06-02-2013, 02:50 PM
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My husband and I both rode Gen for the first time today!
We took each other for a "pony ride" around the barn.
If it wasn't for the fact that we don't have a girth that fits, we could have done much more, but it's hard to do first rides in a saddle that's falling off :)
Gen was a real sport about it though, especially considering it's been going on a year since he was last ridden by anyone.
Our new mule is temporarily being called Buddy. We tacked him up today too, but he's going to need a pony or cob size bridle (which we don't have) and a different size girth from everything we already have.
Our foster dog is being spayed on Friday and she'll go to her new home about a week later
12-17-2013, 01:05 AM
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Since my last update in June, we sold Charlie and Rory to homes that will give them more attention. They were beautiful pasture ornaments, but they deserve to have their talents put to use.
We also got a mini donkey as a livestock guardian. He needs some training, but just his volume has really cut down on the number of dogs and coyotes coming around the house.
I'm going to try and journal a little more frequently.
Even if no one reads this, I think it will be good for me to work through my thoughts "out loud."
08-07-2014, 08:42 PM
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So much for journaling more frequently.
**** Horse Update ****
After the search for tack that fits, the worst winter ever, and weight loss related to a vitamin deficiency, we're finally to a point where we should be able to get something done. After nearly 2 years, I should say it's about time. Unfortunately, because of the time my husband is away from home for work, I've had basically zero riding time, and Gen has developed a lot of bad habits.
He's nearly impossible to catch, and I haven't even been able to think about tacking him up or riding in months.
More than once I've come close to selling him.
We really don't get along.
We've come to the determination that he was probably a pack mule at some point because he has no steering. We've changed bits, and that helped quite a lot (coupled with some advice on here). He constantly yawns with a bit in his mouth, and he's just been seen by the dentist, so I tried a drop noseband on him and that helped a little. This weekend I plan on trying him in a hackamore. I've never used a hackamore before, so it'll be an experiment for both of us.
Hank is really well behaved now, but is still a little grumpy with having his hind feet picked up. He'll do it. Just not happily. I've been struggling to find a farrier who won't charge me a fortune for the three strikes he has against him - miniature, donkey, stallion.
Thankfully, Hank has been kind enough to let me learn how to trim for myself on his little feet. We're making good progress.
We actually got Persephone on a trade for one of our Pygmy goats. She's 10 and has been a broodmare for the past 4 seasons. Before that, she was in a children's riding program. We were able to get her because, after so long being turned out as a broodmare, she's no longer child-friendly which is a top requirement for a lot of people wanting miniature horses. She was bred when we got her, but since the foal wasn't her first and wouldn't be our first birth on the farm, we felt confident. She foaled without complications or assistance on July 15th. She's a great mother and lets the colt be handled. She's getting increasingly friendly as we work with both her and her colt. We tried not to ask much of her in her last months of pregnancy.
His dam's name is Persephone (formerly called Red) and his sire's name is Jinx. I've been trying to think of a good name for him, but it's just not coming to me. Part of the difficulty may be coming from me not wanting to get too attached if we decide to sell him. That hasn't been decided yet. I've handled him, in small amounts, from day one. First, I wanted to get him used to being touched all over his body, down his legs, in his ears, etc. He's still getting used to his mouth being opened. Next, I started teaching him to pick up his feet, which he does as consistently as the four adults do. I've introduced him to wearing a halter, only for a couple minutes at a time. My goal is to have him halter broke by 1 month old, and leading and standing tied by 2 months. I've had too many horses with bad ground manners, so I have high expectations for this little one since his initial training is in my control.
**** Farm Update ****
Elsewhere on the farm, our goats are gaining in popularity and our bucks are building interest for their studly services.
We're also moving away from Pygmies to larger stock, both meat and dairy types.
We have a rabbitry that's doing quite well, and should pay for itself and start profiting by next spring.
We've added a couple pot belly pigs who are "employed" to seal our koi pond and till up garden beds.
Foster dogs have come and gone, and we do have one living with us right now - a stray that was thrown from a car.
She'll be with us until she gets to be a healthy weight, is spayed, housebroken, etc.
We thought we had an adoptive home lined up, but they decided they didn't have time for a dog (and I agree!), so the search continues.
