Saturday, April 24, 2010

4-H Saturday

So, today was my boy's first 4-H meeting.

I don't know much about it, since, when I was a child I never once went to one. I never showed. I never saw good reason to. Most of the kids that I knew that showed their horses were giant pains, and I wanted as little to do with them as possible, so with my little kid logic, I assumed that all of the kids that showed were giant pains in the butt, and there was nothing I was missing by trail riding my horse bareback all over the county while the show kids were primping in their covered arenas & backyard show rings.

I still pretty much hold to this viewpoint.

But, I don't necessarily blame the kids as much anymore. That's growin' up I guess. But, that's neither here nor there.

I was talking about my boy's first 4-H encounter. He is in a small group of kids, most of them teenagers - pretty nice teenagers, in fact. There are two other kids that will be doing leadline classes with him this summer. One is the daughter of a friend. Both girls share the same first name. AND the same spelling of it. It's going to be an interesting summer. Oh, and he is, of course, the Only boy in the whole group.

Today, they learned about showmanship. We brought Champ, since I knew he could handle him, and I wanted him to be able to participate. So, of course, for the first time in a long time, Champ did not want to cooperate. Go figure.

He wanted to roll. A lot. What can I say? He's itchy. Like this fella here....

It was even more impressive when Little guy put old pony in his place. He wasn't going to have any misbehavior on the pony's part. When Champ misbehaved, he gave it to him with the chain on the lead. Every. Single. Time.

Boy's got it down. No misbehavin'. He won't have it. He did pretty good. Next up, he gets to work with his new pony .... Cinnamon. Yep, he picked her name.

Oh, and soon, Champ gets shaved. Got to fix all those itches he's got buggin' him.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Hate It When They Grow Up So Fast!!!

This is my little guy leading his old man pony. All alone, he's in control. No chain.
It makes me so proud. He rides him in the round pen without any help. AH! My little cowboy!
Does my heart goood.
And it doesn't.
Just because, all that really means is that he doesn't need me quite so much anymore.

Until, the pony is tied, and the pony gets to eyeballin' him. The boy gets nervous. He has to come straight to me. Not that I'm complaining.
He's got his first 4-H meeting this weekend. It's awesome. He will be the boy of the group. I have warned him about it - he says he's cool with being the only boy there. We'll see how it goes.
Lead line for him this year. Don't want to go spookin' him off. Oh, and his soon to be new pony doesn't necessarily 'ride' just yet. She will be fine for lead line by fair for sure. Nearly there now, but not for him alone with no help. Nope. That's what the old man is for.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is it really that hard to measure a horse??

No. No, it's not that hard to measure a horse, unless of course, you have been imbibing on too many adult beverages.
So why is it that so very many horse people seem to have no clue as to how to measure their horse for sale? Or, should I say, the horse they're selling for their brothers' friends' sisters' neighbor.
I think it's just laziness, or just plain stupidity. It's not hard. The toughest part is making sure your measuring device is plumb (that's square 2 different ways) and that the horse is squared up and on a level surface. They even sell these handy dandy devices - some of them even have little bubble levels built right in so you know you're getting the right number!

All ya have to do, is measure from the highest point of the withers to the ground. Like so ...

Here it is in plain black & white - top of the withers ..... to the ground.....

After that, it's just a matter of simple math. Divide by 4, and whadda ya know - BOOM! That's how tall your horse/pony/ass is. lol. So, if your horse is 44 inches tall - he's 11hh. If your beloved grade arab/appaloosa is 57 inches at the top of the withers, she's 14.1hh. Oh, so - .1? What is that? Well, it's an inch. A hand is 4 inches, and anything between hands is expressed as .1, .2, or .3. There is no such thing as 15.4 hh. Or, 13.5hh for that matter. The .5 is, I belive someone trying to say 'half a hand' but it don't jive that way.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been told how tall a horse is only to go look at it, and find that no, it's not a horse, it's a pony.... 14.2hh(58" - that's just shy of 5 feet! at the withers!!) is the breaking point between the animal in question being considered a pony or a horse and, well - even that is debateable from one area of the country to the next.
I know it's a long way around, but for the sake of the sanity of most people that have half a clue, measure the horse before you tell someone how tall it is. If they really want a horse that 16hh, and you tell them yours is 16.2, but measures out in reality at 14.3 - don't be all shocked & shaken when the people that came out to look get ticked off and just leave.
It's irritating & misleading to the potential buyers.

