Trotters, Arabians, Donkeys and Other People - Page 18 - The Horse Forum
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post #171 of 2224 Old 06-12-2015, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much, Erin, for those delicious-sounding recipes - we will make full use of them! It's always good to have diverse sorts of recipes for something you happen to have a lot of and have to get through, like our pumpkins. An analysis I read said that pumpkins have a better beta-carotene content than even carrots, and contain a lot of Vitamin C as well, plus useful amounts of potassium and fibre. So, worth eating regularly.

The zucchini fritters (first recipe you posted) are very similar to one of our favourite uses of zucchini: We make these fritters with equal amounts of grated potato and zucchini, and a bit of onion or spring onion as well. Traditionally we've used tomato sauce or sweet chilli sauce/sour cream to spice them up a bit. My family has German/Italian roots, and "Kartoffelpuffer" is a traditional German recipe - fritters based on grated potatoes. We used to have these loads for lunch when I was growing up, and when we started growing zucchini, the 50:50 type became a common variation. It's the kind of comfort food that has stuck with us, and now my husband is addicted to these as well!

That's a very uber-Indian curry recipe there: I'll have to go spice shopping, but we look forward to trying it. We have a simple curry based on beef (or kangaroo), potatoes, pumpkin and peas in a tomato/coconut sauce and a bit of Rogan Josh base, served over brown rice, that's become part of the staple recipes around our house.

That risotto recipe is making my mouth water already: The pumpkin and herbs are going to be such a nice twist on the traditional risotto! And the sweet and sour we will also have to try.

Thank you again for posting these! Food and recipe talk is always welcome here.

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post #172 of 2224 Old 06-14-2015, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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A little update on the retired horses (since Sunsmart gets most of the airtime here).

The two chestnut siblings, 21 and 25 respectively, are really enjoying their free range life here with us, and are getting to like wide open spaces...



Indeed, so much so that they are beginning to leave the 4 hectare pasture in which the horses are mostly kept (together with the Murray Grey calves) to take advantage of daytime access to the 8.5 hectare pasture with 50 hectares of bush and tracks behind it.

It often takes time to get horses who grew up entirely in stables and small lots used to the open country. To make it a pleasant transition, we don't just throw them out there - we make a point of rugging them in cold and wet weather. Gradually, as they acclimatise, the level of rugging is pulled back to the more extreme weather (and we certainly get extreme weather here on the South Coast).

At the start, they would nervously follow the other horses and donkeys out into what we call the "Common" and sprint right back to their familiar territory within minutes, especially if the saw the big Friesian steers out there. This would draw some surprised glances from the other equines. However, these days the brother-sister pair are more relaxed, and are spending half-days out before they want to go "home". The other horses, and the donkeys, think of our whole place as "home" and have no such preferences.

I don't have recent photos of the big run, but this was a photo we took from the attic last summer, with Sunsmart and Romeo enjoying a kip in the shade amongst the trees beyond the farm dam:

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post #173 of 2224 Old 06-14-2015, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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Now I will turn my lens on our ancient horse, Romeo, who will be 31 this spring. Here is Romeo breakfasting in the orchard, as seen through the dining room window:



All these photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Romeo is the age record holder of any of the Standardbreds in our family (my parents used to breed them, buried a dozen over the decades, and still have ten). Standardbreds generally make it to 25-30 if disease or accidents don't claim them first (assuming they are allowed a retirement, which all of ours are). Arabians are somewhat longer-lived, more like 30-35, at least the working strains we are familiar with. Donkeys beat that, regularly living past 40 if well managed.

Romeo's full sister, Classic Juliet, died at age 28, after really going downhill fast with worn teeth combined with a glandular problem that turned her from normal into skeletal in weeks. When she colicked on top of this, a decision was made to put her down.

Romeo has the same problem with his teeth, which are falling out at a rapid rate now. (Our other old horses mostly haven't had tooth troubles, and certainly not to the extent of these two.) Last time his teeth were filed, the veterinarian discouraged me from getting his teeth done again - they are so loose and worn down they are likely to fall out from being rasped, and the procedure is no longer comfortable for the horse.

Amazingly, he is still managing to eat enough to keep him happy, and the quality of his life is currently good. If he gets a tooth abscess or anything like that, or becomes in any other way uncomfortable, he will be euthanased.

This is him this morning, gallivanting around our garden, where he is an honorary lawnmower:



The dog is hanging with him in her typical sheepdog style, and Don Quixote is lurking in the driveway. My lavenders are coming along well - I grew them all from cuttings. The horse doesn't interfere with them - but the donkeys would!





In the foreground is Melaleuca diosmifolia, one of Brett's favourite native shrubs, and very bird-attracting! In the background, the three-year-old Tagasaste (tree lucerne, a fodder plant) is starting to flower, which will keep our beehives happy.



