Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This is our overgrazed, compacted field, thus the small windrows. The neighbor baling it sure liked the small windrows, and here I was trying to make them bigger because he said the windrows last year were too small... This picture is me getting the hang of the rake, or hay turner, or fluffer, depending on who you're talking to. We had to borrow it, and it's not the ideal tool for the job, but it got the job done.

I spent 7 or so hours on the tractor today. I think I have the hang of it now. :D It isn't hard work, but it makes your neck stiff and your tailbone sore. I thought I'd be exhausted tonight, but even after taking Benadryl I have an abnormal amount of energy.

Our neighbor started baling on our place tonight. He got somewhere around 160 bales done. That's maybe a third of what we'll get, total. He won't bale the stuff on the other side of the creek because he's not familiar with the ground there. He suggested we load it up loose in the truck and feed it out that way. That would be a heck of a lot of work and not too good for my allergies. We're going to ask our other neighbor. He does round bales so we'd probably give it away, but at least it would be of use to someone.

We' should have enough hay to get us through the winter, all off our own place, depending on how much my neighbor wants for baling it. I might even have the hay tested since all of our hay is from the same source this year. Last year we supplemented with alfalfa, and we may again this year, but only because I have some left over. We also bought a few tons this spring to finish out the winter. Not this year!

This evening we cleaned out the stall we store hay in, and tomorrow I'm going to have my 12 year old drive the truck while I load hay into it. It's a pain with nobody up in the truck to stack, having to climb in and out, but John has his day job to do. :)

I went ahead and bought some of those goofy white 3M face masks to wear while I'm haying, and let me tell you they were absolutely worth the price and the bad fashion statement. I was dying after one pass with the rake when I forgot my mask in the house, but I wore it the rest of the time and was fine, and even did okay cleaning moldy hay out from the floor of the hay stall. If you have allergies, or even if you don't, these things are good to have around when doing work in such nasty air.

Scout didn't have any more quills in his nose. Either he got them out on his own or the camera was catching several white hairs bunched together to look like little quills. His nose looks good today, although he really didn't want me looking at it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Contest alert! Keep on reading...

"There's something big up there," said John as he was about to start the tractor, getting ready to unload the hay rake.

"Where? Is it maybe a horse?" I asked.

Sure enough, it was Scout, up on the hill. It took me a moment to figure out that he was not inside the fence.

I called to him as I nonchalantly headed for the shed to grab a halter, but he kept moving, kind of agitated. That wasn't like him. As I walked up the hill he kept quickly walking, not coming to me but not running away. Strange, but hey, maybe he was feeling adventurous.

Then I made a discovery and took him to the front porch to request a camera and a couple tools.

The poor little guy.

Look at that sad face! I don't think he was very happy about his predicament, but I'm not sure how much it really hurt, since he was still grazing even with all those quills in his nose. Maybe it was comfort food.

He must have thought he could move the strange, poky stranger just like he does the cat. Didn't work out so well though.

We did get all the quills out. One looked like it probably left the tiniest piece of a tip in there. I hope it doesn't get infected. I don't know what to do now other than keep an eye on it. It looked good this evening.

Uh-oh. Wait a minute. Look here. I think I missed some.
Darn it all. I'll have to get a better look in the morning.

So, on to that contest. I have a couple horse related items here, and if you can guess the exact number of quills I pulled out (not counting the little ones I may have missed), I'll send you a prize! Deadline is Wednesday at 5PM Pacific. But only the first two correct guessers get a prize.

I'll leave you with some happier pictures.
Mustang Days - Show Day

This beautiful Warm Springs mustang is Katya. I never caught her owner's name but she was a really nice person. Katya was very well behaved and had the most beautiful dapples but they don't show up in this picture.
Trotting in Shomanship.
Standing, watching people get their ribbons.
I left John with my horse for a minute and this is what they did.

This belgian mare was beautiful, and check out the neat tail braid.

This little girl was turning heads everywhere she went. I think they said she was a Sicillian miniature donkey. She had the cutest little trot!

Again, standing and waiting at the end of the class.
Tracey told me afterward that we would have placed better if I held my hands in the proper way for Showmanship. Silly rules, but if I play the game I have to follow the rules.

Backing around a cone

I like this next picture, other than that I'm having to pull on my horse. He wasn't paying attention well all day. He loves to look at other equines, especially the long-ears. And you should have seen all the ear pinning he was doing. Of course I'm not going to share pictures of that. :) Behind us is the photographer's table. Check out LorySue Enterprises for professional photos from this year and last year. We really appreciate her being there.
The open halter class. There were even more horses lined up on the other side of us. It was a big class. I think this is the only one we did that we didn't place in. Tonka isn't built for Halter.

