RicelandMeadows


It’s Dinner Time
May 25, 2020, 10:40 pm
Filed under: May 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

4dinner

May 26, 2020

As we celebrate Memorial Day with a picnic, good food, friends and family, lets not forget the men and women who died making it all possible.

My gang of four, all of them grabbing a bite to eat on the way to the big pasture. It has been a crazy time with babies, weather and heat cycles. Heat cycles in the weather and in our open mare Amee. We got her an ultrasound to make sure that all was well with her female parts. We got the green light to move towards breeding her.

Orchardhillredblaze

So, this handsome redhead came to visit. I am pleased to say that their honeymoon went well. They are now just enjoying vacation time as the calendar days count down to 21. Once we know that Amee is settled and in foal, this redheaded stranger will be headed back home. His name is Orchard Hill Red Blaze

Hopefully, we will see another Suffolk Punch baby here on the farm next April.



Patience and Fun
May 11, 2020, 12:39 pm
Filed under: May 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

Belleamee

May 11, 2020

My son’s horse, the right side in the photo, on her maiden voyage as a teammate. She did very well for her first time. My son has been training her for several months. She just turned two-years old.  She walked off quite well and only fidgeted a couple times. She is well on her way to being a great workhorse.

firsttime4

Our Suffolk herd are all grazing together. After a couple of weeks making all the introductions over a farm gate, peace fills the pasture. The pecking order has been established. Abby has made it clear to the other horses just what the social distancing space should be between them and her baby. No fighting, no squealing, just subtle reminders with laid back ears.

We are counting the days of this crazy spring waiting patiently for warmer weather and planting season. We made some progress last week. we managed to get a large portion of the winter manure spread on ground that will be planted to ear corn for the animals.  I even got those three acres plowed. I used the tractor due to maternity leave for Abby.

Mother'sday2020

This past Mother’s Day, my wife pets and talks to the new foal. Bree’s momma watches over the scene. Isn’t that what momma’s do? Watch from afar, but ready to jump in when needed. I miss my mom, but I believe that she is still watching over us.



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.



The Ups and Downs
February 13, 2020, 3:41 pm
Filed under: February 2020 | Tags: , , , , ,

knightAmee

February 13, 2020

In the photo above compares the size of my Percheron gelding Knight, to our new Suffolk Punch mare Amee. There is a full eight inches of height difference! It seams funny to be able to see her back when I am brushing her. Putting the harness and bridal on is a breeze with the new girls. My old, short body appreciates that fact. My geldings are big. Hoss measures 18 hands. Knight is 17.3 hands. Amee measures 16 hands. Her mate Abby is a bit shorter at 15.3. A “hand” for you non-horse folks, is a unit of measurement of four inches.

My geldings have been sold. They are still here on the farm, while their new owner prepares a stall for them. They will be getting a great new home. They will work some, but have a good retirement home, giving wagon and sled rides, mowing cow pastures and skidding a little firewood. The new owner is kind and calm. He has been driving Knight and Hoss. This gives the horses and the man a chance to meet and get to know each other.

As we transition to the smaller, chunkier Suffolk punch horses, things are going smoothly. The new girls have gotten used to the routine. They will soon be powering the farm 100% of the time, but for now, are sharing the work with the geldings. My own emotions are on a roller coaster ride. It is a bittersweet thing to be making this change. It helps me a bunch, knowing that my guys will be going to a good home. A place that I can even visit from time to time.

Our black Percheron mare, also called Abby will be headed off our farm too. We are in negotiations over her sale now. She is a flashy girl who is broke well too. I will make sure that she too gets a great place to live.

Maple syrup time is at hand. We need horses to power the sugaring operation. So far, things are working out well. I will say though that my emotions, just like the sap in the maple trees, are having their ups and downs!



New Beginning?
January 11, 2020, 3:34 pm
Filed under: January 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

jakeannabelle

January 11, 2020

Our youngest son just took the plunge and bought a young pair of draft horses. He settled on the breed known as Suffolk Punch. These are an old breed dating back to the 1500’s in England. The breed became more defined in the 1800’s and came to Canada and America around the 1880’s.

They were bred exclusively for farm work. They are a chunky powerful horse with stamina and gentleness. They are of moderate size (16-17 hands) for a draft breed. They are easy keepers and willing workers. I have known about the breed for years, but never really gave them much thought. They are a rare breed. Thirty years ago, when I bought my first draft horse, none of these were available in my price range. I settled on Percherons and have had them since.

Recently, I was reintroduced to this breed on the internet and in person. My son has been researching the breed and a few other breeds that are smaller in stature. Not many of the other breeds can match the easy going, yet willingness found in the Suffolk breed.

My son bought a pair of full sisters, a weanling and a yearling. I went with him to haul his team home. While we were there, I met a weanling stud colt who followed me home! The stud colt is unrelated to my sons fillies. He may just become a great gelding, but the potential exists.

Our saga may change as I look  more serious at this endearing breed. I am very impressed so far.

hank1

Ridgewind Aethling Hank of Indian Mound … Long handle for a youngster, but “Hank” is a bit of a celebrity. His daddy is from Virginia, owned by Jason Rutledge, named Eyke Sovereign. A horse imported from England in 2010, I believe.

hank2

Hank is a handsome fellow. We shall see if he grows into his name. Born last April, he is a growthy colt. He is a quick learner with a trusting manner. We are becoming fast friends. Who knows what the future holds? Stay tuned.