Monday, December 28, 2009

Let's take the cow for a car ride....

In case you're worried that your cow is getting bored just sitting around in a field all day....

New Year's Resolutions - Horses

What are your new years resolutions?  Or does anyone even bother to make them anymore, since it seems that most are forgotten about come Groundhog's Day!  I challenge everyone to make a list of things they'd like to accomplish in the coming year involving horses. (I figure narrowing down the category will make it a little easier!)  Here are some things I'd like to do:

1. Go camping again at Assateague in the fall.
(For those who aren't familiar, Assateague Island in Maryland allows camping with your horse on the ocean side of the beach from around September to April every year.  It's great fun to gallop on the beach!)

2. Compete in at least one Horse Trial this year.

3. Do a hunter pace with friends.  I'll throw in here - go foxhunting at least once this year.

4. Get Teddy (my young Tennessee Walker) started under saddle this summer.

For other ideas of horsey / riding New Year's Resolutions, check out "A Rider's Bucket List".

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Life on a Southern Farm: Cold Baby Goat Video

Life on a Southern Farm: Cold Baby Goat Video

Awww, this is just the cutest thing ever! As annoying as they can be when adults, I must admit that there is still nothing cuter than a newborn baby goat!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Plant a Memory: Five Steps to Create Time Capsule for Your Farm - Hobby Farms

Plant a Memory: Five Steps to Create Time Capsule for Your Farm - Hobby Farms

Chicken Coops: Choose the Right One - Hobby Farms

Chicken Coops: Choose the Right One - Hobby Farms

Horses in the snow

  "So are you going to feed us, or what?"

Snow, snow, and more snow!

Zoey just loves the snow!

I must say, fresh snow is charming and fun for the first day or so, but when you have a farm, it gets old quickly. I again thank my lucky stars for my 4 wheel drive tractor, and the bucket that works quite nicely as a snow plow when needed.

Saturday was mostly fun, plowing the driveway and the neighbor's drive before the snow got very deep, admiring the clean blanket of white over everything. Before bed Saturday night, I noticed with a bit of surprise that it was still snowing, but not until Sunday did I realize how much! It took me quite a while to get hay to the horses, as the snow was deep enough that the tractor frequently got stuck and the wheels would just spin. So I'd have to get down and dig out by hand for a bit, before traveling another 5 feet or so.... it took me much more time and muscle power than I had anticipated! Perhaps I should have kept ahead of the snow more on Saturday....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Riding in the Rain

Yeah, this weather is really crummy!  I must say, I was very proud of myself for venturing out riding yesterday. 
The vet came out and looked at Magnum... she did flexion tests, felt his legs, watched him on the lunge, etc. and said she doesn't think it's arthritis.  He trotted out sound after the flexions, and she said that should have shown something if it was.  After watching him a bit, she did notice how he at times seemed stiff behind and took short steps, but she thinks it's more muscle development, and he's being protective of himself because he's worried about slipping.  She had him stand square and looked at him behind, and then showed me, and it's clear that aside from lacking muscle along the top of his hindquarters, his right hind is much more underdeveloped in a couple places.  She agreed it was probably from the EPM, that he permanently lost some muscle and it will just take more work to get it back.  I asked about the possibility of steroids to help with the development, and she said we could try it down the road if a conditioning program isn't sufficient, but it can make a horse really aggressive.
I had Magnum and Teddy in the front field while waiting for the vet, and Teddy was clearly wanting to play, running around and bucking, and then closely examining each part of Magnum that the vet had just checked. (She'd feel his stifle, Teddy would look at her then closely sniff Magnum's stifle, she'd poke around his pasterns, Teddy would sniff his pasterns, etc.  I had to keep shooing him away).  So I decided I'd bring Teddy along when I took Magnum for a ride up and down the power lines. Since it was a rainy Friday, I didn't think we'd come across too many other people.
I ponied Teddy until we were across the stream (he likes to walk with his head glued to Magnum's butt, so it wasn't difficult).  Then I took off the lead rope and let him run along.  Occasionally he'd take a parallel trail, but then he'd always cut across to come back behind us.  It was really funny when we got to the open field.  Teddy first trotted over to examine the orange traffic cone in the field, then turned and galloped all around, bucking and kicking.  Zoey would chase him for a bit, then he'd chase her.  It was like having 2 dogs out.  If he started to run too far off, I'd call him and he'd come right back.
I think he got a lot more exercise than Magnum, because he chose to run and buck so much.  I thought it would also be a good way for him to learn to navigate different terrain without a rider.  The only problem was when we turned to come back.  Teddy decided to take the lead, and thought he knew the way home, so went galloping full speed up over the hill toward the traffic circle, whinnying the whole time.  Magnum got VERY upset at that... he bucked a few times because he wanted to go with Teddy, then pranced the rest of the way with his head straight up.  He called to Teddy a few times, but no response. 
Turns out, Teddy thought he knew the way back but got lost... he was over by the pavilion, galloping back and forth along the wood line, trying to find the trail.  So when we came up over the hill, he saw Magnum and came straight back to us, with his head at Magnum's butt as usual.  I thought he might have learned his lesson about running off, but once we got down to the main open field, he figured NOW he knew the way back and took off again.  Unfortunately, this time he followed the road up to the playground area.  (So much for horses having great sense of direction).  So we walked up there, and he was again galloping along the wood line, whinnying and trying to find the trail.  Magnum and I just stood there until Teddy saw we weren't going to follow him and came dejectedly back to us.  Then he obediently followed the rest of the way home.  I think he was quite tired by then... he hasn't had that kind of a workout before.  It was a fun experiment.  I'd like to do it again, but a weekend probably isn't the best time.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another one of Greg and the kids....