Visiting in the arena during a break:

In-hand trail. He looks like a mule!

Love that horsey butt.

Pepper & Katie, after the Ride-a-Buck class.

Soxy's leg was doing so well I hopped on (with much difficulty) for the Ride-a-Buck. She was antsy as all getout, herdbound and wanting Tonka, but we did alright until they called for a lope. She doesn't lope well on her gimp leg anyway, and that's the leg that was kicked, so I didn't lope and I handed over my dollar. It was fun though, and the guy who won was definitely a better rider than me anyway.

See, there's our buck:
So, in the end, we won three 2nd place ribbons in mustang classes, a 4th place in an open class, and a first place in the in-hand trail. I'm not sure on that one whether it was open or mustang. They were supposed to have both classes but we only did the class once so I don't know if they decided to drop one or what. We didn't get to do either of our ridden trail classes so I don't know how we would have done there. We couldn't have loped, but the rest of it was really easy, so I like to think we would have done somewhat well. There was so much confusion and I didn't even watch the other horses do it so I don't know what the competition was like.

When it was time to load up I was a little worried about how willing Soxy would be to get in after her experience on the way here. She just walked right in. No problem. The trip home was blissfully uneventful. I let Soxy unload herself and graze while I went in to unload Tonka. All the sudden there was this deafening whinny - Soxy had stuck her head back in the trailer and was hollering at us to come with her. She's so cute.

In conclusion on my experience with Zaz, he did not find a new home, so he went back with his owner. I hope the trailer trip home was better than the trip there. She has enough room in her trailer to leave a space between him and the next horse, so I think it probably went okay. It's weird not to have him here in his pen. Weird to only have 5 horses on the place. But good.

This morning I went out and "grazed" with Tonka. It took a minute to convince him to follow me, but then we went for a wander in the pasture and I picked grass while he grazed, then I'd give him my grass and pick more while he grazed, and we just wandered around like that. I sat for a while and he ate grass out of my lap. It was very nice to have some good bonding time, and I think he was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't asking for anything more. I really needed that quiet time to get some perspective on how the weekend went. I feel a lot better about it now, and I've remembered it's not about classes and buckles, it's about friends and relationships.

Today I'm going to try to take it easy, since I can't get a hay rake until this afternoon. John wants to try to be home in time to do the raking so I may not even have to do that. Although I do need to learn how to do it so I can pick up where he leaves off when he goes to his real job in the morning.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My family is awesome. A huge thanks to them all for helping me out during Mustang Days, especially since we're in the middle of haying and my mom isn't feeling very well.

I'm still really upset about missing out on my favorite classes (and maybe even the high point buckle??? Probably not, but still I wonder...) because of a last minute reversal in the order of classes. I'll leave that subject though, and start with telling you about Friday.

Friday, I loaded all the horses in the trailer.
We headed out, destined for a nightmare journey with a banging and swaying trailer. By the time I knew blood was shed it was too late to turn back. Soxy's leg was cut up thanks to Zaz kicking the crap out of her. Her nose was skinned and it was obvious from her head-shaking that she'd hit her head pretty hard at least once. She also had dirty hoof prints on top of her rump, so he must have been rearing over the divider.

We got to the arena and nobody else was there, plus the stalls were all locked with a cable. I took it apart and broke in so I could put Zaz up while I treated Soxy. She got a dose of bute and a long hosing on her swollen, bloody leg. It didn't appear to need stitches. All the horses went for a nice long walk, and Zaz was a total angel. That horse. He's got a split personality or something.

I sat and drank my coffee the next morning while the three of them ate their breakfast.
Later, after people started showing up, I was busy doing something, maybe hosing Soxy's leg, when I noticed a couple strangers had untied Tonka from his spot at the rail and were leading him around. I wondered if he'd done something bad an needed to be moved. But no, I recognised them! It was Tracey and her Darling daughter, come to kidnap "their" horse, More Better. See, they had been bidding against me when I adopted Tonka, and that was their name for him. I'm glad I went over my spending limit and beat them on the bidding. He is More Better, but he's my boy.

I don't know if they still love him as much now that they've met him while he was at his most rude. He's been in a mood lately. He's normally mouthy, but he was rudely mouthy and even ear-pinny this weekend.

I love this picture of Tracey's Darling and Bob and Lea's burro, Yuma. She got on and rode him around the little 12X12 pen. He did really well, and it's easy to see that Darling is already a horseman. Burro-man? Burro-woman? Ass-whisperer? Whatever the term, she's good with equines.
I want to go to bed and I have a billion more pictures to share, so I'll save them for another post tomorrow. Before I go though, I'll set your worries to rest about Soxy. Her leg looks much, much better today. The swelling is almost gone and she really doesn't seem very uncomfortable at all.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My men folk. They love their tractor.