Romeo really is looking very old these days, with all his grey hair and loss of muscle mass, but he still puts in a good gallop daily and races the younger horses with aplomb at feed time.

What's in his bucket these days, morning and night, is astronomical:

8-10L fine-cut oaten chaff
2L soaked horse cubes
0.5L pelleted rice bran, soaked
0.5L copra
0.5L canola meal
1-2L unprocessed wheat bran
Alternating ground limestone and vitamin/mineral mix
Magnesium ad lib and not with the other supplements

It's a mix he is doing well on. It's a fine line when you are feeding so many concentrates to a horse that isn't working hard, but in his case, it's necessary to get the calories into him. He can no longer process hay and, apart from what's in his feed bucket, basically subsists on whatever short, tender shoots he can nip off in short lengths with his incisors. Thankfully we have green grass at least 10 months of the year, and the irrigated garden and tree lucerne during drought.

Standardbreds are considered at low risk for things like Cushings and laminitis. However, I am supplementing him with magnesium as a safeguard.



He is so bear-like in his winter fur... in summer he is sleek.

I could keep five horses on what I feed him, but we just like having him around, and he likes being around as well. We've had him in the family 27 years, and I will tell his story here some time soon, when I start a series of case studies in the rehabilitation of "problem" horses, which is how he got to our family in the first place!

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post #174 of 2224 Old 06-14-2015, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Some general photos we took on our farm this week:





We are in a valley with a creek running through the middle, and in the cooler months, mist forms above the creek. This provides wonderful atmospheric vistas in the mornings at at nightfall.


Western Rosellas are starting to come into our garden on a regular basis:



This is on top of many, many small native birds, like Willy Wagtails, Grey Fantails and Honeyeaters, who nest in the Tagasaste hedges and visit the 3000+ native shrubs and trees planted in the garden and in paddock shelter belts in the last five years.

Now we personally don't have Koalas - they are not native to Western Australia - but we went to an animal park a few weekends back and I just had to take photos of these sleeping marsupials:




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post #175 of 2224 Old 06-14-2015, 02:15 AM
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Love the photos Sue! Your place is paradise.
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post #176 of 2224 Old 06-14-2015, 12:17 PM
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Your farm is so beautiful!! ;-; I am jealous... Especially of that little CHICKENTHING!
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post #177 of 2224 Old 06-15-2015, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Erm, what chicken thing, Zexious? The Rosella, or possibly a spooky horse? (The biggest reference to chickens around here is Brett applying this epithet to the chestnuts, so forgive my confusion!)

Don't be jealous, you don't know what life has in store for you. As a young single person I was moving around so much at one point I despaired of ever owning a house. Then I got married, and not until my mid-30s (took that long for Mr Right to show up), and Brett and I pooled our resources, paid off his first mortgage, then we lived in a tiny one-bedroom rental for five years so we could have a chance at buying a substantial amount of land in a genuine rural area, and eventually the right kind of place became available - because a big farmer sold his four titles separately upon retirement, and we got the smallest one, at 62ha (but still our favourite out of the four, as it's 80% well-preserved native vegetation, several hundred species of understorey plants - we're in a biodiversity hotspot here on the South Coast and we're very keen to preserve our bushland in all its glory...).

Then we had to owner-build to get something we actually wanted to live in. We've nearly finished now after more than three years, been living in it for two years, had some time in a caravan at the start, no electricity, no hot water other than what you boiled on the stove! That was fun, hahaha.

We have chronological photos of the house build here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/redmoo...57628414190373

Anyway, you never know what might happen!

And we also have a guest room here (just finished) and are sociable beings!



Renee, nice to see you here! Can I tempt you to do a journal telling the story of your Arabians, illustrated with photographs? Guarantee you I'll be glued to it if you do!
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post #178 of 2224 Old 06-16-2015, 04:51 AM Thread Starter
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So my darling, long-suffering husband says to me, "Oh, you have no current photos of those chestnuts in the big pasture? Let me fix that!" - and takes the camera out at the next opportunity. He got these photos of the two French Trotter crosses in lovely light:



Le Chasseur on the left, French Revolution on the right. The gelding keeps a short glossy coat all winter no matter what you do, so rugging in wet, windy or freezing conditions is extra important for him - his sister becomes like a bear, as does her son Sunsmart... The fine coat genes apparently descend from Arabian horses, but my Arabian mare also got shaggy during winter!



The gelding has always has a slightly convex profile, the mare a very slightly dished one. Le Chasseur actually, of all the horses we bred from our foundation mare, although a grandson not a son, looked the most like Dame du Buisson, particularly about the face - but didn't have her calibre, he was light instead like his grandsire Maple Lanes Strike. No matter though, he ran very well in his harness career. But Sunsmart, the great-grandson, inherited both her calibre and her astounding athleticism and endurance. It really is interesting how far down the line a horse's influence can go.



