Sunday, June 16, 2013

The State of Things at EvenSong Farm

Long time, no post, huh?
This has been probably my toughest year at school, child and family-wise, and I haven't had the energy to keep up with much other than basic farm chores all spring.  Here's one of several up-dates I'm going to try to get posted, now that school is out, and before we start baling hay.
  Since I've decided that breeding is no longer an economically nor philosophically good choice for me, I have refocused my attention on building a retirement farm for horses whose owners feel that their equines have earned a pleasant life after working hard for them.  Although I have only found one permanent boarder, I have had the privilege to welcome a few very nice horses for either lay-up, R&R, or semi-permanent board.

You might remember Teddy and Cheyanna, who were with us briefly last spring.
 Then Indy came for the summer months.  She a retired barrel racer that earned her Mom the "Rookie of the Year" status at the NFR as a teenager!  Indy's second career was as a broodmare, then her Mom decided she deserved some "golden years."  She went home to Mom's smaller place over the winter, and returned again in April.
 Last fall, Vermont and Africa came to stay with us, while their Mom concentrated on finishing her Masters, finding a new job, finding a new home in a new city (where the new job was), and finally finding a place for the horses to relocate to.  They all headed to Walla Walla in April, just before Indy returned to EvenSong Farm.
 Also in April (a busy month!), Charlie came to join us.  Charlie's Mom used the "off the track" Thoroughbred for dressage, and watching him float around the pasture, one can really see why!  But he has developed some arthritis in his front knees, and she wanted to give him some time off where he could move around (and eat) full-time.  So he's here with us for a couple of years, until Mom and her Hubby can get their own place.  Then she'll bring him back slowly as her other half's easy riding trail horse.
 Last, but certainly not least, there is our long time resident, Royal Tardez--RT.  He's our longest term retiree, having come here over six years ago, when his Mom and "Grandmom"  needed a place where he could get the "royal" treatment he demands.  It's hard for me to remember that he's not a member of the family:  I gave lessons to his Mom and him when they were both about 14.  Here's a shot eating his 33rd birthday breakfast in April.
So here's where we stand now.
 Charlie has been in a pasture on the north side of the barn, keeping Indy company while she's been on dry lot. Last month we had a bit of a scare, right after pulling Indy's shoes for the first time in several years: it was hard to tell if her gimpy gait was due to her thin flat soles having to adjust to barefoot, or if the lush spring grass was overloading her system. Once the heat was out of her feet, I started hand-grazing her for an hour for a few days, then increasing her time to a couple of hours in a small grassy paddock.

Yesterday was the first day that everybody was out together
(more or less). 
I put Indy out with my girls in the "diet" pasture for four hours, first thing in the morning, when sugar content of the grass is lowest (the mares stay in at night, mostly because they're all "big-boned" like their Mamma.) 
Maddie and Indy paired up right away, having been together when Indy first arrived for the summer. RT, who considers himself "herd stud," worried for a bit, then relaxed when the girls settled into grazing.
Then Charlie, who was now all by himself on the north side of the barn, needed to join the gang. ( I had introduced him to RT a week or so ago, and once RT finished establishing his superiority in the hierarchy, he just ignored Charlie and paced the fence trying to figure out how to get back to the mares.  Charlie was a perfect gentleman, following at a respectful 25-30 feet behind RT while he carried on.  I finally put RT back out on the south side with his girls.)

Here is the pictorial story of what happened when they all ended up together (girls and boys separated by one fence).

Charlie seems to be all by himself in the "fat" pasture.

I really had to zoom out to get both geldings in the photo, as Charlie was again staying at a respectable distance.
He's checking out the mares.
Charlie moves closer, and Maddie heads over to visit.
"Whatcheryadoin' wit mah ladies!?!" RT moves in to protect "his" herd.

Maddie and Indy move away, and Kate hurries in to see what's happening, with Misty in tow.

RT does his best Black Stallion impression...

...and Charlie reacts appropriately submissively.

"Nothin' to see here, folks. Move on." And everyone goes back to grazing, except RT, who maintains guard over the whole herd.
So that's where things stand with the horse population.
Next post:  Kate does GOOD!