I don’t want Wyatt to only learn to walk. I’m sure the pony can trot and canter, I mean a healthy sound horse of any size can go over a walk, but he doesn’t need to learn on something that is also learning.

There is another option that Trainer fell in love with, but it is 3 hours away and my schedule is chock full until right before Christmas. I told the owner that I would be in touch and if she isn’t sold by then we would come up with the intention of trying her and bringing her home for a trial period in which we could ascertain a good match and get a PPE done. We will see.

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Seriously. Too much cute for me to handle.

But…the intention of this post isn’t to whine. Well, the entire intention wasn’t to whine because obviously part of it was.

The real point was to ask you all how to find a pony. I’ve been on dream horse, equine now and one other site plus all the local facebook for sale groups. Anything I am missing? Gem and Pete just landed in our laps, so this whole looking, trying, looming some more, gotta find the perfect pony thing is entirely new to me. With Gem is was basically…oh look a horse! With 4 legs! Lets buy her!

And well…you all know how that turned out for better and for worse.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

 

Farm life

Tire Tracks

About a month ago we had an incident at home.

Dusty always feeds the horses in the morning before work. Since we feed in the pasture and Pete gets only 1 lb versus Gem’s 3 lbs, whoever feeds stands between the two until they are finished. Otherwise Pete would gobble his and half of Gem’s too.

He fed that morning no issue.

I always feed in the evening. I grabbed the grain and headed out to the pasture like every other morning. As I was standing there, after completing the scratching ritual for both spoiled brats, I looked over and saw this:

The reason I so desperately want to move is seen in this photo. Living on the corner of two busy roads is not enjoyable. 

Tire tracks. Leading out past the shelter. Inside my pasture fence. Well, crap.

My gut reaction was “WTH is our landlady doing inside my pasture?! Doesn’t she know the liability if one of them got out? We live on the corner of two busy roads.”

Of course it was 6 pm at this point and the rental office was closed. There wasn’t much we could do as neither of us wanted to call the cops on the landlady.

I sent the Hubby to Tractor Supply to get a heavy duty padlock for the gate. If someone wanted in again, they’d need a bolt cutter.

As soon as the rental company opened the next morning I was on the phone explaining the situation. Landlady is often seen mowing around our fence line and driveway so she was the obvious suspect. They contacted her and she called Hubby.

It wasn’t her.

Double crap.

More random pictures until I get more media. This is downtown. 

Now my mind was wheeling. The only reason some unauthorized person would drive down my private driveway and through my closed gate with a truck would be to steal my horses. I couldn’t think of any other explanation.

Thankfully my horses aren’t friendly to strangers. Pete never did let the BM we boarded at for over a year touch him and barely put up with the last lady. Gem stays clear on the principal that she is better than anyone else and nobody has the right to be near her.

I’m thinking they entered, tried to wrangle up the horses who just ran away from them and gave up.

Scary doesn’t begin to describe it.

The cops were useless. With nothing broken, stolen or harmed all we had was a tire track in the mud and a gate that looked undisturbed. Apparently they only use plaster to make a mold of tire tracks and compare to known makes/models that use that tire on TV. CSI our local police force is not.

Thankfully no new evidence of trespassing has been seen since. Either the padlock is doing its job, beyond making life harder when trying to get in the pasture with grain and/or hay loaded hands, or they gave up since the horses weren’t cooperating. Either way my heart was in my chest for about a month.

On a much happier note, Wyatt asked for a trial ride for his birthday. Yeah, you can imagine how incredibly happy I was. We were at the barn for the farrier and he climbed on gem bareback and I left him through the trails. he kept wanting to go longer and longer. I can’t wait until we find him a pony.