November 30, 2015

Ride One Horse and Cool off the Other???

The other day I decided it was time to saddle up and go for a ride on my horse, on my property.  There is still a lot of work that needs to be done but you know, you need to stop and smell the horses sometimes....LOL.  I have a little fenced in "riding area" if you would call it that.  It's next to the stable yard and the eventual plan is to level it out a little more and bring in good substrate to build a decent "arena" type base but that is a ways in the future.

I got Dani tacked up and was happy that even though it's been a while she was a good girl.  Chance was fenced out of the stable yard and "riding area" so a few neighs and whinnies occurred as he was upset his mare was now out of sight.  I rode Dani in the riding area and did my usual turns, stops and backs to assess her compliance.  She was a good girl so I decided that I could try to ride around the property.

Our property is surrounded by easements between neighboring lots so there is the ability to ride in a circle around our complete property, that is if I can eventually get around to trimming up some over grown trees.  I didn't have success with riding the easements so rode on the street and up a the large pathway near our largest pasture.  Some deer were worrisome to Dani on the road but luckily she just freezes but it's still unnerving.  While I was riding Dani outside the property boundaries Chances was full out galloping around the big pasture and neighing like he was being left home alone while Dani and I went to Disney world!  He was gorgeous though so as I walked Dani along the fence line I gazed at him with his flagged Arabian tail high in the air and nostrils blowing.  For someone who gets bossed around a lot by the mare he sure is pretty smitten!

When I brought my girl back to the barn to untack and groom she had her usual sweat marks under the girth area so it was no big deal cleaning her up.  Chance on the other hand had worked himself into an actual lather.  His coat was soaked and around his girth and chest there was lathered areas of sweat and dirt.  Oh my goodness you silly boy!  I groomed him the best I could, and  sponged off the worst areas including his legs to make sure he didn't injure something.  Then since it was getting a little chilly I covered him in a fleece cooler until he was fully dry.

Nothing like riding one horse and having to cool off the other.  Oh my, I never stop getting surprised by critter antics!  I'll try to get a video up of the property sometime soon!  Happy riding!

November 29, 2015

Serene Sunday

Cute Chance loves helping clean and refill the water trough!  :-)

November 16, 2015

Weighing Hay

I've always weighed my grain and tried to with my hay to get a feel for how much to feed.  Once you are familiar with your hay and the flake weights you don't have to weigh every time but it is always good to make sure you are feeding the proper amount.  Horses need from 1.5-2.0% of their weight in forage.

The shipment of bales I purchased are around 30 lbs each.  Yikes.  That is small.  Luckily when the horses still had pasture to graze there wasn't as much of an issue that I wasn't feeding them "enough".  But as I was needing to lean on feeding hay as their main forage I wanted to get the hay weighed.  So I made a hay tote with tarp, wood and rope.

I already have the scale which works nicely with a bucket but it's harder to get the small hook around the two twine ropes of a bale.  The hay tote worked one time, then the ropes broke off.  Ugh.  Instead of going through and trying to make it work I just figured a few bucks and I could get a hay bale carrier.

The one I purchased is from Tough One and very easy to throw the flakes of hay into it, grab the straps, weigh and then carry the flakes to the various locations I leave hay for the horses.  

I make sure to locate hay in several places so boss mare won't run Chance off the hay.  They still seem to eat well next to each other off the initial pinning of ears and deciding who should eat where.  So this wasn't really a good DIY project and I'm sure I could have created another version that actually worked but...I've got enough projects right now!  

November 11, 2015

How to Organize Your Shit

Horses poop, like, A LOT!  At KCRC I just carted my manure to the big pile there and eventually they turned it or carted it off after some time.  Here I have to figure out what to do with all this stuff.  I've only been here two months with one horse and now two but I have still gathered a decent sized pile that we are going to compost.

Composting is great but can be labor intensive when you don't have a tractor with a bucket (eh, hem, yeah we don't have that).  So.....yipee!  Exercise!!  Composting decomposes the material to a nice rich and more usable form for plants.  It has to be done correctly though or you don't get all the benefits you could from this black gold.  The pile has to heat up in order to kill weed seeds and to kill off parasites.  Steve and I composted leaves and grass in the Winston house, rarely turned it but in the end had some dark rich soil with which to amend our yard.  