Lubing the machinery. Now that's sexy.

My guy cutting hay.
Me cutting hay.

I LOVE THIS TRACTOR! It's so easy, a 7 year old could do it (and does).
Great day. Very busy day. Going to be a busy one tomorrow too. Leaving for Mustang Days in the afternoon. I can't wait!

Started haying today, with our own equipment! Bought a sickle bar mower from the neighbor, and he'll let us borrow a rake. Now we just have to hope one of the neighbors will be able to bale it. Should work out. We're farmin'!

Also trying to do last minute stuff for Mustang Days. Tip: don't buy markers to make posters. Even if they say they're for posters. They run out of ink. I'm going to town now to look for poster paint or bigger and even more heavy-duty markers. And a grease gun and diesel for the haying. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Done! Took a while to get the right adjustments for the knots, then I wished I'd added another knot, but I'm not going back to change it right now! It still needed the excess trimmed off in the above picture. And I still need to borrow reins...

I don't know how long we'll use the bosal. I was thinking it might be nice for him since for some reason he just can't stop chewing on the bit. I also noticed that he's teething again. He has that telltale tooth bump on his jaw. I don't know if molar eruption would cause him to be unsettled with the bit, but maybe... We'll see how this goes, and if it communicates as well as I need it to and is less distracting to him, we might just stay with the bosal indefinitely, with some work with the bit every now and then.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tying a fiador: not the easiest thing in the world.
(Tonka: not the happiest model in the world)

I know I posted about this before, but now I'm at it again, and it's as if I've never done it. I finally got the knots worked out, doubled jug knot, or hackamore knot, at the heel of the bosal, and fiador knot above that. Actually, they're made in reverse order and I just have to guess how much rope to leave in my big loop that will make the jug knot, then try to adjust everything. I have no idea how big to leave the loop that will end up where you tie the fiador on the horse. I'll have to try it on him in the morning. I also need to figure out exactly how the bosal is supposed to sit on him. And borrow some reins...

Can you tell I'm off on a different tangent on "bridlewear?" The curb bit wasn't a good idea. But at least now I know he'll do just fine in one. As well as he does in any other bit, anyway... So now I'm trying bitless. I got lucky and found a good deal on a halfway decent bosal that looked like it might fit. Then I got to the checkout and realized it was hanging on the wrong hook, was a bit more expensive than I bargained for. But I bit the bullet and bought it anyway.

Now I have some things for sale: mullen mouth Myler comfort dee, Weaver roller curb, and Thinline western half pad. All very, very lightly used. Tried them out and they weren't exactly what I was hoping for.

(In these pics I hadn't gotten the knots figured out yet, just had the jug knot and a sloppy knot at the throatlatch, and everything is adjusted funny.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Poor little Zaz, he got pretty scared today. I saddled him up and he didn't like it and he got to bucking, almost flipped over, then fell down, got up, and bucked some more. Seemed like he was at it for a while, but it was probably only a minute or less. Took me a while to get my heart rate down though. He almost crashed into the fence. Luckily I was able to keep a hold of his lead the whole time and keep him close enough not to hurt himself, but far enough away not to hurt me.
John watched the whole thing, and his take on it totally cracked me up. "You handled it well. I would have dropped the rope and been halfway to the gun." He wouldn't really do that. It scared him though. I wish he'd have had the camera at that point. That would sure be something to watch!
After that I had no choice but to get the poor pony moving again with the saddle on. He walked and trotted both directions. The worst he did after that was kick out. But he was not a happy boy. Once he was a little more comfortable I flapped the stirrups a whole bunch, and when he relaxed I took it off and called it a day.
Next time I think I'll do more prep work with things flapping, flinging, and banging around him before I cinch on the saddle. We hadn't done that for a while and obviously he needed that.
He got his hooves trimmed before our saddling session. Now he's all spiffed up and ready to go to a new home. Or just go home. This kid needs a lot more work, but he's got a bit of a foundation now.
When Scout sees me

It isn't long before he comes running!
I hope it stays that way.

He's not quite big enough for Tonka's britches yet.

Look at that adorable butt!

He definitely got his mama's long hair.
He's decided to try out people training as a hobby.

Isn't this the sweetest, most innocent face you ever saw?
Those eyes, they turn me to mush.

Tonka is still suspicious of dogs.
The weather this morning was dull but not bad. I was looking forward to an afternoon of horseplay so I didn't really do anything with the horses other than visit. Now it's pouring rain. I guess I could go trim Zaz's back feet, since we can do that inside...

Had a great lunch with 3 of the fathers in the family. Now the "boys" are off buying fireworks. They sure do love to blow things up.