The weather continues mild, loving this summer as we've only had a few days in the triple digits. It really feels like Fall weather, so I'm wondering if we're going to have an early winter. Many of my older horses have been 'hairing up' since early August.
I did take a few photos of the foals over the weekend - not very good as usual - lots of blurs, half horses and noses!
(sired: Wesco Farms Buckerowdyroo x dam: Las Doradas Blazing Beauty)
Chaos and Bruiser playing
I didn't get a photo of Rose, or at least not one that I would post!
Earlier today, I had asked on Facebook how many people weigh their hay? I use to when I had less than 10 horses, but now that we feed in groups I don't, it doesn't make sense. So our actual amount can vary depending on the overall weight and quality of hay. The hay we have now is very dense, thin stemmed and just lovely versus the end of season that has been stored can be a drier and less leafy.
Most of the hay we get is really high quality alfalfa as it's locally grown and our feed store knows what I like in hay - heavy, leafy and not overly dry. My feed distributor tends to buy the hay stored for winter a bit drier than I like, but it's easier for him to store (less risk of mold or combustion, etc). If I had the storage, I would buy in the summer and store, but we can only store about 90 bales of hay - less than two months worth for us - so long term storage has never been a factor.
The other hay we feed is grass hay. Generally mountain pasture, but we do vary it based on the quality available. Again our feed store knows my questions - good quality and soft grass hay for the horses. So we do get rye and orchard grass when mountain pasture isn't available.
I use to buy a mix alfalfa/grass, but as it was all over the board as to percentages, I prefer to buy them separately and feed the mix I want. As we just opened up the former stallion pasture (20 acres), that's been closed off since January, to the mares, they have a quite a bit of busy feed. At least that's what I refer to our pasture as it's pretty crappy at this time of year!
With all the new hills to explore, the mares are only showing up for water anyway. I'm not running water to that pasture, so they're forced to take the hike back here, which gives me the opportunity to check them a couple times a day.
If horses were software..... A letter to tech support
Dear Tech Support,
Recently I purchased and installed Horse 1.0. I soon noticed that this program appears to have numerous glitches. For instance, every time my computer boots up, I have to run Feed 5.3 and Water 7.1. Many times I've been in the middle of writing an important document, and a window will flash telling me to run Clean Stall 2.0. This program also contained applications I did not wish to install, such as Manure 8.5, however they auto-installed with Horse 1.0. Applications such as Vacation 2.7 and Free Time 10.1 can no longer run, crashing whenever selected. Possibly the worst is that Horse 1.0 has attached itself to programs like Finance Manager and MS Money, with folders added such as "Monthly Shoeing" and "Winter Blanket". Periodically, I'll get a reminder telling me to send a check to the manufacturer of Horse 1.0 for the aforementioned items. I have tried to uninstall Horse 1.0 numerous times, but when I try to run the uninstall program, I get warning messages telling me that a deadly virus known as "Withdrawal" will infect my system. Please Help!!!!!
Your complaint is not unusual. A common misconception among users is that Horse 1.0 is a mere "utilities and entertainment program." It is not - it is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its' creator to run everything! A warning will soon be imprinted on the box. Since you have already installed Horse 1.0, here are a few tips on how to make it run better. If you are annoyed by the applications Feed 5.3 and Water 7.1, you may run C: \HIRE HELP, however this will cause another folder to be added to financial applications, labeled "Staff". Failure to send payment to "Staff" will result in Feed 5.3 and Water 7.1 being run again on startup. A note of caution: NOT booting up your computer for several days isn't the solution to avoiding Feed 5.3 and Water 7.1. You will find that, when you boot up your computer again, a nasty virus called "Colic 4.2" will have attached itself to important documents and the only way to rid your computer of Colic 4.2 is by purchasing and installing "Vet 10.1", which we admit is extremely expensive, but crucial. Otherwise, Colic 4.2 will cause irreversible damage to the operating system. Finally, it is important that you run C:\Carrots and C:\Scratch Ears on a fairly regular basis to keep the application running smoothly. If you have any more questions, please call our toll free number.
Nothing like waking up to Litte, Topper, McLuvin and Zydeco cruising the backyard. I'd let them in next to the pool yesterday to do a bit of 'mowing', well apparently the new gate was not Demon worthy. So, found the four of them in the yard; the gate to the front yard is open; no sign of Demon or Ringo.
Weirdly no screaming, "I'm a stallion and the mares are right here either"! Hmmm.
Ringo finally pops his head out of the shelter, apparently he'd missed out on the breakout. I close the gate on him and he's completely put out, once he sees they're in the yard within feet of the mares. Oh well.