NOW, after having gotten that all off my chest - I do have a horse up for sale, and have no idea how tall she is. But, I don't claim to know. I will one of these days take the time to haul my arse out, square her up & measure her. Probably tomorrow, in between messin' with pony, riding Velvet, and irritating the younglings... I'll update ya on a post just about her.

Thanks so much for letting me get that out. I was gettin' a burn on.

Another sign of spring time ... comtemplating puppies.

It has been a few years since we had a litter of puppies on the farm. The golden litter that was born on Brett Favre's birthday have all grown up and become pretty respectable good citizens - doggy wise, anyhow.
Longer ago than that, though - was the Old English pups. We have never bred for money. We spend far too much feeding, washing, training & spoiling the pups to ever make any. Not to mention the toys and collars we go through while we search for new homes and keep all the different pups properly identified for each & every new pup mom & dad.
But, there is little that makes me smile like watching them grow up & learn. It helps that my little guy is a great helper, and will donate time towards playing with all the new pups - with the sole exception being the one that will nip at him relentlessly. We handle the pups from day one.

Very delicately, mind you. We try to weigh them from time to time, and check them over for any problems. By the time they open up their eyes, they're pretty easy to deal with already, and are not alarmed by people at all.

It isn't long at all before they get lots of time in an outdoor puppy playpen. They love it - they soak up the sun, play, eat, poop (move the cage) play more, all the while with kids playing with them in & out of the pen, and me being paranoid about hawks (hey, it could happen!)
Of course, they learn to come when they're called - and what's more fun than getting mobbed by a whole litter of pups, I ask you - what??
Of course, once in a blue moon, we end up holding one or two for an extra little while so their new homes can get properly ready for them. That's when the personality really shines. Like this little girl here. She LOVED to sleep with her head straight up in the air. I can tell you, she started this very early, not too long after her eyes opened. As far as I know, she still does it, too.
The only danger, of course, is having your darling son ask if he can keep one. Sadly, he didn't bring it up until all the pups were spoken for, and I could not call up any one of the happy new fams and say 'oh, well, you know that pup you fell for? well - change of plans'. No, that wasn't going to happen. So, we had to search for one ourselves. And, we ended up with Cupcake. She is 3 this year. And now, we wonder - is it time for one single litter of puppies from Cuppy?
The boy can't help it. It's in his blood. Lovin' these goofy dogs. Lord knows I grew up with the same breed. My whole childhood I cannot remember having another kind of dog. It was always an Old English Sheepie. Always a female. Always named Muffy. You'd have to ask my Mom why they were all Muffy, but they were. She(they) would follow us when we trail rode on horseback, or with the 3 wheelers (yes, I know they don't make them anymore. Bite me). Watch us play on the playset. Follow us in general all over the farm, and anywhere we wandered off to. She loved us, and we loved her. They are wonderful family dogs. But good lord, the hair. I'm going to be shaving Cuppy for the summer. I will decide then if she should have some pups, but my gut says 'not just yet'.
Oh, and here is me, circa 1983. With Muffy, of course.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Morning Stroll

Took the camera with me to do morning chores - there are some green things finally poppin up around here, and I wanted to get a few halfway decent snapshots.
Of course, the animals were not feeling very photogenic this morning, so I skipped that and went to flowers. They have little choice but to be photgenic. They don't get moody, or distracted because I just fed them, and food is oh, so important to fat sassy horses, chickens & even wild geese that won't keep the hell out of my pasture. Rotten geese. I hate them so.

Sorry. Got caught up for a sec. Where was I? Oh... right. Flowers. Well, Daffodils are blooming, and starting to go past their blooming time even. Hyacinths are lovely, but when there are cats & a teenage boy that make a point of trying to trample them throughout the rest of the year, well. . . they don't fare so well.
Lucky for me, the cherry blossoms are out. In full force, too. I liked this one best out of those that I snapped.

