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Horse in Boots

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So you all have seen the funny cat videos of them trying to walk in shoe or socks.  Here is a good one if you haven’t.

That got me thinking how did they decide to make a cartoon Puss in Boots if the cats can’t walk. Well some how Puss figured out how to walk, run, dance and sword fight.

But I digress… I got Cuervo a pair of fly boots.  They are basically mesh leg wraps that go from the hoof to below the knee.  I was noticing he had a lot of bug bites and blood spots left from the bites because he didn’t stop his feet to get the bugs off.  Did mention he is old and lazy?  Well this video is the second time putting the boots on.  The first time was even more dramatic but he still walked funny this time.  Enjoy!

 

My Senior Horses are Amazing

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I came across this blog today: Reasons why senior horse are amazing.  I couldn’t agree more.  My 4 horses are getting up there and they are so trust worthy, reliable and healthy.

Cuervo – He is just an ornery old man.  His best friend is Apple Jacks but he whinnies when any of the horses leave the barn area.  He is stubborn, doesn’t like to make turns in the riding ring; Clumsy, stumbles when he forgets to pick up his feet, and best of all he is so rock solid as in nothing spooks him.

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Apple Jack – He is my little rocket. In the riding ring he is hot, just wants to go as fast as he can.  On the trails he is the leader and nothing bothers him.  He loves to be ridden and doesn’t run away from me when I try to catch him.  He loves water, when I take him in the creek he splashes around.

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Nash – He is probably 15 years old so almost a senior.  He has completely recovered from his hernia surgery. I find myself getting on him bare back a lot these days. (I got the best friend bareback pad! It is great!)  He is comfortable to ride with out a saddle because of his Tennessee Walking horse gait the running walk.  He is calming down a lot, used to be super sensitive and slightly spooky but has been doing great recently.

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Casey – He is just great all around.  Awesome with the kids and lessons.  Okay he is a little lazy and will take advantage of the kids if they are not confident enough.  But he never does anything wrong and is so patient.  He is always last to come in for anything, because he is at the bottom of the herd hierarchy.  He whinnies for grain.  He loves his scratches especially on the chest and neck.

 

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The horses of GSF

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A photo texted to me this week by one of my lesson student’s mom. The horses as set up on their dinner table are on order of their stalls on the farm. Cuervo, Apple Jacks, Nash, Casey: on the right and have the stalls on right hand side of the barn.
Heather & George in the back. They have their own two stall barn and pasture behind the main barn.
Chex, Warlock, Sunbun, Izzy. On the left side of the barn and in order back to front.
I am so impressed she remembered all their colors and stall locations.
I think she may be one of the horse crazy ones, like I was as a kid.

Pasture renovation and Paddock Paradise in one foul swoop

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We just completed the Equine Environmental Stewardship program with Penn State Extension’s  Equine Program.  In this course we learned about best management practices of pasture management.

Right now the horse are being kept in an Animal Concentration Area (ACA ). This area is also known as a sacrifice lot or a dry lot.  This is the area right behind the barn that the horses are out in when I am trying to preserve the pastures form over use, over eating and hoof damage. Now, after the winter snows and spring rains it has no grass and is all dirt and mud. See before pictures below.WP_20140420_11_06_02_Pro WP_20140420_11_09_19_Pro WP_20140420_11_11_03_Pro

As shown in the picture below the ACA consisted of the whole area within the blue lines.  This was a large area for the horses and donkeys and would never grow any decent grass due to over grazing. ACA

Last year we had members of the Equine Program (Donna and Sarah) out to evaluate our pastures and determine if the farm could be part of their pasture rejuvenation project.  See the post from August 2013.  We were invited to participate but it fell through due to the fact that we didn’t have the right kind of tractor.  Their recommendation was to fence off part of the ACA and plant grass seeds so that it may grow to a lush pasture by next year. Their only requirement was that we had to keep the horses off of it an only allow them limited access to prevent over grazing.

The good news is that Donna and Sarah were running the course we just took.  Donna told us we are still considered to be part of the pasture rejuvenation program and we are eligible for a  bag of grass seed.  We could use our on methods to seed the pasture and did not have to use their no till drill.  We received the grass seed mix on the last day of class.

Originally we were going to just fence off part of the pasture (like cut it in half) then I came across the paddock paradise concept.

“Paddock Paradise is an exciting new natural boarding concept based on Jaime Jackson’s research into how horses live in the wild. It is a ground-breaking idea which has many benefits including:

  • provides a more stimulating environment for the horse which discourages vices
  • encourages more movement which benefits overall health of the horse
  • enables easier grazing management”

So I decided to start my paddock paradise in the ACA area and create the pasture in the middle.  See yellow box in the above picture.

This weekend we completed phase I putting up the fence.  See below the pictures of the work in progress.

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After it was completed the horse got to try it out.  They actually enjoyed running around the parameter.

The next day we leveled out the field.  Now all we have to do is drag it to loosen up the dirt and plant the seeds.  Then hope our timing is right for rain and sun.  Be on the look out for more posts as we continue our progress.

Lessons are picking up

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I am excited that the weather is behaving and the lesson program is starting to ramp up again.  I have had a few new inquiries and some new students.  I am excited to see my students from last year coming back.

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Cuervo gets out for a lesson.  It has been a while and some times he can be a big oaf.  But this time he seemed to enjoy himself and was good for her.

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Can you see her mom saying hello to Warlock in the back ground?

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These are my helpers Shadow (dog) and Elvis (cat).

They had a good run around

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Some times they get a wild hair have to run around for a bit to let it out.  It makes for some great pictures.

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The Beauty of Winter

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 This week we had about 8 more inches of snow.  Sure it is pretty to look at and the horses love to play in it but it makes everything more difficult:  Walking out to the barn, opening doors, gloved hands can’t do anything.  Enough complaining, because it also make for some very pretty pictures.

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A couple of days after the snow storm we found ourselves in the the midst of Frozen Rain and slightly Warmer temperatures.  A layer of ice coated everything.  I had some fun with these pictures, as it is really quite beautiful.

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