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.