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!



Clippers, Collars and Sleigh Bells
March 30, 2020, 10:29 am
Filed under: March 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

hankbell

March 30, 2020

Yesterday, I spent the day working with Hank. This little guy is our stallion prospect. First he must learn to be a work horse. We will see if the whole “daddy” thing works out. I spend a lot of time with him. I teach him manners and many things that are part of the routine. He learns quickly. He is a good animal to be around. I am continually amazed by this Suffolk breed of horse.

He will turn one year old on April 23rd. I am starting him young, because I want his mind busy. He, like all teen-aged boys, has an abundance of testosterone. If I can keep his mind busy, the fidgeting  is much less. Yesterday, I introduced him to a horse collar and a set of sleigh bells. He was not scared of either.

We also gave him his second haircut. The clippers, even though this was his second experience, made him very wary. I calmly talked to him, let him smell the clippers and ran the noisy, vibrating thing all over him. After just a few minutes, he calmed down and let he clip between his ears and bridle path. I cannot say it was my best job, but he did very well. We will revisit this lesson often.

Hankhaircut

His rough winter coat is showing but his new haircut and shedding progress are showing through.

We enjoyed a wagon ride in the afternoon yesterday. It was warm and spring like. The shedding hair comes out in gobs, as the girls get their summer coat, a sure sign of spring,  just like the greening of the grass.

a&awagon

Training and transition are two words that describe much of my work these days. Abby will soon be on maternity leave. Amee will get some individualized training on a few finer points that she lacks. Hank will continue to get exposed to new experiences as we train to power the farm. He has a ways to go, but the future looks bright.