Thursday, September 1, 2011

Belle at School

Belle went to school yesterday. I have referenced horses and used horse pictures, skulls, hoof cuttings, but never actually hauled a horse to school before. I did have my homeroom students go to the barn shortly after Lady was born, but that was just to show off and we picked up trash along the road as a service project, not exactly part of an offical lesson plan. I work with At-Risk kids at an alternative school. I have about as many kids total as I used to have in just one class. I cannot just supply all of the information needed to pass the government tests and hope that they will succeed. I have to try and teach them how to learn and to enjoy learning new things. School started last week. I built up this visit from my pride and joy. I saw big tough kids get all stupid about how tough they are and that they were going to jump on and ride off with her. I saw kids pretend indifference to the concept of a horse at school.

Reality? It was the best day of the year. (ok, it was only day 6, but it was awesome!!!) Some students were shocked at just how big she is. Some were surprised that she wasn't bigger (she is a small Clydesdale). Only two students with previous bad experiences with horses would not approach her. My Integrated Science classes worked on accuracy and precision in measuring and calculations. This is a skill that as I pointed out to them can have costly repurcussions. If I order the wrong blanket, harness, bridle, bit, etc. Often, they can not be sent back after trying them out on the horse due to the horse hair. We also used measurements to estimate Belle's weight. I pointed out that if she is under or over wormed, due to inaccurate estimations, it is not a good thing. We read her grain label, figured out how much feed she should be receiving, and weighed out how much a quart of feed weighs. I had them pack a loose quart and a tightly packed quart and demonstrated how that will change the weight and density. (we did not go into mass on that day) They also got to pet her, and feed her treats. My animal science class had to actually point out the external anatomy for a quiz. They also all got to feel her chestnuts, hooves and lift up a hoof to demonstrate cleaning. I was surprized how many of them had never been that close to a horse. They got to feel how hard her face is and feel where the cartiladge meets the bone on her nose. It was pretty cool to see the looks of wonder on the kids' faces. None of my students acted inappropriate (other than cussing in surprise on occassion when she moved or shifted her weigh, or swung her head around to look at them better) In Zoology, we discussion the evolution of the horse and the evidence of vestigial toes. We also discussed the pecking order of a herd.
It was an awesome day (I know that I keep saying that, but it was cool)
Belle was nervous at first, but settled right down and carefully and graciously took treats from them. It was cool (yep, I said it again)
No pics due to student confidentiality, but Belle was a big success. I can't wait to use the other animals and ponies for class.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

one week old

July 4th and the fireworks didn't phase Antares. How could a few fireworks scare you when you are named after a Red Super Giant star, anyway?
Antares is smart. I know, I own her, so I am biased, but she will stand and get her zinc oxide smeared on her nose without a fuss. Does her mother? No, Zinc oxide is of the devil and will make your nose fall off in her opinion. Antares nose was getting a little pink, so we are being careful. She will also stand and put her nose in her halter. I know many adult horses that are not that good.

The three spinsters got baths this week. Lady likes to roll in the moat and then in the dirt. She looked like she was a minimal white paint. It takes dish soap and then whitening to get her remotely clean. Misty is almost as bad, but Belle avoids the moat whenever possible.



Misty doesn't look that much different, but Lady looks better. She has a lot more little spots this year, just like her sire. Her face mask got its weekly (sometimes daily) scrubbing, too. I didn't get a better pic of Belle, but she was really enjoying the leg rub. Mr. BPA even commented about just how good she was being.

Foxy did not get a complete bath. I just scrubbed her back legs up really well. I would have done more, but Antares was running around and the llamas were approaching too closely, so I turned Foxy loose just in case they considered Antares a threat. We are still working on the llamas. At least Foxy is the only one still nervous around the llamas. Belle was terrified at first. Misty and Lady would chase them and then the llamas would chase the horses. Now they can graze together.

Kid #2 is keeping watch to that they stay away from the construction materials. Foxy doesn't keep Antares out for very long. She will head to the stall many times before Antares will actually go in. Antares likes to swerve right before she goes through the gate. The look on Foxy's face when she goes back out to round up Antares for the 4th or 5th time is hilarious. Then Antares collapses in a heap in the stall.

