Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Getting Ready for Wagon Rides - Seeing Grey(White)!!

Been a LONG TIME!  Figured I might as well kick the dust off this old blog and tell you about some of the fun I'm having.

I got asked to do Christmas Wagon Rides on Park Street again this year.  Rachael is an old lady now and enjoying retirement.  Due to work being busy, Pam is in no shape to be pulling a wagon all night.  I thought I was going to have to turn the offer down.

HOWEVER ... sometimes life puts people in your path that make things possible for you that you couldn't do otherwise.

I met a nice guy named John Stiles.  He's an avid horseman and a hell of a guy.  He happened to have a team of percheron geldings and told me that I could use them if I ever needed/wanted them.  With the request to help with wagon rides looming, I thought of John, and I asked the question.  A quick "yes" came back, and I currently have the horses here at my place.

Introducing Pete and Marty, a fantastic team of Percheron geldings!!!
Pete on the left, Marty on the right

They actually match my trailer!!!

Pete is a big ol' boy.  I haven't put a tape on him, but he's well over 18 hands.  I can't see over his back.  Marty is just a touch taller than my girls.  It's different to have some grey(white) horses around.  I'm used to my chessnut beauties, but I could get used to this.  Pete and Marty are staying with me now so that I can work them and make sure we're all ready for wagon rides.  John even sent them to me with their harnesses and collars.

Step 1 - clean them up a bit.  Draft horses are great because in many cases, you can just pull them out of the pasture and put them right to work.  The only drawback is that you gotta clean them up.  Took  me a bit to brush them out and remove all the cockleburrs, but I got them all groomed up and looking nice.
Free of mud and cockleburrs

Step 2 - harnesses.  We already pre-fit the harnesses when I picked them up, so getting the harnesses back on was cake.  These boys let me slide the collars over their heads without even flinching.  I'm very impressed with them.  
Harnessed and ready for action

Step 3 - get them on the sled.  Horses ground drove perfectly to the sled, backed into position like pros, and stood great while I hooked the tugs up.  Easy as can be.  It was so nice to be driving again.  Been too long since I did it.  The boys stepped out nice and worked well for me.  The only issue I had was that Pete (the big guy) was not stepping into the pull fully, and figiting a bit when I gave them a break.  No pawing or anything like that, but he stepped over his outside tug twice.  I was able to untangle him with ease though.
Marty on the left, Pete on the right

All in all it was a great weekend.  Looking forward to the wagon ride season.  I think these boys are gonna put smiles on a lot of folks places.  This weekend I'll be out on the road with bells on.  If you're around Campbell, that aint Santa you hear.  :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Back behind the lines again!

Howdy from Texas!


Life has been pretty interesting.  I ended up having open heart surgery in July.  All went well and I recovered without complications. 


Now that I’m pretty far along the recovery path, I couldn’t hold off the driving itch any further.  I’m decided that I’m going to try and do the Christmas parade and Christmas wagon rides that I used to do each year.  This means I’m gonna have to get some lazy pasture ornaments into wagon pulling shape!!


I decided I was going to work all 3 horses at the same time just to make things easier.  Well it sure wasn’t easier.  Buck won’t step off.  He can be a stubborn butt just like his momma was.  I had him in the center of the 3 abreast formation, with cross lines from his hames out to the inside bit of the girls on the outside.  This means that when Buck won’t move, the girls step out and then turn into him.  I tried for a while to encourage him to remember what to do, but he just wouldn’t do it.  He wanted to walk behind the girls.  Ended the night without having any actual fun driving.


Next night I decided to just work the girls.  Pam and Rachael are my dream team!  They were a touch rusty, but fell into their old routines very quickly.  We drug the sled around the field for 45 minutes, then I went out on the road for a few minutes.  It was all easy, and fun, and everything I love about driving.  So lucky to have these horses!  I only have one picture from the night, but after a 2 year break in driving, it’s a sight for my sore eyes.  :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Swimming through Spring

It's been a bit so I figured I'd better check in.  Especially so I can show off the barn!  I did get the metal on it and I'm very happy with it!  I still need to finish trimming it out, but it's working great!!  At first the horses wouldn't go near it, but then one day I came home from work and saw both horses just standing in it.  Such a good feeling.  No worse feeling then putting a ton of effort into something, and then feel like the parties  you were supposed to be helping don't give a darn about what you did for them.  :)

Here she is!  I left one section open so that I could feed through it if I needed.

A view from the back.  I did add gutter on this side a few days after this picture.

So there you have it ... Stage 1 of my 3 stage barn is complete.

The baby geese I got earlier this year are now grown.  I think I will miss their baby squeaks.  the goose honks are now loud and present.  Geese are certainly wonderful watchdogs!

7 total geese now thanks to 4 grown babies

This spring has been the wettest I have seen in the 10 years I've lived here.  It rained constantly from April till June.  All the local ponds and lakes are full.  I sure am glad I got the barn done before the April showers hit.  That would have been one mucky mess I would want to avoid.  I think the news said that we have gotten more rain in the first 6 months of 2015, than we did in all of 2014.  It's been WET! 

The Farmer's Almanac
So this January I was at the local Tractor Supply picking up some stuff, and I saw the Farmer's Almanac.  I've seen these for years and never thought anything about them.  This year I decided to purchase one and see what it was all about.  It had some awesome reading in it.  Talked about when to plant crops,  best days to harvest, and all kinds of interesting stuff.  It also talked about the weather.

When I read this in January, it said that we would have a very wet year, with showers all the way into July.  Due to the past 10 years of near drought conditions, I laughed it off.  Well,  look who's laughing now.  That Almanac was right!  Pretty cool to see that it actually forcasted this year pretty good.  From this point forward, I'll be picking one of those up every year!

Last weekend I drove to my friend Bev's house and brought Pam home from her year of broodmare duties.  it was very good to see her and get her home.  Turns out that she is past her breeding years.  She tested positive for a pregnancy 3 times in the past year, but when they went to ultrasound the baby, there was nothing.  The vet found some things that are not ideal, and so it pretty much means that Pam's breeding days are behind her.  She's just going to have to get used to being a work horse now.  :)  I'll try and catch a picture of her.  The horses are currently feasting on my in-laws/neighbors delicious pasture grass and so they don't come back up that often.

I plan on doing as much driving as I can in the next month.  I have some stuff going on towards the end of the summer that is going to limit me and my abilities.  This means I'm going to try to get in my horse fun now, while I'm still up and working well.  I'll post pictures as I do.  :)