Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A New Venture: Guests!

 Big news at the farm this weekend:
All three sprinklers going...STILL!
Everybody's going out together for about five hours a day at this point.  (RT gets to mow the house lawn the other 19 hours.
Life's pretty boring at our place, until....
Who's here?!?
Meet Teddy [Bear] and Cheyanna.

Teddy is a 24-year-old Thoroughbred-Dutch Warmblood cross, retired jumper, and he looks it.  After two days, I finally got curious enough to put a stick on him:  16.3!  His owner did some eventing on him, after he finished a successful career as a Grand Prix jumper.  His legs, unfortunately, show some of the wear and tear of that profession.
 Cheyanna is a bit younger, but had a shoulder injury a couple of years ago.  She was moving pretty good out in the pasture, and her owner thought maybe she might return to light duty next year...or not.  I think mostly she's here to keep Teddy company.

With the lousy market, and the ethical question of bringing new babies into the world, I have pretty much given up on the idea of breeding any more equines here (though someone suggested I have the perfect set-up for goats....er...no, thanks...).  Little RT has done so well in his retirement with us (he's still going strong at 32), and Mama Misty is looking good at 25.  Even good ol' Corky did well, in spite of his seizure disorder, until we lost him at 29.  I've long admired Melissa and Jason of Paradigm Farms, so I have decided to venture into the realm of boarding.  But for a specialized market: retirees (or possibly rehab).
Neither Al nor I really want a bunch of silly teenagers in and out at all hours, we're 20 miles from town, and we really don't have access to any trails in the immediate neighborhood.  Plus the insurance for your typical boarding stable is outrageous.  By sticking to retirees, I don't need to worry about people riding on the property, nor corralling other peoples kids (been there, done that)--keeping track of other people's horses, on the other hand, seems like a great way to utilize our place.
Pretty well settled in after all of ten minutes.
I also have another gal that may want to bring out an older gent that has seen some rough times, along with her pregnant mare.  That'll make the rotation a bit trickier, as I don't like to put horses directly across a fence line from each other--I always keep an empty pasture in between.  I'll have to watch the grass really closely, as well, to make sure they're not stressing it too much. We don't have the room to put everybody in one big herd, like they do at Paradigm (they have seven separate "herds" on very large pastures), so I will probably just keep each owner's boarders together and as a by-product, avoid the brief, but real risk of introductions.
For right now we're only looking at pasture board for the summer.  If I could get the last wing on the barn, I'd look for longer term horses. But this gives us a chance to try out the proposition for awhile, with minimal extra labor.

On the work front, I'm just about done replacing another run of the blasted high-tensile field fence.  This is on the north side of the barn, parallel to the driveway.  It means I have three 1.5-2 acre pastures that I consider to be totally "horse safe."  That's where Teddy and Cheyanna will be rotated through.  If the other two horses come, I'll have to judge which two are most respectful of the fence, and use one of my south pastures.
The roll by the tractor is ready to splice into the stuff that's already leaning against the posts; then I'll stretch that first 250 foot section.  The two rolls in front are for the 200 foot remainder.
Finishing touches: staples on the wood posts, and "twisties" on the T-posts.
These two guys came by to check out my work.
First section, all done.
Last big news:
Only 27 more "git-ups" until summer vacation!


  1. Oh wow, you're taking retirees???

  2. Sounds like a really interesting plan, and there's certainly a need for good retirement homes.

  3. I like this idea a lot! Hopefully, good for the retirees and good for you as well. These pictures give a great perspective of your house and land. Seems to me like a wonderful space. Fun to see the birdies :)

  4. Great plan! Hope the horses are all pleasant and the owners are good folks. What fun :D

  5. It always makes my heart sing to read of someone who cares what happens to old horses.

  6. Megan--Yes. Know anybody?

    Kate--yes, you definitely know about "good" retirement homes!

    Carol--I hope it works out. Al's always been interested in Hospice work--he'll just have to adjust it to "hospice for Horses". btw, the house and big red shop in the background of the fencing photos is not our place--that's Hank's homestead, across the road. The birds were probably hawks, but were almost big enough to be eagles. They never got quite close enough to tell--definitely raptors, tho.

    Funder--We can hope!

    Jean--It will be a challenge where we're located--too many folks have their own places, or can rent somebody's spare field for $25 a month. We want to cater to someone who recognizes that the old ones need a little extra TLC.

  7. Good plan. I hope you're still in business when the Dragon decides to retire....you've always wanted a gigantic firebreathing lizard in your backyard, right?

  8. Actually we have 7 separate herds on large pastures. Hope everything works out for you!

  9. Aarene--Al wants to know if she can grill hot dogs?...

    Melissa--Thanks for the clarification! I always figured the mares (plus ponies), the "big" guys, and the rest of the guys. :-) You have so many, I don't know how you keep them all straight!

  10. I just might know of someone. One of the horses at the ranch just went down to WSU (his owner is paying) to have his eye checked out. It's not responding to meds and it looks like it's going to have to be removed. He's a 22-year-old TB gelding that is a sweetheart, easy to do everything with and the kids love him but liability wise I don't know if I'm comfortable having the boys ride him again. At LEAST until he's had quite a while to get used to it, but at 22 it seems fair to retire him... His owner is a very good friend of mine that lives in the Seattle area.