RicelandMeadows


Training Day, One of Many

April 5, 2021

Our nice weather continues. April Fool’s day and Easter are behind us. We are training our young horses. We hitch them as often as we can, daily when possible. Hank, the horse with the white stripe on his face, is doing great. This was his first time hitched in a team. We have used him in a 3-horse hitch several times, but today was his maiden voyage hitched this way. He did very well thanks to his teammate Abby. She is showing him “the ropes”.

We use a two wheeled cart pulling a tire for these lessons. The tire provides some weight, noise and resistance. It makes weird noises as it drags along behind. These noises help to get young horses to pay no attention to what’s behind them. All they have to do is just listen to the direction and confidence in their master’s voice. Perhaps, all of us should take note ?

Spring plowing has started. Hank will take his turn soon for a few short lessons. Hank will turn 2 later this month. This training is to help him grow and learn for now. Later, as he matures, the work load will increase, but for now it all about learning the job and getting his mind right. He is a gangly teenager now with a few raging hormones. Work helps to keep things under control.

What a pair!

My son Jake is making good progress with these fillies of his. They too are in the learning stages. It takes time and patience to make a good draft horse. They need to work, stand, listen and be willing to do any job when asked. This early training makes all those things possible. It keeps the horses in a safe learning environment. It also builds the bond between them and us. We all learn to rely on each other in a harmonious relationship. These horses too will soon celebrate birthdays. They will turn 3 and 2 in the next few weeks. Belle, the three year old, will soon join my team of mares for more in-depth training on other equipment used in the farming operation. She will learn to be prompt and she will build endurance, as the jobs get longer and the loads get heavier at times.

This window for this intense training is due in part to my main team member, Amee, going on maternity leave. She is due to foal by the end of the month. We are getting excited about that too. We are closing up the maple season by cleaning and storing equipment. This job takes a while, mostly because it is a heavy, sticky job that requires help. I guess also because this weather has been wonderful and its hard to keep inside where the cleaning takes place. The good news is that the worst of that job is over. I will have it completed by the end of the week. In the meantime, I will continue to train the youngsters and think spring!



Social Distancing the Draft Horse Way
April 8, 2020, 11:01 am
Filed under: April 2020 | Tags: , , , , ,

AbbyAmeebest42020

April 8, 2020

This pandemic is unlike anything I have ever lived through. I am cautiously optimistic about it being less of a threat soon. I, like many, can’t wait to hug my family again! Let’s all do our part so that when we can all gather again…all of us will be there.

The horses and I continue their lessons. They are doing very well, just learning the routine here and I am learning their quirks and dislikes. We are bonding now. This feels very good. They have accepted me as the “leader” and like to be petted and fussed over.

They are doing so well, I feel humbled by their willingness to please. Abby’s due date is coming fast. It is tentatively April 15th. That date is an estimate. Foals come when they are ready. I am keeping Abby comfortable. She gets a big roomy stall at night and a nice slow walk every day.

Spending time with the animals, especially the horses, keeps me somewhat satisfied during the long days with no family. Sure we talk on the phone, wave from the windows and even “Facetime” with some, but nothing beats loving on them. This too shall pass!

Spring is making her presence known. The warm sun and green grass is wonderful. Families are getting out and enjoying nature. That is a wonderful thing. The horses and I are liking the warmer weather. The work year is about to bust open, but for now we will idle our time, wait patiently on the foal and watch the lambs play in the sheep pasture. This is social distancing the Farm way!