Sunday, November 25, 2012

Winter Riding

The past few weeks have been great riding weather 50s, with little wind, and a lot of sunshine . . . I course I knew it wouldn't last.  This weekend has been cold and cloudy with some spattering of snow.  I can only hope that we have a repeat of last year with a mild winter, but the Farmer's Almanac is predicting cold and snowy. 

Winter riding in Michigan can be a challenge if you don't have an indoor arena.  I've managed to be able to ride most winters by keeping a good sand base in my round pen, and not rooting it up too much when we first get snow.  I wait until the temperatures get consistent and then use the pen - that way when the temps dip you don't get a a lot of uneven frozen footing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The last of our pasture . . .

This time of year is always hard to see . . . .   The past few mornings have been in the mid-20s hear southwest Michigan, and I know it's only a matter of time before the last of the pasture dies off from the overnight frosts.

Because of the draught, and then the heavy rains in September our pastures came back heavy for the fall.  This year will be one of the firsts where more horses probably won't have it grazed down before I pull them off of the field in a couple of weeks . .

It's hard to see the grass get wasted - when hay is still so high.  I'm trying to tell myself it's better then seeing my pastures overgrazed when winter sets in; and I know it is, so I'm hoping for really good pastures next year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Will Never Lose My Knife In The Barn Again

Last week I lost my barn knife.  Normally, it is slid in between the siding and a frame board in the aisleway of our barn - right next to the scissors.  I am a real bug about making sure everything in the barn has a place and is put back there after every use.  Usually I am very good about the scissors and the knife - putting them back the minute I cut open a bale of hay or a bag of sawdust.

Well my mind was on about 100 things and when I was cutting hay I simply stuck it into the bale next to it so I could throw hay to the horse nearby in the run-in stall.  The next time I went to get the knife I felt my stomach sink as I walked to the spot where I normally keep it and saw it wasn't there.  Since it's actually a sharp kitchen knife I paniced - thinking it was in the bedding in one of my horses stalls and that they would cut themselves up on it . . . . .  I searched frantically and thank heaven, I found it stuck in a bale of hay. 

That will be the last time the knife gets lost.  I tied a blue bandana on it.  Know, even if I'm careless and leave it lying somewhere I'll be able to find it.

This just goes to show you that even when you are careful you can be careless and this is when accidents happen and horses (or yourself) get hurt,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Looking Forward To Winter

I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to winter.  Yesterday, on one of the hottest days we've had this summer (90 degrees and humidity to match), I told my partner, Dennis, he would not hear me complain about winter at all this year.  "Really?" he responded.  "Nope." I said.  But then I edited my statement saying, "Unless it gets so bad that I can't ride."  He smiled.  He knows me pretty well.  If I can't ride, I'm not a happy camper. 

However, this summer it was  exhausting to try to get everyone worked before it was 90 degrees out.  So, as I said, I'm looking forward to winter.  I think the horses are, too.  When they would rather eat hay in their stalls then graze on this beautiful re-growth after the drought, I know they're ready for some cooler temperatures, too.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Are We Going To Cut Anymore Hay?

More rain.  An 1-1/2" last night which is great for the fall pasture growth.  I'm still pondering whether or not we're going to try to cut our last hay field.  I'm thinking not.  It took almost 4 days to dry what we cut last week.  I would love to have some more of the hay like what we got, but it was a lot of work for the number of bales we got.  Even though we've gotten rain this past month, some of our fields just haven't grown that much. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Making Hay

Well this has turned into a hay making week for us.  At this time of year if we get a stretch of 3-4 days of sun and no rain we have to take our last cutting of hay no matter how tall it is.  Yes, it would have been nice to wait another week or two on a couple of our fields, but then we take the chance of getting it dry . . . as a couple of our fields are low and we can get into some pretty foggy mornings where the dew doesn't come off until Noon or so.

I'll be glad to put this year's hay making season over.  With the drought, and now with three inches of rain, which surged the growth, it's felt like a roller coaster around here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two more shows this year . . .

It's decided, I'm only showing two more shows this year.  When I look at the finances of what I spent to show four shows, so far this year, and what was received in awards, etc. I cannot justify spending anymore money on this very, very expensive hobby. . . .

Yes, I really don't need anymore ribbons or trophies, but when I look at the pile of 50 cent ribbons given out at the breed and discipline association shows I competed at this year, I can truly say it was not worth the $700  I spent in entry fees, office fees, drug-testing fees, stalls and camping. 

I know how much ribbons and trophies cost, as I have ordered them for several groups I've been involved with, and I'm going to say for everyone to read:  give your competitors something they can show for their hard dollars spent.

I still can't believe that we put up with not getting a trophy or something equivalent for a first place.  My pledge to everyone reading this, who feels the same way, is to say something to the organizers of the groups you show with.  Don't just decide to not show their shows; tell them why.

And for those of you who may not see me at the shows this fall - consider this my public way of telling you why . . . . you need to make sure that you take care of your competitors so that they come back and show again and again.  It's not about sitting around at a board meeting and bragging about how may new members you have and what you have in the club's bank account.  I've showed with many groups that did such things and are no longer around.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Heat Founder Update

I put Cody on Aspirin this morning and am cutting him back on his feed.  Since he is not on grass, again, I can only assume that the hot weather this summer has made him hoof sore.  I will continue to monitor his situation . . .

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Heat Founder

When I was at a horse show last weekend one of my friends informed me that her good halter mare had heat foundered on one of her front feet.  Here in Michigan the majority of our summer has had above 90 degree days. I tried to offer her as much comfort as possible, having kept one of my horses sound for more then 20 years after he grass foundered.

Having owned and managed a foundered mare, you can image that I am always on high alert for signs of founder with the horse I now have.

Regardless, I now think one of our colts may also have a case of heat founder.  I'm pretty surprised as he really showed no signs of stress during the hot periods of this summer.  However, there really are no other causes for what's appearing to be a case of founder.  He's not on grass, he hasn't been worked on hard surfaces, and he gets a very small amount of grain.

Please keep an eye on your horses.  It's been a very hot, dry summer throughout the country.  I can image that if I have a horse that has foundered from the heat, there are many more out there that are going to also show signs.  For more information on heat founder go to