July 30, 2010

Moonlight Ride

A few days ago, we did a moonlight trail ride for a large group of people at Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown. Danny & Dakota were on the wagon. Outriders were all around us. It was a wonderful time!

July 28, 2010

Life in the Back Pasture

That time of year again, when we move the horses to the back pasture. They are being introduced slowly, but are loving it! They run, they leap, they roll, and they grab a mouth full of tall grass as they wade through the back pasture like a swimmer wades through eel grass.

When their time is up, however, and they see us coming down the road to fetch them, the horses move towards the gate and wait. They are happy to see us again. They are content to know that they will be back in the cool shade of the barn, standing at the watering trough, drinking their fill. Work, play and rest. It is a fine balance for a horse!

Photos: Top: Lincoln rolls, and Terry reaches out to pat him as he begins to stand up again.
2: Enjoying the tall grass, Lincoln gallops and leaps past me.
3: Gillette, my sweet Gillette.
4: Taking Danny & Dakota to the pasture on the back of the tractor. We estimate that a round trip from barnyard to pasture is approximately 1/4 mile.
Bottom: Danny & Dakota

July 25, 2010

Leila, Just a Bit Under the Weather

Dolly and Leila spent all day yesterday and the night before in the barn, because the weather was alternately very hot and very stormy. By 11PM last night, we took the two back out to their paddock, only to discover that Leila had a strange bought of scours, and a temp of 102.2. At one month old, we didn't think it was "heat scours", that which is caused by the mare's first heat at around 10 days of age. Being very concerned that it could be heat stress in the foal (for, in spit of the large fan directed at their stall, Dolly was wringing wet when we took her out last night), we called the vet in for an emergency check up this morning. He took blood samples, fecal samples, listened to her vitals - everything. He prescribed antibiotics for whatever is causing the temp to remain a bit high, banamine to bring the temp down, and electrolytes to keep her from being dehydrated. She did not show any signs of dehydration in spite of the diarrhea. After her meds, we cleaned out the paddock and put clean fresh fill down and some straw for her to lay in, and she slept the whole day through! She gave us a bit of a scare - we would not want to see anything happen to her, if we could do anything to prevent it!

A byproduct of having her sick is the quick training to do certain things, like standing tied for a considerable amount of time (we had, up to today, never had her tied to anything - we know that not all youngsters take to it easily!). Standing still for the vet's assistant to try and draw blood from "baby" veins was another skill learned today! What a trooper Leila is! She stood tied to the standing stall next to her mother in the barn isle as if she has always done this. Testimony to this filly's very sensible head, good breeding and, happy to say, her upbringing!

July 23, 2010

Take a Walk on the Wild Side...

Terry's visit to Pennsylvania this week yielded some surprises, including new business relations with this Amish run bison farm. Not without a considerable amount of temptation, Terry's trailer came back totally devoid of any of these beautiful herbivores. Maybe next time...

July 16, 2010

Roosting Hens & Chicks

Our Banty hens have flown the coop and taken their chicks with them. Stray cats and lord knows what else have been doing away with the two dozen chicks we had at one time, taking one here, two there, leaving a wing or sometimes the whole body. Repeat of last year's massacre. Trouble is, the hens don't care to roost in their chicken condo any more, preferring the life of a gypsy to that of a safe haven. We have been most unsuccessful at catching any of them.
Last night, we discovered that our Banties, so skilled in the art of flight, have taken to roosting in the cross beams of our barn! Some 14 feet off the ground, they appear to be safe, with their youngsters (now pullets, I might add), tucked safely beside them. Our egg supply has been next to none as of late, but it is such a joy to watch our chickens scratch at the dirt, scuttle through tall grass, and fly up to the rafters.

Photos: Top: Banty hens and pullets in the rafters of our barn.
Middle: A wayward banty pullet in the wood pile.
Bottom: Raj, always and forever King, grazing on the lawn at dusk.

Hay Diaries - here it is the morning of July 16, and we had to put another round bale in the paddock last night for the six (after feeding them square bales in the morning). That means, the previous bale lasted them a full five days: $65 divided by 5 = $13, divided by 6 = $2.16 per horse per day. Now THAT is a bargain!

July 14, 2010

Leila, aka "Houdini"

Leila is better than three weeks old already, and is growing strong! She still manages, somehow, to sneak under the fence to wind up on the other side. Yesterday morning, I awoke to the baby running about the farmyard again. Dolly was watching her in earnestness, but didn't seem overly concerned.

The back pasture is very, very high now and we will be putting up fencing again, to move the six down below. We have made a few changes here so that we can set up a bar way from the back up towards the barn. I wish I had pictures of this place before we moved in here. What a difference!

Hay Diaries from July 11

Terry took off with the camera Sunday night before I had the chance to upload some pictures, but he is back from PA now. I wanted to share these pictures because we bought a round bale (singular, yes!) that must weigh better than 800 lbs and is bigger by far than any we have ever had here before! You can see by the picture of the the truck, that only one would fit on the bed of it. The first picture shows Terry and the horses at the feeder, with the new round bale just added. It stood nearly 6 feet high, and easily as wide. The six horses have about half of it gone as I write this on Wednesday morning - we estimate that it should last another two or three days! Was a great buy!

July 8, 2010

Leila, the Frisky Filly

Leila is definitely getting her sea legs. She runs and bucks and plays with her mother and us, nibbling our shirts and playing peak-a-boo from beneath her mother's massive neck. She investigates everything we do, and then turns her behind to us for a good scratch on the croup. Occasionally, she escapes her paddock (by way of an open gate) and runs about the barnyard, without accompaniment from mom. If mom is eating, she is too distracted to worry, but sooner or later she begins to knicker, calling Leila back. What a well adjusted filly Leila is!

July 3, 2010

Preparing for the Horse Shows

When we don't have carriage rides booked on the same day as some of the local draft horse shows, we enjoy competing. But, even a seasoned carriage horse (and driver) should practice a few skills to stand out in the ring! Saturday we went to Escoheag to practice in the ring with some fellow ECDHA members. Warm day, but fun drive!

Photos: Top: Three of us lined up in the center of the ring.
Bottom: Danny, whom I will show single this year.