We took a bunch of junk to the dump yesterday. Now that I know where the dump is and I don't have to go clear out to the other dump, I am doing to completely dejunk (probably a pipe dream, but at least I can dream!) We are building much nicer outdoor poultry coops, so the birds will be out of the barn so that we can lock up Lady better. She is a bully and likes to pound on Misty. They have acres to run, but just this morning, I could hear Lady slamming Misty around in the stall that they share (which is open to the pasture, its just for shelter. Lady, Belle, and Foxy can easily fit in these oversized stalls

Friday, July 1, 2011

Adjusting to 5 horses

Foxy is in full protective Mommy mode. She pins her ears and goes after Lady and Misty through the fence.
Belle is in full baby stealing mode. Belle managed to get the chains off between the panel and the side of the barn and allowed Antares to escape Foxy's run. It didn't last long, but scared me to death because the dogs were out. I have been highly paranoid about the dogs and Antares. Lady antagonizes the dogs until they chase her, and Shooter has brain damage from chasing Foxy's tail from puppyhood until now. These pics have the sun behind them, but they d show Lady and Shooter playing.

Antares has a sock on her hindright leg. She doesn't really have black markings, but black on the back of her pasterns.

Isn't she a cutey!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We have baby!

Antares was born between 12-1 am, June 28th. I know this because I checked them before Midnight and then Kid #2 checked at 2:30, ran screaming back into the house that "Teddy is born!" Theodore Roosevelt would have been "his" name. But we have a filly. Kid #2 is perfectly happy with his Antares, both with being a filly AND a solid.
This is her first pic. I had to use a flash to figure out what she looked like. Foxy had a perfectly good stall to foal in,but she had to be surrounded by the other mares. Belle, Misty, and Lady were all around the run when we showed up. Lady was lying within 4 feet of Antares, but a fence did separate them.

She appears (at the moment, but Lady changed color a bit in the first month, too) Red Dun. According to J'Wayne McArthur's book, Training for the Western horse and rider, a red dun is, "Lighter than a sorrel, with darker red points than the body color. Generally a red dorsal stripe will be present. These horses may have zebra stripes around legs." My first thought was bay, and I am still leaning that way just because the mane and tail do look black at the moment, but when she is in the sun, that red dorsal stripe really shifts my thinking back to red dun.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

less than four weeks

Foxy is due in less than four weeks!
We are still a little worried about the flood, but other than a lot of standing water in the moat, we are ok. I found this at the Five Pine Ranch. The comments that are bolded are my personal comments.

According to Five Pine Ranch,
"Current recommendations for the last 4 - 6 weeks or pregnancy are to administer annual vaccine boosters to broodmares to heighten immunoglobulins in the mare's colostrum. Yep, we already did this. Various opinions exist as to the proper time to deworm broodmares prior to parturition, ranging from 1 month to 1 day prior, or the day of, foaling. I am of the 30 days prior and day of foaling on the worming thought process.It is this writer's opinion that deworming every 60 days during gestation and the day the foal is born is most beneficial taking care to use products approved for use during pregnancy. (Growth & Development, 2007; Kellon, 2005)

During this final 4-6 week period, the mare should be introduced to the environment (stall, paddock or pasture) that the mare is to foal. This is all great, but if we flood, then I have to move her. I don't want to move her. I want her to stay right here and foal in her nice big stall. I do need to move Belle out of the stall/run, though. They are both resisting this. This helps reduce stress by sudden changes and allows her immune system to build antibodies for environmental pathogens. Continued exercise is important to help maintain fitness and may reduce the chances of edema in the legs and abdomen. That is why they all get out to pasture every day. Clean fresh water must be provided at all times as broodmares require larger quantities of water at this stage. I have two separate watering troughs available, one in the pasture and one in her run. I leave the run gate open so that she can have access to the shade in her stall when she wants it, too.(Davies Morel, 2003)"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Almost time

Foxy is due in less than 5 weeks. Yikes! I have bunnies due this week. I have barn kittens due sometime this month. I have two more litters of bunnies due on June 11th. I have 20 Turkey chicks arriving this week. A llama is also joining the herd this month. (kid #3 doesn't want a horse. He wants a llama. It might be useful to pack out an elk this year) And we are only 5 days away from the 1 year anniversary of the flood of 2010. We are anticipating it this year, too, but we keep being told that it is a different watershed area that will be the problem.(yeah, right. That's why I already have a moat and Lady has only 2 inches of clearance when she runs through the water)

Fortunately (or unfortunately for my bank account) I am not doing summer school this year. I get to focus on the animals, the garden, and the yard. (I will have to get housework in there too)

My property is an icky mess, so riding has not been a huge activity. I am also moving things to higher ground, like saddles, bunnies are elevated, the 4-H chicks are raised up.
Kid #1 chose the Black breasted Phoenix as her chickens this year.
Kid #2 chose the Partridge cochin
and kid #3 chose the Silver Laced Polish.
They are really cool.