The light really does make them glow here!



It's because of this photo that I dug up some foal photos of this horse for the next post - his head was already like that when he was tiny! I think convex profiles can be handsome as well. For example, I just love Lusitanos!







And here, Brett just outdid himself!
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post #179 of 2224 Old 06-16-2015, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Three photos of Le Chasseur as a newborn foal, his first day in the world, with his Standardbred dam Colirini (Jun Jun Ni - Coliris).



This colt was the mare's second foal. I vividly remember that she was out in the sand paddock the afternoon she unexpectedly foaled with no warning at all! The foal was on the ground just like that. My father saw the mare lying down when he looked out of the window and raced out - his mares usually foaled in the grass paddocks if we could arrange it, and she wasn't quite due yet! By the time he got there, the foal was out, and the mare getting to her feet. He freed the colt from the surrounding membranes, opened the gate, picked him up in his arms, and carried him to the grass paddock, his mother in tow. By the time he took the photo, the foal had ironically found himself a sand hole to lie in, but at least he was dry at this point!



Colirini actually had an awkward conformation, like her sire Jun Jun Ni, and had ligament problems, which is why a friend of my father's gave her to the family. Since all the other harness mares we had were racing at the time, my father took this mare essentially as insurance for the French genes in case French Legacy died. Dame du Buisson had unfortunately died shortly after producing French Legacy, her only Australian foal. (Five more in Europe carried on her lines there.)

So, French Revolution was the first foal by French Legacy, and Colirini also had Le Chasseur. I personally wouldn't have bred from this mare - yes, working this mare too hard too young was a contributor to her ligament issues - she had shown promise and was a tall filly and doing fast times as a youngster - but she wasn't my idea of an ideal broodmare, and indeed Le Chasseur himself, who was started carefully and not raced young, started developing identical problems after two successful racing seasons.

Still, Colirini had a wonderful temperament, which she passed on to both these offspring, and which make them an absolute delight to have here during their retirement. You couldn't possibly find two friendlier, gentler horses.

And if Colirini hadn't been bred, I wouldn't have Sunsmart, and I'm very happy with him, he's just fabulous to work with and to ride.



Just look at that endearing little banana face!

Interestingly, Colirini had a short forelock, and all of the descendants we have from her have short forelocks.

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post #180 of 2224 Old 06-17-2015, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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A little reflection on free-range herd living for horses: All the horses I have here used to be on daytime turnout to dry lots with hand feeding, with one buddy if they were a mare or gelding, or alone if a stallion (which two of them were). Romeo and Sunsmart had already been living free range for four years when the chestnuts arrived. At first the "new" horses didn't know what hit them when they saw all the space and weren't put into buildings for the majority of a 24-hour period, but now they are really taking to the whole thing with aplomb.

This morning, the whole lot of them stormed out together from their 4ha fenced area into the unfenced "Common" that makes up the other 58ha of our farm. They were kicking up their heels and wearing "isn't this great" expressions, and ran to and fro for a while for sheer fun, before settling down to grazing the lush ryegrass that is coming in on that part of our land. It was a pleasure just watching them.

This evening, after feeding, I was letting Romeo back in with the others as usual (he eats in the orchard as he has way more in his bucket), the others looked at him, looked at each other, and kind of went, "Well, we're all here, let's go!" - and moved up into the hill paddock as a group. They reminded me of this chamber orchestra I went to see, the way they all communicate with glances and act in unison as a result. It's really special to see these animals do this.

In traditional stable/turnout situations, the horses spend large proportions of their day basically waiting for some human to come and do things for them - what they eat, where they go, who they socialise with is determined so closely by the humans. Free-ranging over a large area they can actually explore, our horses can make so many decisions about their daily lives independently, more like wild horses. Other than getting a bucket feed from us, they totally fend for themselves with foraging and can choose what, where and when to eat, and they decide who they hang out with (including other herbivores like donkeys and cattle), where they go on that range, and what they might like to see. They are so comparatively independent of humans this way, and have a far richer life for it. I see them look at each other sometimes in one of those "orchestra moments" and then all of them suddenly canter off onto the lead-out track behind the house to run down the forest track to the western boundary, from which they slowly make their way back along the pasture fence, grazing as they go. The house is central to all these goings on and has windows facing in all directions, so I see lots even from inside the house... and I just find it thrilling that these animals have so much liberty.



Also, as I was coming home from a ride around our tracks this evening, I passed the donkeys. Don Quixote started running along with us in his comedic rocking-horse canter, kicking up his heels, then doubling back to his girls and running loops around them, making little braying noises (I stopped my horse to watch). Next, they all started running and circling and kicking up their heels. It was so funny... they do this every now and then. We call it going "cracker-donkey".
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