Wow, it's been quite a while since I've posted. Things have been going well on the farm, and I am most grateful to have Greg to keep up with the mowing... when it was strictly up to me, things quickly got out of control. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Amy's sister and her kids came to visit... Greg rode them around on Magnum a bit, and they loved it!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Quite the scare!

I was just at the kitchen sink and glanced out the window to see my horse, Shiloh, laid out completely prone in the front field. Now, normally I might just think that he was taking a nap and recharging his solar batteries (judging by how often all animals do this, I'm convinced they have better solar technology than us humans). But we had a snowstorm yesterday, which meant he was lying in about 9 inches of snow, which doesn't seem very comfortable in which to have one's face flat.

So I was concerned, briefly thinking "what if he dropped dead?!". (That's a frequent worry with my elderly animals). I opened the front door and called "Shiloh?". No response. So I quickly put on my clogs and shuffled through the snow towards him. As I got to the fence, I noticed a little bird perched on his neck. That did it - I thought "Oh no, he's dead and frozen solid and the wild critters are already treating him like part of the landscape!". I climbed through the fence and again said, "Shiloh!". This time his head came up quickly (startling the bird off) as he turned to me with his ears perked forward, and he looked for all the world like he was saying "What?". I asked "What are you doing, you silly horse?!"

At that, he put his head back down, scrubbed it vigorously back and forth in the deep snow until it looked like he was a powdered doughnut, then rolled over and wiggled in the snow with his legs in the air, doing a pretty good impression of making a horse snow angel. Then he stood up, shook, and wandered over to his hay trough. I was very relieved to see he was fine, but wished I'd had my camera to take a picture of him laid out with a bird preening itself on his neck. I just shook my head and went back in the house to warm my frozen feet...

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Lower Right: Zoey's mom, Sabina,correcting her bouncy daughter, and letting her know she'd better BACK OFF!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Maybe I need some good Goat recipes....

I got another call from my neighbor today to report that my goats had eaten all the evergreens she planted along her driveway as well as the bulbs under her window. After her last call, I had fixed the goat pen fencing and had them penned up, but I let them out to forage since everything is snow-covered. I'm probably just going to have to get rid of them all until I can put up my perimeter fencing, which would keep them out of the neighbor's.

The pen they are currently in is pretty small, so it will quickly get pricey to feed them hay throughout the winter. As it is, I think I'm going to have to reimburse the neighbor for all her plants... after her first phone call, I glanced at her evergreens, and they looked a little nibbled, but like they would certainly make it, so I don't know how dire of a state they are in now. Hopefully they won't be too expensive... maybe selling the goats will pay for them!