Friday, July 29, 2011

Lessons learned!

July continues to be a bit on the steamy side, but we love the sunshine. I wish we had more dry days, but there isn’t much anyone can do about that, other than take it as it comes.

It looks like we’ve found someone local who will work for us getting the young stock started under saddle. It took no time at all to hear from several horse-savvy adults expressing a sincere interest in my ad for a local horse trainer who will come here to work the animals. After meeting three, we settled on Carl, who is happy with our offered terms, and arrives in such a timely manner that I could set a watch by him. We are on the same page regarding what needs to be done with which horses and in what order. He started at the beginning of last week and has three of the seven we want started under saddle riding happily down our country roads.

The horses are being desensitized to traffic, to plastic bags (which are down right frightening), to barking dogs defending their driveways, and also to pastures filled with cattle, which are curious looking creatures to the uninitiated horse.

Carl, who is in his mid 50s, is a bit of a naturalist too. When he spots aluminum cans while riding, Carl stops to collect each one in a plastic bag he keeps looped over the saddle horn. Each dismount, remount and exposure to cans rattling in the plastic bag are lessons for the horse. By the time the three- or four-hour ride is done, the horse has learned many things, including what rattles and shakes is not going to hurt them; more exposure helps to build trust and reassurance. It is a wonderful thing to watch. At week’s end Carl trades his can collection in for cash.

As the horses get more time under saddle, are safe to trail ride and less spooky, we will list them for sale on the various equine websites. Even in this economy, horses still bring decent prices and go to good homes. For us, a good home is the most important piece to the horse-for-sale puzzle.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Steamy July

The baby horses are growing up nicely. The mares and foals go out together in the round pen for some exercise and fresh air. Soon, we’ll have a proper mare/foal pasture for them, but any opportunity to socialize is a good one. Legacys Renoir's 2011 colt, "Junior", is picture with his dam, Not That Innocent. "Windy" is the Half Arabian chestnut filly sired by Goldmount Royal Design out of MAF Last Dance ("Mona").

Our barn is well stocked with square bales and we’ve got more stored at the farmer’s home who cuts it. We also laid claim to a good supply of 5 x 5 1000-pound round bales from another neighboring farmer. I always feel good when we’ve got our winter hay situation sorted out.

We have seven young horses that we want started under saddle this year so that we can sell them. We’re looking for a local horse trainer who is interested in doing the job at our farm at terms that we can afford. A 16-year-old daughter of a friend-of-a-friend looked to be a good prospect, until she didn’t show on day two or day four of week one. Consequently, there was no day five, which is too bad, because the horses responded well to her. The search continues with interviews of two local cowboy types. Ian and I know enough to know what we don’t want for our animals when it comes to training; which should help us to sift the wheat from the chaff. We do a lot with our animals, but we also know our limitations, as in we don’t bounce as well as we used to. LOL

The biggest news since the last post is that both of our stallions - Legacys Renoir and Goldmount Royal Design - are home on the farm. Roy has a paddock that is in the gelding pasture and Renoir has a box stall that Ian built in the barn. Roy has made friends with the outdoor boys and shares his grain with one of them. It’s nice to have them both here with us on the Auld Macdonald Farm.

It has been very steamy lately with warnings about the heat index. This is just another extreme example of Minnesota weather. I prefer this to the double-digit below temps.

Son Richard has relocated back to Minneapolis. While I miss his smiling face, I know that he is happier there able to more easily pursue his music career. So, it’s just Ian, me and the menagerie.