Sunday, April 28, 2019

Big Turnout

I turned everyone out together on the big hill yesterday.  There was a lot of running and chasing.  See the deep divots in the ground?

Juniper says those horses are crazy!

After it was over Sawyer stood guard on the hill, keeping his mare away from Scout.

Poor Sawyer, he got a big bite on his back. I think I'm going to have to keep Scout separate.

They've got each other's backs.

Juniper just did her own thing.  She's a strong, independent young woman.

Bella is doing what she does best.  Getting fat.

I picked up two new ducks yesterday - the fawn and the black and white one here.  They appear to be part runner duck.  I hope they fit in well.  They seem skittish but the ducks accepted them right away.  Betty didn't like them, but she's a little cranky sometimes.

I've decided I don't want to raise meat ducks.  It turns out muscovy duck tastes like beef, which is great, but it was way too much work for a little bit of "beef." 
I still need to find a beef to raise (I've decided against yak for now) but we have some fencing work to do first.  Might need to just buy a beef already processed.

I'm hoping to ride today, depending on my cold, the weather, and the bite on Sawyer's back.  Lots of variables...  We shall see!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Always Catching Up

Poor neglected blog.  Has the era of the blog passed?  I really want to keep it going, and I do what I want (even if I don't do it well) so here we go.

I was working with Halla and Sawyer together a bit, and Halla and Juniper too, although I didn't get pics of that.  The idea was that she'd gain some confidence from having a calmer buddy with her.  I suppose it might have helped some.

We practiced ponying.  My thought that maybe her "extensive" mountain experience was as a pack horse - no way.  Not unless they were willing to take an unsafe horse as a pack horse.  She's too worried about the rope and the human.  If she were to get fouled in the rope you'd probably lose your whole string.  If a rope touched her hind end - hold on to your ass! But I was proud of her progress, eventually she was able to be brave enough to come up next to me and even let me touch her.

Sawyer loves her.

Very, very much.

Oh my gosh, we had an adventure this night.  I took Juniper on a relaxed walk to the north edge of the property.  She was having a nice graze, farthest from the horses, to make it fun to be far away.  Not that she minds terribly anyway.  I usually have to drag her back into the pasture.

Winston was staring off, being majestic.  Or that was all I thought of it.  I don't see or hear as well as he does, obviously.

Juniper was oblivious as well, looking toward the cars on the highway.  Then all hell broke loose and it looked like there were kangaroos leaping through the wheat stubble in the field next to us.  Deer, of course. Winston went to chase them, with me trying vainly to call him off.  Then he circled back, butt tucked, chased by coyotes.  The dry stubble sounded like sizzling with all the legs of all the animals running through it.  Juniper bolted toward home.  I didn't try to hold her with my crippled shoulder.  I was still trying to call Winston.  Those coyotes do bite but he considers it his job to protect.  Juniper stopped halfway home, staring at me and all the ruckus.  I was calling to her to try to calm her, kinda entertained by the whole situation.  The an HUGE deer circled around from the east and ran right at her.  That was it for her courage.  After convincing Winston to join me, I found her standing back at the fence with Scout and Bella, still a bit rattled but happy to be grazing with her friends.  What a goofy encounter, appropriate for a full moon evening!

Without getting long-winded about it, I will just say I don't know what I'm going to do about Halla.  She isn't safe for me specifically to ride since I lose my balance just walking across a room.  Even if I get through her worries, I do not want to risk my head.  So I'm looking at maybe another horse.  Or more specifically, a mammoth donkey.  I do have Sawyer, and I am so thankful for him!  But if we had one more, Liam could ride with us.

I dug this up off the blog from years ago - me riding old Bob. I don't think I ever rode him again after this.  He was so old.  I rode Pedro a bit.  But Pedro had bad hooves.  I think maybe I babied them too much... If they'd had more exercise would they have lived longer?  That's beside the point.  They were so comfortable to ride, although not really trained.  Donkeys are not reactive like horses.  They're so sweet.  Just a more doglike critter.  If I can find the right one, I think I might like a donkey to ride.  Will that make people not want to ride with me?  Horses don't always react well to longears...

This beautiful girl (foreground) is for sale but not trained. Good with her feet and trailer loading.  The right kind of handling.  Quite big enough, the right age.  I haven't met her yet.  I'd rather find one with some life experience.

This fella has been trail ridden but he's a jack (intact male).  Not ideal.  Totally docile but the mare he was kept with, in addition to geldings, was always pregnant so didn't stir the pot.  Not great with his feet. My back really wants something better than that.
Just yesterday I had a few more leads on donkeys but I've lost my voice so can't call, and apparently these people don't email.

Juniper had her first dentistry appointment.  She's four years old, we verified.  She had sharp points, a ramp in the front, and does have wolf teeth, but we left those for now since I don't plan on bitting her.  Oh, and I did measure her height recently.  She's roughly 13.1 and about 550ish pounds. A small person could ride her.  She could definitely pull a cart.  Someday...

Sawyer came along and they supported each other through the ordeal.  His teeth are holding up well for his age.  Not perfect by any means, but all there so far.

