Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Winter, Over and Over and...

We keep peeking into spring and then descending back into winter here on the farm. Days in the 40's and 50's give me hope and motivation (and really, really shitty footing) and then it snows and I descent back into sitting on the couch staring out of the window.

I have been reading books, and watching videos, and have ranted and raved at my IRL friends about Arya and her training. First of all, a big fat public thank you to Carly for sending me a book (YAY BOOKS) that I have been reading my way through. I also have been heavily considering and think I am going to save up to do some round pen ground work with the husband of my former barn owner who has a really nice way with natural horsemanship type methods, and uses the methods on his wife's eventers, so he has experience with applying natural horsemanship/good horsemanship to sporthorse types. Soooo I shall say again, if you need any used tack off my list (or if you need something I may have) please hit me up!

Her training has still been inconsistent, in part because of my own inconsitencies. I have resolved to only work with her when I have the mental fortitude to be 100% fair and there for her. I can't phone it in with this horse - she needs consistency, and she needs to feel like I am being fair. I also need to be in it to win it, because I have to win if she challenges me. I've been trying to ground work her every few days, but the arena's state has made things difficult. We had a great session where she worked over a board on the ground and went from shutting down and running backwards to walking over it like it wasn't no thang, and also managed a feat (walking down the driveway and interracting with garbage cans) that Bailey could not even the previous day, so I was really pleased with her. Our last session, yesterday, was after too many days off due to weather and laziness on my part, and showed it. We were back at step one to catch her, step one for walking out of the paddock away from the herd, and she was unfocused, pushy and defaulted to her trying to not pay attention to me and just do what she thinks I want, which usually involves trying to run through my aids in the opposite direction than the one I am asking her for. I'll get her back out tonight, or maybe Wednesday, as I like to give her brain time to cool off, and try to keep things more scheduled.

Also, she is 5 today! Happy birthday, gigantasaurus baby horse!

Bailey has been working a few times a week, as well, and while our work is super boring flatwork (again, my arena sucks!) she does seem to have acclimated to working outside of the ring very quickly for her. The first day I asked her to walk down the driveway, she was a mess. Walking down the road was a challenge, but she chilled out and hacked around the paddock perimeter happily. The next ride we rode in what will soon be one of my back pastures, and she was very good. I am going to try to keep making lemonade on this one and do work outside of the ring until it's gotten past it's current very treacherous state - good for me, good for the pony and good for not dying because we're trying to work in a ring where you randomly punch through the ice to 3-4" below, and other times you're riding on ice with an inch of water on top and other times you're on snow with god knows what underneath. I've been experimenting with the Equilab app, as well, with mixed results. I like when I get the pretty rainbow circles, but so far haven't had a ton of consistent luck!

On the farm front, I have been selling some extra hay (yay, money!), though recently discovered that the water I realized was coming into my hay shed was much higher than I thought it was and has probably spoiled the bottom layer of the grass bales, which totally sucks. It don't feel like too much of a waste as I've made back a good amount of money selling the layers above the bottom, but my soul does wither at the idea of wasting hay, even if it's older grass hay.

One thing I wish I had done was actually record how many bales I used this year; obviously I went through a span where I only had two horses and the donkey, not three, but all I feel like I know at this point is that I use, approximately 2 bales outside daily and .5-1 for inside hay. As I planned, the horses came inside at the beginning of October and will hopefully go out full time in May, meaning that I will have needed 212 days of full time paddock hay (and may need a bit more to get me through until the pastures are in and fenced. If I use 212 days for math's sake, that means I should have bought 636 bales of hay, assuming I used 1 bale inside each day, which is definitely not always the case. I bought approximately 800 (though some of the hay was used before October 1st, so perhaps I can say 775) and just sold 190 bales, and still have what is probably 150 (or more) bales left. Clearly, my hay math sucks.

I'm going to record what I use until the horses go outside; I really need to be more actively organized so I can plan better for next year, especially if we're baling our own hay. I'd like to make sure I have a surplus again, but I'm not sure 190 bales (plus those that were wasted) was the kind of "surplus" I had in mind. I also hit a Purina sale at the feed store, and bought more feed than I probably should have. However, I will be able to easily figure out how many bags I go through until it's used up and I won't have to do emergency runs to the feed store any time soon.

Hopefully, having removed some of the errand-y, stressful parts of farm life for a little while, I can get back to focusing on what to do with my manure, mapping out new pastures and estimating materials for them, and, of course, enjoying my girls.


  1. that's gotta feel good to get some of that stuff out of the way. good luck with getting a start on all the work with the horses, weather allowing!

  2. Keeping detailed records will go a long way to saving you money! I hope the weather gets better for you!