The chickens have stopped laying, due to the heat, but they have done an amazing job with the ticks!
We haven't pulled a single one off any of the dogs.
We had our front pastures cut for hay for the first time. 150 big square bales came off it, about 75lbs each, and we kept 50 of them. There should be time for a second cutting later in the year. My parents have also agreed to let me arrange hay cutting from their open pasture (3-4 acres), so that will make a massive improvement to our winter hay bill.
Also on the topic of hay, I'm starting to develop plans for some kind of hay shed because we will very quickly run into storage problems when that second cut happens.
Plans are in place for a major barn renovation. Currently, in the main horse pasture, we have a 8ft x 16ft run in shelter that we convert into stall/s as needed. By the winter, we will have built it into a row of (3) 8ft x 8ft mini box stalls with (2) 12ft x 12ft full size box stalls opposite them with a 10ft aisle. This should give our horses a much more comfortable winter. It will have a dry lot off of it for turn-out time so the pasture isn't as torn up over the winter months.
I've still never gotten around to building a round pen. The barn is the much bigger priority. I definitely still want to build one, so we'll reassess in the spring.
Within the next year, we'd like to get this current property ready to sell so we can move to something bigger, both in square footage and in acreage.
08-15-2014, 01:51 AM
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I just did the math, and if I got the trimming certification from the Kentucky Horseshoeing school, given:
- the going rate for trims locally
- the 5 horses I currently have
- an 8 week trimming schedule
The tuition and dorm housing will pay for itself in 4 years, if I only trim my own horses.
If I were to also trim horses for the few people I have been trimming goats for, that would add about 10 horses.
I might actually consider doing this after I graduate.
09-16-2014, 07:21 PM
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Gen has made massive improvements for me, and is currently listed for sale.
He's going to be wonderful for someone.
We just aren't a good fit, and there's no sense continuing to push it.
I plan on getting a new horse for me in the spring, that way I can focus on getting my husband more comfortable on Buddy over the fall/winter.
09-28-2014, 08:49 PM
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We're getting out of pygmy goats which has allowed us to make space for a second mini mare. She's only 3 years old and came from the same person we got Persephone. She came with the name "Lace" which doesn't really suit her, so I'm considering possibilities for a new name. She has a pretty nervous disposition, but she'll come around. As we made introductions to her new pasture mates, she actually hid behind me at one point. I've never seen a horse hide like that before, but she must trust me at least a little or she would have ran instead. She and Percy seemed to remember each other, so I'm sure that was reassuring on her first day in a new place.
Gen sold today (to be a trail horse like he was before) and I went and got a horse I had been eyeing, who actually belonged to someone I've known for a long time - a good horseman, very trustworthy, and a lot of skills.
My new horse is an OTTB with the registered name "Ham I Am" (b. 2008) - looking for a barn name for him too. He raced quite a bit, never came in first but does have some winnings to his name. His last race was December of last year, so he's 9 months retired. He needs some weight put on him and needs some reconditioning, but it's nothing we can't handle. By spring, we'll both be ready to go.
Opposite to the way that Gen and I never got along, the two of us connected instantly. Both my husband and the seller noted how quickly he took to me. It was one of those moments when you can just tell in your gut, "yeah, this is my horse." Not fairy tale, magic, or perfect. Just "right." He's got some work to do to get started in a new career; but, unlike with Gen, we're speaking the same language. I'm used to TBs and Arabs. I guess TWHs just aren't a breed for me.
The worst thing about him (so far) is that his mane is full of burrs :(
Yesterday, 09:54 AM
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The new mini mare is going to be called "Pandora" if we ever show her, and probably just Panda at home.
My big guy still needs a barn name, but it hasn't even been a full day.
I still haven't found the right name for the mini colt, and he's 3 months old!
We got a good laugh yesterday because half of our horses didn't have names, until we decided on Panda.
I weight taped the big guy and have him on an initial feeding plan to build some weight, and we'll see how he responds to that. He looks a little like Gen did when he lost weight around his top line, but a he's definitely more muscular and more ribby. I want to make sure he has a decent layer of fat on him before it gets super cold. We've never done blankets on ours, but I may have to get him something depending on how shaggy his winter coat is. He's probably used to being clippered.
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