Monday, August 29, 2005

This morning, we awoke to heavy, humid air. It truly felt as if you could wring water out of it. Heading out for chores, I decided that today I would begin teaching Jack that his dam could go away, and yet come back.

First, I haltered Beau, and took him for a walk. Beau was a dream, although I have not been able to actively work with him much, what with all the work that we needed to do. All we did was walk around the pastures, but the whole time, even with Walker calling to him, and Sage and Red rushing to the fenceline to see him, he stayed focused, calm, and head-down relaxed. I was quite pleased by his behaviour.

By then, Guin had finished picking her pasture and I could use the wheel barrow. The pasture that Beau, Glory, and Jack are in is fairly level near the gate, but rises steeply toward the back. Picking the pooh is no easy task in it, but it must be done. As I tramped up and down the hill, searching for piles and flying gnats (they help you spot those piles!), I had sweat just dripping right off of me! I really wasn't using much energy, but nevertheless, because of the humidity, I was drenched in a matter of moments. It has been such an unusual summer here, with high heat and humidity for most of the time. Last week it felt as if autumn was right around the corner, but now we are back right into the thick of a summer we all wish we had left behind. One would think that, as we complain about our winters, we would rejoice with this heat, but not so; we are just not used to these temperatures and humidity. But don't feel sorry for us! We are storing that heat up in our very bones, to help keep us warm when we face our -20F with windchills!!

By the time I was done with my pasture, Glory had worked her way to grazing near the gate, and the two boys were off being buddies and grazing side-by-side. I haltered Glo and led her to the gate, but OH the boys spied us and gave a run toward us! "Nope," I said to them, "It isn't your turn. Glory and I are going for a walk." I rehooked the gate, and turned to walk with her. Glory was quite happy to get away, she stayed relaxed and focused on me and where we were going, rather than on the cavorting, whinneying, neighing behaviour of the two boys left behind. We also simply walked around the pasture, just as I had done with Beau, and I do believe he figured out what I was doing, because at the half-way point Beau settled down and stopped acting like a foal. Jack, on the other hand, kept tearing up and down the hill, and then back and forth in front of the gate. Not once did Glory call out to Jack. I believe that weaning will be much easier on her than on him, perhaps even a relief!

Once we were back, I gave Jack time to reconnect with Glo, and Beau time to tell her just how beautiful she is and how much he missed her, then I haltered Jack and worked on "walk" and "whoa" inside the pasture. He is such a quick study! This is about the third time that I have used my overly dramatized body language to prepare him for walking and stopping, and he is beginning to anticipate the movements. His reward for good work is neck and wither scratches. Oh, but he does love them!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Welcome to the first entry in our newly created Blog. We hope these entries allow you to gain a better insight into our farm life, and glimpse the horsenalities of the special horses we have. American Curly Horses are hypoallergenic, and that is why we have them, as I am allergic to "regular" horses. We purchased our first two horses, Walker and Beau, back in 2001, and the horse way of life has become our lives. Presently we have, not only Walker and Beau, but Glory and Red as our adult horses, Sage (from a mating of Walker and Beau) who is 22 months old, and Jack (from a mating of Glory and Beau) who is just 3 months old.

We moved to this farm in Marshfield just 11 months ago, and this first year has been difficult, with so much that needed to be done. As we move into Autumn, there is still more work, but we have accomplished so much! Our house is as completed as needs be to be comfortable for winter; the arena, while still without lights, will be stocked with both 1st and 2nd cutting hay; and the horses can easily be rotated among 13 pastures until winter sets in. Left to be done before winter are the creation of the winter paddocks (we had taken the ones down we had last year in order to make them better), and the staining of the house exterior.

As summer ends here we look forward to spending more time with the horses rather than for the horses. The seasonal changes will bring crisper mornings, and the smells of the land going to sleep for the winter. We'll experience some rain, shifting from the still warmer summer rains to the colder ones of autumn; and some brilliantly bright days with crystal blue skies. The horses, sensing this change, and the lesser hours of daylight, will begin to grow their thicker, curly coats. This year, with Jack entering his first winter, will be more exciting as we learn what type of curls he will develop. And the cooler weather will bring friskier movements as the horses keep their personal furnaces going.

We hope you check back often to hear what is happening here, and to learn about the changes we experience.