The meat chickens are also elevated and in a bin that floats if necessary (that is what we did with them last year, too. We just floated them up to the house)

The ponies already have a place to go if we need to evacuate. The awesome lady that let them be in her pasture has already volunteered her pasture again. I just don't want Foxy that far away if she foals early.

I will post pics of the giant bellied mare later this week. I need to finish cleaning up my classroom. ICK!!!!!!!!!!!1

Friday, April 8, 2011

Back in the Saddle again

Ok, finally back online. So much has happened. I can't even get my pictures to stay where I put them, so try to navigate this blog and connect the right pics to the right captions. I have already had a cat erase this once today (I then started saving everytime she came near)
Here's Kid #1 and Lady.
She has been riding her a little bit over the winter, but it can be tough when the sun does down so early.

Friday, April 1, We picked up a new horse. She came from Louisiana three years ago. She is thirteen. I am guessing that she might be spotted saddlebred. Maybe not. Her head looks just like Misty from This is the Place State Park when I was doing trail rides. That Misty has long since retired to be a 4-H horse and then to the happy green pasture above. This Misty direct and neck reins. She handles nicely in western or english. She is a little fat and lazy, but then so am I. She will be Kid #2's horse for 4-H this year(probably). Remember that Foxy is due July 4th and she is not a happy show horse anyway. Junior will be Kid #2's 4-H horse from next year on.

So I am on Spring break right now. It's awesome. I have been working the horses, avoiding the lists of housework that I have been putting off 'til spring break. Belle was in such a great mood the other day that while trotting over railroad ties, she took a flying leap over them. I could tell that she was getting ready to do something, but I was expecting her to move to one side. She is not much of a jumper, but she loved it. She kept speeding up and trying to swerve back over to that section of the arena. She wanted more. It reminded me of her and barrels. She loves trotting the barrel pattern. She is terrible with the pattern, but she loves to do it. She can't get her Clydesdale self to maneuver around the barrels like a good Quarter horse. I wonder why? NOT!

Here is a picture of the how Lady sizes up to the big girls. I need to break out a measuring tape, but she is 15.1-15.2 hh. Misty is 15.3-16 hh.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gestational Progress

I don't remember where I found this, but this is the same picture from when Lady was gestating. Jr. is currently at around 22-23 weeks. Which means that he is about the size of a rabbit. His dad is a solid sorrel, but registered as a paint. (A paint that ain't)
There is a chance then of a paint offspring, but as mentioned in an earlier blog, Foxy has only had the one Paint filly, Lady. The other two fillies were solids.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cowgirl Up

Christmas Break is a great time for teachers. We get to take the time off, our schools are rarely open to get work done that we really need to get done and we are still getting paid. It's pretty cool. I got to sleep in and play with all of the animals.
The kids were feeling like playing and there was no snow, so Kid #2 laid around on Foxy, just chilling. She is carrying Jr. a lot lower than she did Lady, so he is really hoping for a colt. He has had it with trying to show moody mares. He would really like an Overo colt, but he would be just as happy with a healthy solid filly. Kid #3 hung out with the big mare, Belle. He is not a fan of trying to control her, because she knows that he is a push over. As long as he doesn't try to control her, they do well. I didn't even put a halter on her, they just followed Foxy around (this would not be safe with any other horse, but Belle loves doing this and Kid #3 just laid back or across her neck and chilled out. It was awesome.) Lady and Kid #1 did some real work. Kid #1 leaned on Lady, then laid across Lady. Then She swung her leg over and sat on Lady. As long as I was scratching Lady's eyes and ears, she was fine. The next day, we did it all again, but this time, I led Lady around with Foxy, Belle and Kid #2 and #3 following like a train. It was pretty funny when the barn cats had to follow, too. I was ready to call it quits and said, "Ho," but then Lady had to pop up twice. Kid #1 hung on and calmed her down and we went for another walk. Lady did great after than and when Kid #1 swung down, she then led her around, following the two big mares, until she climbes back on and we did the whole thing again. But without any popping up. Now before anybody gets too bent out of shape over breaking Lady to saddle before she is full grown, please understand that Kid #1 may be 14, but she is built like a stick. She MIGHT weigh 90 lbs. Lady is 21 months old and 15.1 hh. These were not long rides, just teens playing. If I thought that it was going to be a rodeo and Lady might be strained in any way, I really wouldn't have done this. If my daughter was a heavy weight, I really wouldn't have done this. She was nervous, wore her helmet, but afterwards, felt great. Both girls, just had a great time.
It has finally snowed and the temperatures at night are sub zero. The low so far is -26 F. That's cold, so we have put a stop to the riding. We just can't risk sweat at this point. Pics will follow, probably tomorrow.