We went on our first trail ride of the season!  Finally!  It was great.  I miss my sister though.

Sawyer was a perfect gentleman, as usual

The weather couldn't have been better. 

I really like these ladies - hadn't ridden with them before though.  It was fun. 

I was trying Scout in a different bit and my treeless saddle, and John hadn't tried the treeless yet.  He didn't ask for one, so I think he likes his Cashel better.  He does like to have a horn on his saddle.  Scout likes the Myler combo bit so far, the 2 times I've ridden him with it.

Scout also likes to EAT!  Especially when he's nervous.  Look at that tasty grass.  Lucky horse.  But he gets silly when we ride at home, I think because his mama is here but he can't see her. I don't know.  Eating does seem to calm him.  Get his head down, let him quit thinking for a few minutes...

Sawyer, on the other hand, would not eat the tasty grass.  He was pining over Halla, who was alllll the way back on the other side of everything.  No appetite.  Love sure is rough.  Huckleberry and Winston, the black and white dots in the distance, were hunting wabbits.
Springtime...  Loving what I can get of it so far.  Can't wait for more riding to come!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Mud, mud, mud

Oh, and of course flooding. Not the best picture, but the water is supposed to stay within those two lines on the other side of those two trees. All that expanse of water on the other side is the 15ish acres of our property that our neighbor grazes his cattle on. 

 Here you can see a pathetic horse in a wet pasture and beyond him the lake that isn't supposed to he a lake.

We do have a system if ditches and ponds to deal with water, but this was the worst flooding in 22 years, from what I heard.

Huckleberry really appreciates the ponds. Every chance he gets.

The water levels receeded a lot by the next morning. I feel really bad for the places in Moscow and Pullman that were flooded for real. Water was rushing through businesses, cars were floating down the street. That doesn't happen here. So strange. I am grateful that we are above the floodplain everywhere that it matters.

Bella was feeling extra frisky the other day. I just had to stand back and enjoy it rather than pulling out my camera. She can really put on the speed! She got Scout riled up too but he's got nothing on her. I did finally take my phone out for pics but it was glitching.

Juniper, as always, just wants all the attention, no matter how wet or dry, filthy or clean. I took her for a short walk and put her in with the redheads. Their pasture is drier. I'm not sure she appreciates the change.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Hello Again

Today we have some rather atrocious spring weather and for once there is absolutely nothing on my calendar. Time for a blog post!

We had some pretty nice weather for a while.  Sunny, little to no mud, even some t-shirt weather!

 John wants to make Scout and Juniper his packing pair, so he took them for a walk together. The dogs had to go too, of course.

I asked if I could take Juniper along to our lesson the other day, and my trainer's friends were super excited to meet her. Juniper had fun too, except for the trailer ride part. She is going to be an adventurous sort, as long as we don't break her of her curiosity. I just love her.

Halla got to try out some Sure Foot pads. She looks pretty disorganized on them here, but where she seemed to prefer to put herself was with her left front and right hind on the pads. She didn't have a huge obvious reaction to them but I think they did relax her.
 At our lesson she worked with 3 or 4 different people, just relaxing, stepping up to the mounting block, lowering her head. In the beginning there was some round pen work. We have so far to go. She is just a bundle of "waiting for the other shoe to drop."

At home, when I can, I just take her with me to do chores. Here she was snacking while I cleaned out the trailer.

Here she is trying on the Ez-Fit treeless saddle. I though I'd do something easy and ground drive her. Nope. That wasn't easy. Not for her. The lines were too much for her. Back to square one.
I really wish I could go back in time and show her trainer how to do it right. How to see she wasn't okay with everything just because she stood still for it. She was scared out of her mind. Shit. I sure know how to pick them.

We started working on putting up some new permanent fence. Huckleberry was happy we were working by the pond. It was warm that day!

Liam found a lovely toad.

We both tried out the treeless on Sawyer. I love it. Liam didn't so much. He doesn't like anything at first though.

Sawyer took me in the pond so he could eat weeds. But don't ask him to cross a trickle of water! That's too scary. (We got over it.)

We ponied Halla a bit in the round pen. I think that will help a lot with her fear of things above her. She hated it at first, was very stiff and worried, but relaxed more and enjoyed some loving up against my leg.

And again my beautiful, wonderful, brilliant miss Juniper. She's taking to the pack saddle just fine. She even follows without being led (after a little bit of a snack). Don't worry, we were on my driveway, not near the road.
Ask her to step on a plywood "bridge" though, and it's a different matter. We made a little progress finally a couple days ago. I'm hoping next time it'll be no problem. Donkeys are different. There's no forcing them, but once something is ok, it's ok.

I'm planning two trips to mule and donkey shows at the beginning of June. I'm so excited! At first I toyed with the idea of taking Juniper to one of them, but there wouldn't be much time to prepare, and she wouldn't have a buddy, and I'm no showman. I haven't done showmanship since Tonka went to Mustang Days. I'd like to see how they dress, etc. before I jump in. I bet it's not as dressy as an AQHA show, for instance. And if I have to clip off all her whiskers, I'm not doing it.