12.02.2018

feeder choices

The time has come for us to look closer at feeder options for our pasture, and make a decision. There are SO many choices!!

We used a wooden feeder that Brad built at our last place, and left it there for the resident horses. We would like to get a lower covered metal feeder this time. Possibly one that could be used with an orange slow feed net for large square bales, and possibly round bales. That would be ideal in my opinion.

Because of our sandy loam soil, our vet had us start our horses on Sand Clear and suggests we feed on mats under/around the feeder. 

There are the standard round ground feeders that we've all seen, and work with nets. They also make feeders that seem functional and either come with a cover or you can add a cover. 

Here are a couple square bail feeders we found to consider:

leery of the metal sections that sit on the hay
I can see those causing problems

These do not work with nets, but I like the top one that is lower to the ground. We may just go with a standard round feeder, stuff the squares into a net and build some type of cover. Any thoughts or recommendations on pasture feeders to share?

12.01.2018

our he and she shed

It took three looong weeks to get our horse shed finished. The owner of the company we hired decide to build our shed himself, instead of sending a crew. It is nice and sturdy, and it's done. Check!

The making of our he and she shed:


timberrrrrr
looks so bare with only a few trees remaining
last view like this
leveling is so important

Brad worked hard at framing & compacting

our horses were really upset with all the building action
won't be able to see them waiting by the gate much longer
our son & Brad finishing the concrete pad 
working by the light of the moon
chillaxin by the new pad
a wet & muddy wait
lower part of shed gets treated boards 

roof truss goes up
with um, our equipment...polite people ask first...

Notice the dogs above, lower left.
Jameson (black lab, is our grand dog) had his hands full.
The builders untrained crazed puppy run amuck.
Not the dogs fault, he was actually a big sweet guy,
with a huge extra slobbery smile.

Marley
we were hoping the shed would be done on schedule,
before the cold & snow hit

looks like a tall shed & another tree (or two) has to come down
cold morning

slow progress

still waiting

side & roof are up, but supplies ran short,
so another week of waiting

Brad finished the inside off for the horses to use safely

Mats were added (plan to add a few more) & boards, cut bolts & covered
We may eventually do more to the inside?

It's amazing what a difference it makes inside the shed. Most days our horses won't need to take shelter. Either way, it makes me feel better knowing they can get out of the elements. 

11.19.2018

horse documentary thoughts

Did any of you watch the free online "Listening to the Horse" docu-seriesIt's nothing short of a miracle that I watched ALL seven episodes!! I really enjoyed hearing many of the stories, especially from those in area's I am not familiar with. Featured trainers were from the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and the US. Accents fascinate me. I enjoyed the different wording/pronunciations, but at times with thicker accents I had difficulty understanding what was being said.

The video footage itself was stunning during key moments. They showed wide views from very high above, in a minimalistic style, of a horse & rider with their dancing shadows. As a visual person, it was captivating! At least one of the riders was Steve Halfpenny, whom I would like to learn more from. He is known for Light Hands Equitation, and has a soft approach & calming way.

Below are a few snippets of my take away's from the episodes and trainers that resonated with me:

Episode 1 (Horsemanship) 
• Allow the horse the right to search, to find release.
• Many horse problems are rooted in anxiety.
• 
Warrick Schiller (Performance Horse) shared a trail story about horses spooking at rabbits, it spoke volumes.
• horses are "lightly started" way too young


Episode 2 (Groundwork)
• Stop pushing horses away, so they can chose to do the right thing.
Kim Walnes (heart & science of riding) trail story about her young Arabian brought tears to my eyes. I found her very interesting to listen to.

Episode 3 (Riding) 
• The best video of the series IMO, had substance and was more then nice stories/peoples opinions. I value visual explanations of what is being done, and why. Pat Parelli was the trainer (for those anti-Parelli, I am well-aware of the excessive hype) he did an excellent job explaining & showing the importance of foot fall. 

• Riders use head-knowledge, instead of heart-felt choice.
• "It's about building relationship, it's about a dance with the horse"


Episode 4 (Health) • The obvious was covered

Episode 5 (Bodywork)
Jim Masterson showed how to find the bladder meridian, and touched on the amount of pressure to apply. However, I was left wondering "then what should I do..." maybe that was the point lol.

• The featured animal communicator (aka educated observer) was interesting. I get it now.
Jeff Sanders (Spanish Horsemanship) gave a thorough basic explanation of how bits apply pressure to horses tongues, using a towel. It was an eye opener. 
Another favorite episode, that I found educational. This guy knows his stuff.

Episode 6 (The Rider)
• Ride the horse you have that day vs 
riding the saddle (every trainer on the planet needs to heed this message)
• The impact of incorrectly sitting on your horse


Episode 7 (Home & Environment)
• The obvious was covered
• A reminder that some horses live in horrific situations.


I do not recall seeing many of the larger number of trainers listed. Here are a few more that shared and resonated with me: Lester Buckley (multi-disciplinary/gifted teacher), Karen Rohlf (Dressage Naturally) and Katharine Chrisley (Natural Equine Specialist).  

I loved the overall message of the Listening to the Horse series, everything featured was clearly in the best interest of the horse. There is incredible information being touched on. Key word, touched on. The world would be a much better place for horses if all owners did what was previewed. However, I am not sure how effective the messages are via sooo many snippets of people talking at you. Those featured messages shared in-depth, stuck with me. Sometimes less is more.

Those of you that watched it, what did you think about the documentary??

11.12.2018

build-a-barn ~ doors

The focus lately has been on getting the barn ready for cold weather. Our electricians hooked the outdoor water heater up last week, the day before winter temps arrived. Brad has been working hard on getting the tack room door up. It was no easy task:


tack room entrance got trimmed
our long awaited metal door frame arrived

Brad cut wood to fit panel areas
and attached hardware

door is hung and ready for staining
trim was stained earlier

our dehumidifier hose runs through the wall now,
it fits neatly in the floor crease, runs into the floor drain

finished sliding tack room door
Brad did an amazing job on the tack room door! It was his idea to order a stall front that matches our stalls, and I love what he did!! Now if only we could get the plumbers back out to hook up our hot water in the barn...we could finish the inside of the tack room. 
We need warm water for cleaning tack, especially now that it is cold.
 I've hauled hot water from the house, but things like blankets & pads clean better with force from a spray nozzle.

............................

Another current project is insulating the metal barn doors:

insulation is cut to fit inside door panels

then gets covered with milk board

Brad is not done with insulating the barn doors yet. It is a lot of measuring, cutting etc. Our barn door side creases will be blocked with door strip flaps, not sure what is happening with the bottom gap. I might make some type of removable flex block for the bottom, that mice won't love. 
What do you guys use for blocking breezy barn door gaps? 

After the barn ceiling insulation get's blown in, our barn will be winterized. I think. At least we are on that busy contractors schedule. This will be our first winter here with the horses. It will be interesting to see how everything works out.