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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Good Fences Make Good Neighbours

If you live in the country for any length of time it's bound to happen... livestock gets out, either yours or someone else's. Not a huge deal if it's dealt with properly and promptly. But when it's not, oohhh man!  Get ready, grab a snack, this is a bit long-winded.

There is a farmer/rancher in the area that is fairly notorious for his cattle getting out, we'll call him BN.  We've been here for 4 years now; first year no problem, second year one got into our horse pasture once and he promptly came and picked it up, last year nothing and then this year... it's gone from a minor inconvenience to a problem.  And I think that's part of his issue, he's been here "forever" and we're "new".  But I know for a fact we're not the only ones having issues with him as he rents & owns several pastures in the area and other people are having the same problems with him.

For the story below a five year old I drew you a little "map" (I apologize, my Paint skills are sorely lacking
Here is the key to the map:  Large purple shape is main horse pasture, green shape is the cow pasture.  Blue rectangle is a hay field (with a closed gate to the cow pasture).  The little grey square is the hay barn, the brown square is the pen with gates that open into the cow & horse pastures, where the horses come in for water (the cows have a waterer in their pasture).  The white space to the right of the pen and below the horse pasture is part of my small horse pasture.  Keep those fuzzy red & orange lines in mind, I'll get to them in a moment!



I went to do chores one night and my cows were making quite the racket.  A couple of the calves were small enough to have gotten under the hotwire so I thought maybe some mommas were upset.  I used the little flashlight on my phone and did a quick head count and everyone was there, and then I heard a snorty sound behind me... I turned and there was a strange cow in the small horse pasture!  No horses were currently in there so I didn't worry about it, I just figured one of BN's cows had gone through the fence. That fuzzy red line is the shared fenceline. 
The next morning I went to check and the steer had crawled through into the horse pasture.  I got him moved into the pen and called BN... he came and got him a couple days later.

This sort of thing has happened repeatedly this spring/summer. 

The last few times his cattle would get into my horse pasture and then crawl the fence right into my cow pasture.  BN took longer and longer to come and get them.  Then the worst part happened... his darn cows broke through my cow fence and took my cows with them, right into the hayfield, they broke the fence where the little, fuzzy, orange line is.
I was at my limit, not only were his cattle eating my grass (and my cow pasture isn't big, I don't have grass to spare) but we also were wanting to put our bull out soon and I have automatic waterers so it was literally costing me money to have his stock here.

The last time before this that BN's cattle had been here I had been less friendly than normal and I told him that he really needed to do something about this, maybe improve the fence.  And yes, this was HIS responsibility in my eyes seeing as MY animals were respecting that shared fenceline and staying where they belonged.  He kept giving lame excuses as to why they were getting out... and it wasn't just into my pasture, at night you drive slower down my road and the surrounding ones knowing that there's a good chance some of BN's cattle are out in the ditch/on the road.

So anyway, this last time when all the cattle were out (except our bull, poor Baxter was bellerin' up a storm from his pen though!) the Hubster and I were on our own to round everyone up.  Hubster took the quad, I grabbed Voodoo and we got it done -- pretty proud of us and VERY proud of Voodoo, man oh man did he work those cows!  (really wish he could work like that at penning and sorting but I guess he knows when it really counts and when it's a "game") 
After the deviants were penned I called BN, got his voice mail and left a message stating that his cattle had gotten out, wrecked our fence and took our cows & calves with them.  He needed to pick them up NOW and he better bring fencing tools.  Whattaya know, who pulls into the yard with a little black truck (no trailer) about 15 minutes later to 'make sure they were his cows'.  Really?!  I had left a message over a week ago that they were here, and the day before I had called again leaving a message telling him he had until sundown the next day to collect his cattle. 
(dangit, they got out the next morning!)
Well he couldn't deny they were his, especially with those brands haha!  He was back about 20 minutes later and got them loaded then I walked him to the pasture and showed him the broken electric wire and smooth wire.  BN and his brother fixed the fence and after they left Hubster and I put our mommas & calves out.  Hubster went to work and I went riding with friends.
We got back and who was in the hayfield... my girls and their babies.  I was soo mad but also grateful my friends were with me, we got them rounded up and in a pen.  Poor Lefta, she's not a big fan of cows and she had to work them, and not in the confines of an arena but out in the wide open where she had to w.o.r.k. lol
I checked the fence, it was all up but for some reason there was no *zap* to it.  Hmmm
On his day off Hubster and his buddy went to put up another wire and check the ground and that's when they found it... that jerk BN and his brother had wrapped the electric wire around fence posts instead of tightening it properly, it was grounding out!  I was so mad I could spit! 
Funny, once the guys fixed the fence PROPERLY it's worked fine and the girls, babies and Baxter are all contentedly munching away on the grass and staying put **knock wood**
I really need to look into what my rights are in this situation should it happen again, because I'm not really wanting to keep them in my pens or pastures any longer.
You may have noticed I've been referring to Hubster in this post.  Pie & I are still together, I've just renamed him ;)

