Charis and Kol spent last weekend with us from Friday night through Monday morning, and we had a marvelous time! (This could have been a "Wordless Wednesday" post--except I didn't finish it on Wednesday and I can't do "wordless!") However, a picture IS worth a thousand words, so I don't need too many . . .
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014
I was usually riding Angel at the same time Kara was riding Romeo, so I don't have too many photos of them, but I did get some when they did a Ride-a-Test at a local polo venue, Bendabout Farm, in April 2003.
Although the jumps were low, Romeo performed beautifully as always. Jumping was his and Kara's real love.
Neither Romeo nor Kara cared much for dressage, which was (unfortunately) what the lady who ran the farm preferred. She tried her hardest to extend Romeo's trot, which was very comfortable trot, but tended to resemble a Western jog.
That was how, in March 2005, Romeo headed out to west Texas to live on a family ranch. It wasn't so much a "goodbye" as a "see you later." We did see Romeo several more times when we were out there, and Kara got to enjoy riding him. But then we all got older and life got in the way, and for seven years we didn't make it to Texas.
When we finally did, Kara had a poignant reunion with Romeo. It was clear that we weren't the only ones that had aged. Romeo wasn't a five-year old youngster any more, but an eighteen-year old senior horse. He was fine and healthy, but Kara realized that sooner or later he would die on the range and be eaten by buzzards and coyotes, because that's the way things happen out there. She realized that she wanted him to come Home.
Meanwhile, Julie, Angel and Brandy are waiting impatiently--for love of Romeo.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
This post is not a tutorial on the best way to train a Dexter to lead, nor is it exhaustive in its suggestions. It's merely an account of what we did, including some mistakes we made, but since we can look back and see that it turned out well, it seems worth sharing.
Like many "newbies," we had made a couple of errors.
1) We had no way to get animals from the barn to the pasture unless they could be led. Up till the time we got Sara, we always led the horses back and forth, and that worked fine. It didn't work for Sara! We had to drive the trailer into the pasture, lure pregnant Sara into the trailer, and drive her up to the round pen. Luckily, we did that a couple days before she calved.
We were now able to let Sara into the barnyard where she and Siobhan would find shelter for the winter, and her hay could be kept dry.
We began making friends with Siobhan, brushing her with a soft horse brush and getting her used to being handled. A trick that I recently learned from a "cow whispering" young lady is to observe where mama licks her baby and replicate that with the brush or scratches. Mama knows her baby's sweet spot!
handy mini halters that have a "catch strap" on the small sizes, perfect for getting hold of a skittish calf. While we were in the barnyard working, we would tie Siobhan up short, leaving her to figure out on her own that fighting the halter makes it pull, while yielding to it relieves pressure. We never leave a calf unsupervised while it's tied!
The carabiner clip on the halter is the solution I came up with because the rings tend to disappear into the folds of flesh under a bovine chin, making it hard to clip the lead on. It was a good way to clip on quickly, then move the clip to the more secure ring before tying or leading her.
Let me add one important caution here: When haltering a calf, ALWAYS monitor the halter and loosen it as the calf grows! Halters can and do get too tight and cause actual injury if not loosened as necessary. A halter is for an animal that is handled regularly! Even a grown animal can gain weight or add a winter coat that makes a halter become too tight.
That's one reason I'm a fan of early halter training!