Well, we’re half way through 2017 now, which is positively insane. We’ve just been laying low most of the year. Robin and Kricket have been in a dry lot dieting since Memorial Day weekend and lost a good amount of weight before I turned them out on pasture last week. I would’ve left them in longer, but with the possibility of 4th of July fireworks, I figured they’d be safer in a larger area in case they decided to run. I figure I can always drag them back to the dry lot if they gain too much weight back.
The farm is looking pretty majestic right now due to some serious efforts in cutting all the grass. The guy that cuts my 20 acre hay pasture showed up last week and hit it running as usual. We now have 21 round bales in the barn for winter (6 leftover from last year and 15 from this year). The field didn’t make as many this year where I had horses on it too long in spring (whoops…), but having the free hay is nice even if it isn’t as much as it could’ve been. So now I’ll buy more round bales to put in the upper barn for Copper and Joey for winter.
S also bush hogged down by the hay barn and apartments and made that part of the farm look so much better. After he did that but before the hay was baled, Jason and I took turns bush hogging the corner pasture where Copper, Harley, Highness and now Robin and Kricket are. I didn’t realize how THICK the far part of that field is since I haven’t been out there in a while. Most of my horses run to the gate when I whistle so I rarely have to wade through the grass to go catch them. After the bush hogging, we put both hay spears on the tractor so Jason could put bales in the barn two at a time. 🙂
Honestly this was my first time driving this tractor since Dad was alive. And even then I only drove it once, very slowly from the barn to the house, which isn’t far at all, and with him standing on the step coaching me. The first thing I learned how to drive was our old Ford tractor when I was young…maybe 13 or 14? Safe to say that was a LONG time ago and I’ve forgotten basically everything. So when the tractor needed fuel the other day, I volunteered to keep circling the field while Jason ran to town in the truck to get diesel, surely I could do that much. After a crash course in tractoring, Jason left me to my own devices. It was oddly more fun than I imagined, and not overly complicated. One of my goals for the year is to learn how to drive the tractor so that I can be more self sufficient on the farm. While this was a good first step, I’m more worried about the things that requite multi-tasking such as driving the tractor while operating the hay spear or the front end loader. I’m not so great at the two things at once stuff generally…
Poppy continues to be cute and fluffy and basically like a dog who follows me everywhere for scratches. She’s bigger than Russell now, so I think it’s safe to say she’s going to be a “big” donkey like her mama. She is easily going to be a lap donkey like Emma and Russell though. She doesn’t have her mother’s standoffish nature at all, which is nice.
Joey is continuing to grow and impress me. He’s so handsome that I’m kind of in shock. ha. Sorry Paige…but I didn’t know what to expect as far as visualizing her ability to produce, so it is pretty insane how good looking he is. Daddy’s genes certainly were allowed to shine through.
Joey will end up being weaned sooner than I originally planned. He’s three months old now, and sometime in the next two weeks Paige will be hauled to a friend’s house to fatten back up on her pasture.
What’s the rush? Well, Joey is sucking Paige dry…and I’m feeding her a ton. She gets free choice hay plus 7lbs (I think) of Omolene Growth a day. That may not sound like a lot to some people, but Paige is a super (SUPER) easy keeper and generally gets zero grain. So it’s safe to say that she’s enjoying this part of her life with being given all the food and not ridden…
And speaking about that not ridden part…I kind of signed us up for a clinic at the end of the month…so theoretically we should be doing some riding…right? I’ve had a couple of walk trot rides on her. I can’t justify pushing her to lope much since she needs weight and since magically it rains every night before I ride her and I don’t want her to slip. So I’ve been patiently waiting on her to gain some weight before I push her harder, but I also know that it’s Paige and that if I get her weight where I want it, she’ll very likely perform the same at the clinic whether or not she’s been worked much between now and then.
My only concern with the clinic is that she’ll resist cantering, which is our biggest issue. She never does anything naughty, but just power trots and laughs at me while I try to get her in the canter. I’m hoping that a) being in an arena with footing will help and b) I’ll be under the advisement of an instructor while riding her for the first time in ages, so I’ll have some moral support.
The clinic is a ranch riding clinic in the morning and a cow work clinic in the afternoon. Since we’ll be coming back into riding, cow work isn’t something we plan to attempt at this point, though the friend who is hauling us (and who talked me into this…) will be doing the cow portion as well as the ranch riding, so I intend to watch her rides to learn from auditing the cow portion. I’m completely clueless about cow working, so watching seems like a good first step for me.
Initially I was going to take Joey along to the clinic and leave him tied on the side of the trailer/convince a friend to hand walk him for the clinic, but then I found out that the clinic lasts for four hours and realized that that would be a stretch on any baby’s patience (and that I’d pity my hand walker immensely), so I asked a few people about weaning him at a little over three months and everyone agrees that he’s developmentally ready to be weaned. He’s eating and drinking independently, can be brought into the barn and tied mostly quietly, and doesn’t miss Paige when she’s out of sight if he has food to distract him. I’m sure there will be a few days of crazy for a while, but hopefully he’ll remain intelligent and won’t injure himself. I don’t think that his age would change his reaction to her disappearance even if we waited until he was older, and the way he eats, I’m certainly not worried about it stunting his growth.
So fingers crossed that all goes well. I’m looking forward to getting back to riding Paige, and seeing how Joey develops as an individual after being weaned. There are lots of changes happening this summer it seems; I’ve been eating healthier for that fitness program that I mentioned…sometime previously…and between the healthy eating and the workouts, I’ve lost 15ish pounds in three weeks. I figure I’ll need to be in shape to keep Paige in the canter, so the timing for all of this is working out nicely. 😉