Beginning of 2016 in review

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Sid in the tree and little golden Henny in the hut

I once shared that for some reason “even” years are not my friend.  It always seems during even years things seem to pop up more often than normal to give my world a little shake!

Shortly after the new year we lost our little Bantam rooster, Sid.  One day he seemed to stop crowing but was eating and still enjoying his roaming time outside.  The next day he was in rough shape and died a few hours later.  Two days later his closest companion, also a bantam hen, Henny, who was born and raised on our farm for 8 years died during the night after showing no signs of a problem.  UGH…I was prepared for the worst with something going through our flock and cleaned as much as possible in the winter.  Luckily it’s been 3 weeks and the regular size hens are all healthy.

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Two weeks ago one of the horses started showing signs of pain in his hooves. After a vet visit and X-rays he has a broken tip of his coffin bone in one of the hooves and he is foundering with a possible pituitary issue.  He has special wooden shoes on and is taking all sorts of medication.  He’s on rest but his brother comes and eats with him to keep him company.

The boy has been sick all week with a cold, sore throat and now cough but there have been some bright spots.

The ice pond finally has frozen and we have had many visitors and fun skating!

The boy finally learned how to blow a bubble and the Teen Queen’s basketball team is undefeated for the season and has won the Catholic Schools Varsity girls Championship!!

Here’s to more bright spots in 2016!!

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Mom and Dad Trail Ride

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After a nice cold winter there is still enough chill in the air to keep the bugs away for now.  This is the perfect weather to ride.  Today the man and I had the opportunity to ride together for the first time this season.

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The horses were tacked up and we headed down the trail

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Took a quick trail ride selfie

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And everyone made it back to the barn to enjoy the rest of the evening

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And in time for softball practice and to cook dinner 🙂

It’s all about the tools

Having the right tools in the barn is just as important as having them in the kitchen!!  Here are some of my “must have” tools in my horse barn.

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I keep a scrub brush and empty bucket for cleaning out the water buckets in the stalls.  I scrub them and empty them to refill with fresh, clean water.  I have an orange hose that is heated.  I plug it in when I enter the barn and by the time I am done with stall cleaning and other chores in the chicken and goat houses the hose is ready to fill the water buckets.

The blue fish net is an EVERYDAY item.  I use it to clean the water in the buckets on days that I am not emptying them and just refilling.  They catch all the little bits of hay or grain that may have fall in into the buckets.

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You just swirl the net around and the water is free of any debris and fresh.

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I have scissors and wire clippers hanging at the doorway to cut open hay twine or quickly nip/repair any part of the wire goat and chicken fencing.  Having them at your finger tips when you need them is a great feeling.

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Last year I asked for a tool box for my barn.  This is MINE only.  It is off limits to the kids and the man of the house.  I keep a hammer, screw drivers, wrench, and all different size nails for any little projects I need to do in the barn.

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Those projects include hanging pictures and items that make me happy.  I love this oil barn painting that was found in a house after someone purchased it.  It’s signed Adele 1956.  I painted the frame black and love seeing it every morning when I am in the barn.  The blue framed picture is one I bought at an antique shop many years ago. I have no idea who it’s by but love the picture imagining it’s a soldier returning after a long time away and getting reacquainted with his woman.  And last the old license plates from my parents, lanterns found in the woods and an old fashioned beater.  I feel right at home in my barn.

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A staple gun is another handy tool for those days the wind is coming in the cracks of the doors.  You can easily plastic them with a quick staple to the corner of a sheet of plastic.  Plastic bins for important items such as paper, pens, leg wraps, injury wraps, etc.  keep the items free from dust.

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Felt blankets purchased at Walmart for $5.00 each work great at covering the saddles again keeping them free from dust and dirt and easily removed when getting ready to ride.

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Bucket rakes and muck carts are another fabulous invention.  They make picking stalls a breeze.  I also keep a few around in case one breaks or for when someone else is helping (after you forced them) to clean stalls.

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And last, but certainly no less important, is a baseball cap for those days you get stranded in the barn when it starts pouring!  It helps keep the rain or snow out of your eyes when emptying buckets, bringing in all the animals or making a mad dash to the house.

These items sure make my job easier and assist in keeping me happy in my barn 🙂

My heart and soul horse

This is Bailey (registered name Mason D. Brown).  He was the first horse I bought after my horse of 19 years had to be put down at the very old age of 36.   I swore I would never get another horse after Sugar because it was so hard to let him go.   But as fate would have it, Bailey stole my heart and I had to have him.

It’s been 13 wonderful years!!  I have added 2 more to the herd over the years but I am forever thankful to Bailey for bringing me back into the horse world.

Heading out to feed them all now 🙂

Night Lesson

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Chase, Bailey and me!!

My heart skipped a beat when my daughter came home from cheer practice and said “I need to ride mom”.  I could not saddle up the horse fast enough. 

You see my children do not carry the same yearning for horseback riding as I did at their age.  They have been around horses since birth and sometimes I wonder if that is why.  I did not get a horse until I was 10 and felt like I missed out on many years of riding so I spent every waking moment with that horse.  I have trained under a few different horse trainers and I train horses.  But I am not as relaxed and laid back as my mother.  I think of all the bad things that could happen and was very strict on their riding forcing them to behave and worrying about the horse reacting if they were too nervous or explaining what their fast actions could cause the horse to do.  So you see, it was my fear feeding their fear.  So when I try to push them to ride more, I have to remember it was my fear that pushed them away in the first place.

I have given lessons to many children.  Our horses have shown in the local shows and Bailey in his younger days could not be beat.  He is a teacher and a true show horse in every sense of the word.  He knows his job and would teach the kids I was giving lessons to or having show him.

My kids do ride and they ride well but not as often as I would like.  They clean stalls and do afternoon feedings of the animals during the summer and on weekends.  They brush, fly spray, and bathe the horses.  But I would like them to eventually show our horses at the Fair and in local horse shows and enjoy the things I could not as we did not have the funds when I was growing up.

So that explains why I was so happy to hear those words tonight.  And I gave Chase a great lesson and she was happy to be able to ride around on her own for an hour before it was too dark and getting very chilly for her barefeet!!  Maybe this will be the start to her inner “horse” calling 🙂

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squaring her shoulders and staying straight

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Working on rein hold for showing