Now to get the gang out of the backyard. I spent 25 minutes trying to dislodge the quartet to no avail. The clever use of landscaping, they managed to run circles around me - literally! I finally turned the sprinklers on hoping to corner them close to their exit. No joy. McLuvin cracked a sprinkler head on one of the gallops around the yard, so now I have a geyser in the backyard, and we're all soaking wet while still playing the circle game. Not a good idea the sprinklers.
McLuvin (sire Little behind him covered in mud)
Enough is enough. I dump the water bucket in the backyard, if they get thirsty they'll have to go back to their pen to drink. Hopefully what little landscaping I have will survive them, but they're enjoying seeing my feeble attempts to catch them way to much! Maybe putting their feed out will entice them. Not!!! Fresh grass versus dried alfalfa, no contest with my horses.
Still no sighting of Demon.
I'm fairly certain he wouldn't take off - not with all the mares around. So put hay out for the boys. Feed the hobbler crowd (Woody and Charm), and spy Demon flirting with the mares by the hay barn. I go grab a halter and by the time I get back he's standing at the hay cart, apparently bored with his escapade. Halter him, taking him back in with Ringo when he now notices Topper and Little in the backyard. They're a fenceline CLOSER to the mares! Oh NOES!
Ringo and Demon
Peace is restored, no OMG foals were created, and the boys have drifted back towards their pen.
It's hot. Summer or our second round of actual summer heat hit today. I really shouldn't complain as this has been one of the mildest summer's I can remember in Northern California's hot valley. But the next few days are suppose to be triple digits which I HATE! Especially with the drop into the mid 50's every night.
As for the horses. All are doing fantastic. We had caught Ivan the other day and locked him up as he looked a bit swollen in his privates - nothing wrong just over-weight gelding syndrome. So, threw him back out with the mares along with Ray. We still have Woody locked up, as he's just not putting on weight and his feet still look suspiciously like he'd like to founder. So grass hay, a handful (literally!) of alfalfa and we've let him in our backyard to what passes as my lawn to mow.
Woody and Ray our pet geldings
Silhouette, my gaga mare gets away with murder. She ate at least 25 peaches off this tree, evidence was there from all the pits she left behind. She went after the roses next and was booted from the yard!
Charm and Lalique seem to be improving weekly, they're actually walking fairly well without any pain, or at least not hobbling like they were in May. Lalique has fallen passionately and vocally in love with Demon. It would be a great cross if she was sound, but alas not meant to be.
We did 'try' to take photos of the munchkin crowd - April and Vanna measured in out in the field at 26.25-26.50", but the only two photos I have of April that would have been nice have a thick cotton lead rope blocking her nose. Anyway the two dinks are doing well. I've been talking to a few people about stallion prospects for them in 2013.
Speaking of stallion prospects - did everyone watch the Double Diamond auction? OMG!!!!! I almost cried at Vermilyeas Snippets Red Tape selling for $1,100. He has been one of my favorite stallions for years. The whole Snippet line has a look I like. If life wasn't constantly throwing curve balls at me this year - I know where he'd have been coming. I did bid, but my angels were having a fierce battle over bid more/no don't! Regretfully I had to stop - and yes all my friends will hear about this for at least 5 years as I whine and complain about not getting him. The other stallion I bid on was Double Diamonds Mister Meaner - what a gorgeous guy! Double Diamond Catalog
Besides those two, there were some mares that definitely caught my eye. If I had the funds or was new to breeding Minis - what a great start to get some quality mares in this market. People just 'getting into minis' don't realize how badly we've been hit with the recession, and what a great buyer's market it truly is. Which segues into my next topic, one that I'm going to be expanding on over the coming months, but the topic at hand - Why do we breed?
Questions, I'm going to sit down and ask myself, honestly answer, then post here. I'm not sure I'm going to like the flat self-honesty though - lol! I hope some of you will use this opportunity to consider why you breed too.
To get it rolling these are my "homework" questions the next month or so. I tend to find Fall/Winter is when I get into my ambitious breeding plans that get scaled down alot by Spring!
1. Why am I breeding?
2. Am I breeding for myself or am I breeding to sell?
(pleasing yourself vs the current Mini horse market and who is your clientele - pet homes not quality/other breeders/show homes ?)
3. Can I buy versus breed the type of horse I want to produce/market?
(get a true cost of raising a foal to breeding age - including showing if you want a show record versus buying what you want/need)
4. Evaluate your mares
(gets in foal easily, foaling issues, ease of foaling, good dam - milk, attitude, flaws or faults, disposition, movement, color - if that's important appy/pinto breeders)
5. Stallion choice
(proven show record, flaws/faults, disposition, movement, how are his progency, breeding ability - aggressive? must be hand or pasture bred, percentage of mares covered, foals saleable?)
6. Linebreeding vs outside breeding
(lines that can be double or what's a good out cross? how well do you know your pedigrees and what is/isn't a good cross)