Good cows!!
**edit to add, those trees in the background? 
The shared fenceline is right behind them, they're further away than they look**

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Smokin' Fast hahaha

Okay, so actually NOT smoking fast. :p

We had our second double header jackpot at our place this past Monday and gave Lefta the night off and just rode Voodoo.  I hadn't rode him in the first one because he had a fresh cut.  Considering he's running and playing in the pasture and it's healing well I didn't feel too badly about entering him this time.  What I did feel badly about is he is sooo out of shape after a couple weeks on pasture without any riding.

Since I knew there was no hope at all of a competitive time and we just needed a jackpot the only game plan was to work on his gate antics and tune our pattern.  He could cruise through the barrels however "fast" he wanted, heck he could walk/trot if that's what he did nicely lol

I am lucky enough to have a fairly large outdoor arena, the pattern at my place is a full set... standard size pattern, standard distance timers to barrels, standard size timers to gate.  I joked that I'd be happy with anything faster than 25.0 ;)

Our first run he threatened to pop up a bit when I went to go in the arena.  I just kept my hands forward and squeezed my legs asking for forward and suddenly in he went (although he felt a little pissy about it).  Our "run" was okay.  *I* really need to work on ME and second barrel though.  We just loped through and our time was 24.31 haha

I mentioned to my friend KD that I may need help getting in on my second run and she laughed and said "Do you just want me & Tiz to ride up behind him again?" and that's when I found out she rode toward us when he started farting around and we joked Voodoo must have thought "I don't want to deal with those blondes" lol 

My second run came and KD was off to the side visiting so I tried going in on our own and what do you know... he went in just fine!  Again I rode with my hands forward, squeezing with my legs and thinking *forward*  and we walked quickly toward the gate.  He had a brief moment when he hesitated and I thought he'd skitter off or threaten to pop but instead he picked up a trot and swung into the arena without any helpers :)
This run was smoother, funny how going in nicely can do that ;) again I just let him cruise through but we picked up our time a bit... to a blazing 23.46 lmao

For the record, the fastest times for the day were 18.38 on the first run and 18.22 on the second.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bid Denied

I'm sure all y'all know by now... California Chrome didn't manage to make history and become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown.  I'm not going to comment here on whether or not I think his injury out of the gate is what cost him the race*.  Instead I want to touch on sportsmanship and tradition.

Steve Coburn, Chrome's co-owner was quite... expressive... in his post race interview.  Matter of fact he came across as throwing a tantrum.  I passed it off as a passionate owner expressing his feelings in the heat of the moment (I'm sure I'd be less than gracious in the same situation).  However if the follow up stuff I'm seeing online is true he's just a real poor sport.

Going into a bid for the Triple Crown you KNOW the deal.  You know there are horses that raced in the Derby and not the Preakness, or possibly neither the Derby nor the Preakness.  However that doesn't mean the whole field has rested... shocking but there are other races on the TB calendar ;)  One thing is certain though, you know your horse will be facing fresher horses.  Ranting and raving that it's a coward's way out is not very classy.  Also, for the guy that's been doing all the PR, not too smart.  Also let's not forget his horse isn't the only one that ran all three races (hello Ride On Curlin and General A Rod)

Those that are saying only horses that have raced in all three should be able to compete is, IMO, ridiculous.  Trainers & owners choose which races to enter depending on their horse's talent and health. 
It also reflects the "everyone is a 'winner'" way that children are being raised now.  Guess what, not everyone wins and when you grow up and step out into the big ole world without ever having to lose or take a hard knock, or stretch yourself to find out what it takes to better yourself instead of everyone getting a participation ribbon, it's a huge adjustment.

