June 28, 2010

Halter Breaking the Filly

Leila is seven days old today, and yesterday she was fitted for a halter for the first time. It is a halter for a mini at this point, but she will outgrow it quickly. At the end of the lead rope, she balks and tugs and gets wild eyed at being asked to move forward, but, following mamma, she is starting to get the hang of it. Now, she will be handled every day like this, and will quickly be acustomed to having the halter put on and taken off, and led around the barnyard.

Saturday, friend Patty Naegeli came for her new mini, "Sadie". She is a lovely mare, and Patty has al
ready shared pictures of her being ground driven. Sadie came from an Amish breeder. They use their minis for everything, including mowing the lawn! Patty is considering a mini donkey as well, and Terry has found a breeder for them, as well - a cousin to the mini horse breeder.

Photos: Top: Leila gets a halter for the first time.
Second: Learning to lead with a halter on your head and a rope under your chin is hard work: Leila lays down in Dolly's hay pile to go to sleep.
Third: A baby mini donkey, of the colorful variety.
Fourth: Mowing with minis
Last: Sadie, with Raj.

June 22, 2010

Dolly & Leila

Eleven months ago to the day, Dolly came home from New Hampshire where she had been field bred by Charmingfare Farm's Hobbs, a direct son of Windermere's King Kong. In spite of predictions from the vet that Dolly was to foal nearly three weeks ago, she held out to the final hour, and had her baby last night, just before midnight.

The filly, named "Leila" by Maegan in honor of a very beautiful friend, is black with a large white star. She is barely 10 hours old as I write this, but she is walking about, suckling, and trying to scratch her chin by standing on three legs. Dolly, as would be expected, is very respectful of us while handling her filly, but isattentive and protective as well. Dolly's work partner, Lincoln, has been standing at the gate looking over and hollering to Dolly and her foal since last night. He, especially, seems to know that there has been a drastic change here at Cedar Knoll Farm!

Photos: Top: Lincoln stands attentively at the gate, hollering to Dolly and her new foal.
2. Dolly, the morning of June 21, just 12 hours before giving birth.
3, 4, and 5: Dolly and her baby, Leila.


At approximately 11PM on June 21st, 2010, Dolly had her baby! A filly, aptly named by Maegan "Leila", for "beautiful dark one". Welcome to the world, Cedar Knoll's Leila!

June 21, 2010

Hay Diaries

This blog has been a fantastic way for me to chronicle farm life at work and at play, but as with so many other things, I have let things slip as of late. Case in point: Hay Diaries. Believe it or not, this blog has been a good way for us to look back and see what load lasted how long, etc. But, I have been too busy to keep track this way.

Tuesday, June 15, we got four good sized round bales, two of which went out into the paddocks that evening. Last night (Sunday, June 20), we replaced them with the other two. That is five full days to four horses, each bale. Meanwhile, we put up 160 square bales this weekend at $5/bale. Expensive, but good quality, large bales. Not sure on the price of the round bales - still waiting on the bill to come. Even if they are as much as $60/bale, it averages out to about $3/horse per day.

June 15, 2010

Six Lovely Ponies

We took six lovely Welsh Cob ponies to the Pony Farm in New Hampshire today. They will spend the summer at their camp, teaching youngsters to ride and drive. What a beautiful bunch! We hear some may be for sale, too! From what we saw of their personalities and good looks, I would say that of you are in the market for a well trained pony, give one some consideration!

June 14, 2010

Rain Doesn't Dampen the Day

The carriage industry is often thought of as a fair weather kind of business. In fact, it would be hard to make a living at it if we only went out when the sun was shining. Saturday, June 12, was no exception to the rule, "When it rains, put the top up and carry an umbrella."

We participated in the state wide "CT Open House Day" with an open house of our own, welcoming visitors with carriage rides in the surrey-top wagonette and with many animal displays, including mini donkeys, twin baby donkeys, and a Mammoth Jack from the Lavoie's of Franklin. John & Melissa Lavoie, who we bought our rare-breed peacocks from, were kind enough to set up a wonderful display for our visitors, allowing them to interact with their animals. John & Margaret Digi of Paradise Stables on the Cape helped out by driving all day, and the Naegeli family (Patty, Dale & Whitney) volunteered their time, too. Although the rain came down heavy at times, we did manage to pull in a number of visitors, who enjoyed carriage rides and good food.

Two weddings were also accomplished by us on June 12, one in Noank by the water, the other at Gillette's Castle. Incidentally, our beloved Gillette was named after this castle, but because he is now in retirement, Lincoln did the honors at both locations.

Photos: Top: John Digi helped out by driving Duke & Diesel all day at our Open House.
Center: John Lavoie and friend Kit show off one of their donkeys at our farm.
Bottom: Lincoln at Gillette's Castle.

June 13, 2010

Prom Night

Friday night was prom night for Norwich Free Academy. Although my daughter hasn't shown a whole lot of interest in the horses for years now (hey, typical teenager), she floored us when she asked to have a carriage for her and her friends at their senior prom. She sat down with a bunch of girls at the computer to pick the right combination of carriage and team from our website, and the surrey top wagonette and Duke & Diesel won hands down. How excited we were to be able to bring Maegan and her friends to their prom with such style! What a grand entrance for these beautiful young people on such a special occasion!

Photos: Top: At the Mystic Marriott
Second: Maegan and her friend Marquis
Third: The whole group on the wagonette
Bottom: Before the prom - Maegan and a few of her friends

June 11, 2010

Moving Carriages Around

Naturally, when switching carriages from the farm to the storage garage down the street and vice-versa, the best plan of action is to hook up a horse. The Cinderella Carriage was exchanged for the surrey-top wagonette, one of our prettiest carriages, for Maegan's prom.

June 7, 2010

Cinderella Carriage in Hartford

The early morning hours of Saturday, June 5, brought us areas of flash flooding, and friends and neighbors complained of lightening strikes that knocked out water pumps and electronics. Weather reports for the afternoon, with heavy rain, severe thunder and even tornado watches predicted, were making us nervous, too. With not one but two Quinceanneras scheduled in Hartford for the afternoon/evening hours, we were on edge.

It should come as no surprise, however, that the sun came out by mid-morning, laughing heartily and endlessly at the weathermen. Our Quinceanneras each went well - the Cinderella Carriage and Lincoln at one, Duke & Diesel on the white vis-a-vis at another. All's well that ends well!

June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Thankfully, no parades on Memorial Day Weekend, just a Hartford wedding on Saturday and a ride through the lovely town of Granville, MA on Sunday. Unlike years past, Monday was spent with family relaxing, enjoying good food, and beautiful weather. Our long-time contract for a Memorial Day parade did not pan out this year, due to budgetary cuts. Quite honestly, I was more than happy to spend it with family instead. And Dolly, in spite of predictions, continues to stoically hold on and has not had her foal, yet.