For the horse's "by-products" I've built three, soon to be four "bins" from pallets and "U" posts.  It was pretty simple to put together, just tap the posts in between the wood pieces and place the next pallet at a 90 degree angle....tap that one in and boom, compost bin.  When the bin starts getting full we'll add a "front" to each bin using a wooden lattice and some more posts to hold that in place.  The plan is to completely fill one up then water it, cover it, turn it a few times and within a couple months sift and spread on our property. While that first pile is heating up and turning into rich compost you start dumping your manure in the next bin until it is full (repeat process). The whole idea is that once all three are full (or better yet even before then) the first bin will be completely composted and ready to use.   

Many horse owners muck manure directly into a manure spreader and spread it on the pasture during a warmer dry period.  This kills parasites and the smaller pieces will still eventually fertilize the soil.  It works best on larger properties it seems. I think with our property being so small composting is a better way to go and definitely less high tech (aka not needing fancy equipment).  We'll still need a spreader but we can use a simple fertilizer spreader vs. a manure spreader.  These are smaller and less expensive.

The bins were easy to set up and I've already seen the manure start to break down in the first one.  We even saw some steam coming from the pile before we tarped it to keep the heat in and the moisture level damp but not soaking.  One does not want pouring rain to percolate through the pile and cause the run off to enter streams or ponds.  We are doing our best to have our horse care be environmentally friendly.

Our large pile of poo that was growing into a large blop, not unlike "Slimer" the famous gross ghost from Ghostbusters, is now neatly organized and becoming something pretty darn awesome.  Yes, I'm excited about horse poop.  I collect the manure from the stable area daily and then weekly from fields the horses have been grazing.  Not an apple is wasted!  But man, this fescue with its rhizomes make forking poo difficult.....I'll be posting on that soon too.  LOL.  

So there you have it.  Simple compost bins made from pallets, what a way to organize your shit!

November 09, 2015

Hay Sourcing

I had finally found a great source for hay in Colorado, Horse Food Bank.  Not that it was the best hay ever but they always had good hay and a portion of the money went to a good cause.  I'm starting over in North Carolina so trying to find a good source here will surely take some time.

A local store didn't have hay located at their store for me to view and it seemed difficult for me to get anyone to tell me how I could take a look at the hay.  I don't like buying sight unseen.  I was getting down to one bale so ended up going to Hurdle Mills Feed to pick up 50 bales of Fescue mix hay.

This place sources hay from various locations and this was a pretty decent source.  The bales are small though only weighing about 30 lbs.  Some maybe more or less.  Interesting.  Is that normal for this area?  It seemed that many of the bales were a little loosely bound too, at least I only had one bale bust open.  I can go back to Hurdle Mills and try another variety of hay when I get low but I'll double check the weight beforehand.  I never expected it to be that small!  Essentially I'm paying $485 per ton!  Yikes!  That's not good.

Anyhow it's good hay and the horses seem to be fine with it.  I don't like the green twine though, too easy to lose that in the hay and accidentally have it end up where it shouldn't!  Who makes green twine????  I got the hay stacked in the feed room all by myself since I did it during the week.  There is certainly more space in the middle once I get some pallets cut properly and if I can stack it higher I think we'll be able to put up at least 75 bales in there while leaving room to move around and access the grain bins.

This first year is going to be a little all over the place while I figure out how best to store the hay here and then how much to put up depending on the state of pastures throughout the year.  That's another thing, we have to work on the pastures.  There are some bare areas and some pretty significant weed infestations we have to deal with in order to get them producing good quality forage.  That will be another post though!

Anyways, I am happy to have some hay for now and will continue to send out feelers for where I should get my next load.

November 08, 2015

Serene Sunday

Promise to make "real" posts soon!!!!

November 01, 2015

Serene Sunday

Our last home had a cute dwarf pine near the front door.  We loved that little thing and named him Piney Pete.....yeah we are weird but if you are just realizing that now you are probably new to this blog.  We didn't want to remove him since we were afraid he wouldn't survive so decided we would get another pine tree for the new house.

Meet Piney Pete II.  He's a very little guy but he is mighty!!!

This rainy sunday morning Steve dug the hole....

And we welcomed our little Piney Pete the second!

I just hope the other plants will be nice to him.