Claiming that your horse has a target on it because it's going for the Crown is also pretty stupid, although yes it probably does.  However time and time again other horses have had "targets" on their back because of how dang good they are.  Google Phar Lap and see how even the stewards tried to take him out.  Talk to people that have worked in the industry and listen to stories about boxing horses in on the rail.  How many horses have been taken out of the winner's circle due to interference?
Bottom line, target or not, it's racing.  You only get paid if you win and it's not cheap to own, train and care for those horses so guess what, you're going to try to win (although I have no illusion that some horses are entered as sacrificial lambs to make things easier for stable mates).
IMO the only way to make it *fair* for everyone would be to have the horses run in lanes like human runners do.  No changing lanes, no bumping/interfering, a staggered start so everyone goes the same distance. (somehow I'm sure even that would have people crying "unfair")

The Triple Crown isn't officially a series of races as in a closed series or set, which is why horses can enter any of the races and don't have to compete in all three.  Guess what, it wasn't even called the Triple Crown until approximately 1930 (guess what, the first horse to win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont was Sir Barton in 1919.  Yep, before it was even known as the Triple Crown). 
Tradition and history have made the Triple Crown what it is.  Every.other.horse that has won the first two races has faced the same thing Chrome faced.  It's part of what makes winning the Crown such an accomplishment and why the Belmont is known as the test of champions... to be able to win all three races, in such a short span, finishing with the longest most grueling run, against horses that may be fresher.

Again just my opinion here, if "the rules" were to change and the only horses running are ones that have entered all three... well heck any of those that win that new Triple Crown wouldn't be able to be compared to Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed!

* For the record, while I would have LOVED for there to be a new Triple Crown winner I had serious doubts that it would happen.  Chrome didn't seem to finish the Preakness very strong and it looked like Ride On Curlin would have caught him if there had been any more distance*

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Small world, Fate, Coincidence

It is indeed a small world, and fate/coincidence have been in play lately...

Take for instance Carlos! the newest addition to our herd.
I was killing team before our team penning AGM and happened to see an ad on a bulletin board advertising a free donkey to an approved home.  Turns out Carlos had been rescued by the couple (LJK) we bought our acreage from and they had him far enough along to rehome him (Nell & I decided to make his name officially Carlos! with the exclamation point cuz that's how we roll lol)

Nell went with me to pick up Carlos! and while we were chatting it turned out the lady (LK) was looking for some laying hens but wasn't having any luck finding any.  Well *I* just happened to have gotten some new hens but I had a few more than I wanted, so we made a deal and she was going to come buy the rest of them!  Perfect timing too because I wanted to move the older hens out of the redneck coop so that I could move the youngsters into the redneck coop.
It sure was neat visiting with LJK when they came to pick up the hens.  We walked around and showed them the changes we had made, got some more history and info about things from when this was their place and had a good visit.

Then Saturday night L'il Bit had her kittens!  (sometime between 2:15pm when I went to work and 12:30am when I got home)  By Monday all her babies have homes waiting for them... less than two days old and without even trying to find homes!  Although Pie is trying to convince me to keep one instead of giving it away lol

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Peaceful transitions

My laying flock numbers had gotten down to 7 "regular" hens (2 ISAs, 2 Amers, 3 Amer crosses) and 2 bantam hens, plus my 2 roosters (1 Amer, 1 Wyandotte)
I was in need of more hens and managed to get some young stock (5 Buff Orpington, 5 Amer cross, and 2 Cream Legbars) and 10 "barnyard mix" mature hens. 
Thanks to Stephanie's article about introducing new hens I was able to add the four mature hens I'm keeping into the flock with no muss no fuss (I'm selling 6, I had to take them all and I only wanted 4 or 5)
Last night before everyone tucked themselves into bed I caught the four hens I wanted and put them in a large dog crate.  Then around midnight I took them and put them on roosts in the coop with the existing flock. 
Today when I went out to do chores they were happily mingling with the flock, eating, drinking, sunbathing, resting in the shade and dustbathing.  It's like when everyone woke up today they looked at each other and said "oh hey, I guess you've been here all along" lol
Here are the new ladies...


I couldn't get a decent pic of this little black hen, this is the best one and she's with the two roosters...
I'll admit, this pretty girl is my favourite ;)
And speaking of peaceful, Carlos! is now in the same pen as George and Rootbeer.  Other than an occasional reminder to toe the line from Rootbeer things are quite peaceful there too :)