Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hunting season, frogs, dead birds & Sunny gets a new winter blanket

Hunting season and harvest have both started. This line of trucks stretched over a mile out from the elevator last Monday morning.
In spite of the fact that we had snow just last week, the itty bitty creatures of the forest are still out and about.

Orange-hatted pheasant hunters are cruising the back roads in search of pheasants. Word is that the hunting locally isn't that great yet - in spite of the line of grain trucks, not enough of the harvest is in to have the birds appearing in any great numbers. We had at leat 5 cars troll past about 10 mph while we were out with the horses this afternoon. In spite of the fact that everything's clearly posted "NO ROAD HUNTING - LIVESTOCK PRESENT" they still look - at least until they see people standing around staring at them.
I suspect that this fellow was a road-hunter casualty. He was laying along the fence in the lower horse lot. He's not the big hawk we've seen hanging out on the fence posts along the road lately, at least I hope he isn't. I picked removed him so the cats & dog (not to mention the horses) wouldn't nose him - or eat him - just in case he was sick and not shot.

The horses have all put on their winter coats. I haven't ridden in three weeks - a combination of weather and hunters. I was really hoping to get out and ride this weekend (and maybe I will yet tomorrow). I have a new saddle pad combination to try out with Sunny. A Cashel 3/4" foam pad and a 1/4" felt liner pad for underneath. Fingers crossed!

And Equestrian Collections had a really good blanket sale going on, so I ordered a new turnout. We don't generally blanket at all in the winter, but I like having a couple of good waterproof blankets on hand just in case. And T is still planning on going deer-hunting west river in late November. They'll ride in and camp, and as cold as it gets, Rufus may appreciate having a cozy new blanket by then.

Hopefully, I'll have a Sunny-wearing-a-blanket pic tomorrow. I had the camera in my pocket today, but I remembered it was there after I'd already had the blanket on, off, and Sunny was back out in the pasture. He was not thrilled about the rustling noise the waterproofing on the blanket was making.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Say it's not... snow!

October 9th, and I drove home in a snowstorm. Bleh!

By the time i got home and changed and we headed do the evening critter check, it had just started to stick to the road edges.

After we counted noses, grained one batch of sheep and verfied that all the waterers were still operational, we went on over to see about Rufus.

Rufus and his bucket
His abscess is much better, and I think this was probably his last round in hot water and Epsom salts.

Belly rubbin's

This morning we happily hadn't gotten as much snow as they predicted, but it was still plenty cool at only 23'.

The ponies were happy to see us, and I was happy to see that the woolly winter coats they're sporting.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weekend/Rufus update

We're farm-sitting - well, I helped for the weekend. Sheep to feed and waterers to check for the sheep, cows & horses. It was rainy on Friday, just drooling down in cold, windy strings all day. Bleh!

Saturday was better, but no time to ride. The horses are looking round and starting to get their winter coats. They were happy to see us, and happier still that the bugs have mostly died off now that it's getting chilly.

Sunday was grey and damp but not too windy, and we made plans to ride in the late afternoon with J. Simplest plan was to load up Rufus and Buddy and trailer over to the farm so I could ride Sunny. We helped J, who'd been fencing all weekend, finish up his last gate, caught horses, and loaded up.
Rufus's abcess is healing nicely. In addition to the soaks in warm water, Epsom salts and iodine, he's been wearing a boot on that foot. The boot gets 4 4x4" gauze pads layered in it soaked with iodine so that it will squish up into the drainage hole when he walks. He hasn't taken an off step since the abscess drained, and isn't sore to pressure, which is good. On the other hand, he has a heel bruise either from the boot or from over-reaching, so it's back to soaking for that....
Anyway, we loaded up and headed out but at the second stop sign J got a call out. Rather than go on over and leave Buddy tied to the trailer while we road, we just circled around and headed back to J's.

T and I figured we have a short ride, staying close so that if J's call went quickly, he could still ride with us. Sure enough, he reappeared in time to catch another horse. His daughter came home from decorating the high school for their homecoming dance and saddled up as well.

Buddy vs. Sunny
I've mentioned the size difference, haven't I? Simply put, Buddy dwarfs Sunny. And at no time is that more clear than when mounting. Holy smokes... I'm so glad I have a short horse!

Turning Buddy is like turning a Cadillac. Don't get me wrong, he's not stiff or boggy. And he'll pivot right around in one spot. But the spot has to be a bit bigger.

And trees? Well, let's just say that watching for low hanging limbs was a priority in more than one place!

I'm also not used to a horse that... placid? He was definitely awake and watching for things. He didn't spook at the deer or at the pheasants flying up, and kept close track of where the dog was at all times. His ears were swiveling around listening to us talk, etc. But there wasn't the bright alertness that Sunny telegraphs when I'm riding him. It was sort of odd having a horse mosey along feeling so relaxed.

And while Sunny can do turtle-speed with the best of them, he's so much shorter coupled that he always feels like he's moving faster. Buddy's so much longer that he can walk more slowly and still keep up with the group. It was sort of like driving a very quiet car after driving an old noisy one - you keep wanting to press on the accelorator until the noise level reaches what you're used to - LOL!

Buddy has gears. Sunny doesn't really rate well at the lope. Getting slow, medium and gallop isn't a dependable thing - something I really need to work on more. Faster is not a problem, but slowing back down can be interesting. Buddy has all three speeds and a few more, and I had fun experimenting. And he has a great stop. Of course, he's been roped off a fair amount, so that's not a big surprise.

It was fun to ride Buddy, and I'm glad I got the chance to compare - and to ride at all this weekend - but I'm getting kind of anxious to do a bit of riding on my own pony!