BUT, while checking out the bee hives (pretty sure they are kaput) I was stunned to see this little bugger smiling at me next to the fence.

Yes, yes, YES!!! I love lilacs! I can't wait to have them in full bloom so I can pick a few and let them 'stink' up the house. :) One of my favorite stinks.
Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

'Round & 'Round & 'Round We Go ...

This is the part that makes me a little sad. My little boys' little pony is not quite enough for him. I love this pony. He's my little friend. He's a sweet old man, with a heart of gold. I have never met such a good fella, but my boy is supposed to go to fair, and well, Champ just isn't up to it. So, with a very heavy heart, we have put Champ up for sale. I am praying that he finds a home that will love him as much as we have. He gave my little boy some confidence, and taught him a little about horses. He snuggled my boys (the baby too), my nieces, and even my teenage nephew isn't afraid of him - an he is terrifed of horses for some unknown reason.
Yes, we will certainly miss the shaggy ol' fella. He tends to snuggle on little kids, or even just go stand by him. I have no idea what corner of heaven he came from, but I sure am glad that my older boy's first horse was such a great one.
I am so going to miss moments like this:

Yes, he's calm enough for my little guy to lead alone, and the boy's got the confidence to make him behave on line. (notice the boots)
But more than that, I will miss moments like this one:

He insisted on bringing his pony his 'dinner', and then sat down right next to the grain bucket so he could talk to him. I don't know what he told him, but he kept petting him & loving on him. Just looking at that picture makes me a little sad. It's almost as bad as when we sold my first horse. I was heartbroken. I don't know how Larry will handle seeing Champ move on to a new home, but - I don't think he'll have too much of a problem. I sat down and talked it over with him before hand. I was prepared for tears, anger & rage. I was so NOT ready for total calm, and a response of 'Ok. As long as Champ will be happy.' WOW. What a level headed, mature kid. He knows he's getting a different pony - still not 100% SURE on which one, but he's alright with letting the pony move on while he does the same. It's mindblowing to me. I will post more on the new pony when the choice is cemented, and we've got a name. Right now, I am being very sentimental over my little old man friend & his sweet little pony face.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Bunnies are Always Welcome Here!

First of all, let me say that around here, no matter the weather, irregardless of holidays, visitors, you name it - every day is more or less the same. There are reasons for this. Generally, most of those reasons center around the livestock, and dogs. But, that's alright with me. I don't need extra fanfare for holidays, it is a pleasant reminder that no matter how overly anxious everyone gets, chores still need to be done, animals need to be fed, and life - no matter what - goes on.

With that in mind, my Easter started out like any other morning. First things first, even before the kids get up, the horses must be fed - and they got their Easter breakfast laced with barley, carrots & apples. I also discovered through my pictures that my 3 girls always stand in this order when they are together. ALWAYS. (please notice the 'silvering' in Little Dona's mane - more on that next post.)

Then after the goat & chickens have been fed, it's up to the house to say good morning to Ma, Dad, & Gramma. Take a peek at the flowers along the way ...

This morning, it was double check that the bunny had brought a basket for both boys (we did no Easter egg hunt this year - we rarely do) and start with the cooking/making sure everything was done for the Easter dinner. Grab a cup of coffee, head up to my little family & load up them & all that I had made & come downstairs, camera in hand to catch the fun the boys would have.

It took this little guy some time to dive in, but once he did .... well, he was still pretty darned delicate. Check out the marshmallow egg action there.... notice the fingers!!

The big boy ended up only having eyes for the squirt gun initially. He did nibble some chocolate & dance around (still learning to take action shots, so the ones I did get I was not happy with, so you can't see them *nyah!*
It wasn't until later last night that he really got into snugglin' on his bunny, and then he was quite concerned as to how he would ever tell the difference between his & his brothers'.

Aside from the stuffing, all I really had to offer this Easter was cupcakes. Why have a cake when you can have a cupcake? Not all of them were fancy pantsy though. Most were quite simple, but I just HAD to make some pretty ones!!!

In short, I sure hope everyone had a great Easter! Ours was quite laid back, relaxed and homey. Just like I like em to be. It was good company, well behaved sugared up little boys, and in the end everyone probably overdid it, but had fun doing it! How did your Easter pan out?