Monday, June 27, 2011

Remember how awful this was?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pictures of Rose

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Raising Mr. Baby Pony

     I am not a very experienced baby horse-raised but in my life I have raised six from birth or before one year old. Two were fillies four were colts. The fillies were sweet and loving, kind little girls from birth. The colts were screaming aggressive from the moment their hooves hit the ground!
    They even effect the moms while still in the womb. Misty, my horse Fancy's Mother, had one of each. While carrying Fancy, a filly, she was as sweet and passive as any mother to be can be.While carrying hr second, a colt, she was aggressive and stud-like. When she was turned out with the stallion and other mares she would herd the mares and drive the stallion away - and he would go!! The reason for this odd behavior? We concluded that the testosterone produced by the developing noy fetus affects the mare! So if you have a pregnant mare turn feisty, she is probably carrying a boy!
     So anyway, colts are born little stallions, and unless they are turned out with other colts and perhaps, even better, a few tolerant geldings, so they can all beat on each other and learn horse to be horses from each other, you are going to end up with a tough violent little maniac on your hands. A single stud colt weaned and raised alone should never be handled by the uninitiated!
     My advise: halter break him within two days of birth, imprint him if you're there when he's born, teach him to tie, pick up his feet and groom him as best you can while he's still really small and you still have the ability to do so. Do not tolerate biting, kicking or striking but when you reach the point that all interactions with your colt is a battle of wills, minimize your contact with him until you can get him gelded. Geld him as soon as your vet thinks it's safe to do so. It is almost a miracle what the absence of testicles will do for this bad behavior in less than two weeks! But if you don't let bad behavior get established while still a stallion, you will not have to undo it after being gelded. Colts often stay a little nippy after the operation but it is usually just baby behavior, like a puppy or kitten would do. He still must be taught not to do it though, it could become a habit otherwise. Biting humans is never okay. With a baby colt under one year all the other bad stuff just, well, stops! They become nice! What you have at this point is an equine sponge - you can teach him anything, good or bad.
     Our baby pony came to us as an unmanageable confused weanling. Previously taken from his mother at nine months old and put in his own turn out between two adult horses, a mare and a gelding. He was supposed to be a companion to which ever horse was left home while the other was ridden. But he would scream and carry on if either horse left. On the day that he got in with the gelding and was injured, his new owner had had enough. Long story short, we got him.
     Because of circumstances we were able to put him alone in a stall with a seven foot high partition which he promptly tried to climb over - and almost did! Now this little dude is only 45" tall but his determination was about 18 hands worth. He was so dangerous that he would rear, strike, bite and kick, he was in a towering rage!
     His previous owner had done a great deal of ground work with him (thank God!)  so he could be tied, groomed, and his feet handled, but his atention span was about two minutes before he decided that humans were fine toys to gnaw on. It took two of us to clean his stalls. Jessica would tie him up and groom him while I power cleaned his stall as fast as possible. Then we would squeeze out the door watching our backs as we went.
     Then the miracle day arrived! The little stud muffin became a Gelding!! Without incident or complications our baby's future began. Within days he turned into one of the sweetest, kindest horses I have ever known. He loves to be hugged and kissed and groomed. He no longed uses us as chew toys.
     We feared at first that he would climb a fence and get in with one of our pony mares and breed them so he was kept in his stall until that chance passed. On the day we turned him out though, he gently introduced himself to all the other horses in the surrounding turn-outs. He did "baby mouth" to them and they knew he was a baby! There was no striking or screaming, as seen when adult horses meet. He was just absorbed into the group as one of us, and that was that!
     Fancy was terribly excited at first she would gently nicker to Mr. Baby Pony then run over to me and holler "It's a baby! A BABY!" This colt looks so much like her brother Viking, who she spent the first twelve years of her life with, it was almost as is she thought it was him! (Viking died July 4, 1999 at 10pm)
     The three mares that have been mothers take turns standing next to him - standing guard maybe - remember their own lost babies. And so, our sweet new Baby Poy is going to learn all the right things. He is never going to be terrified into a "safe spot", galloped in a roundpen until he "submits" or have some repetitious crap done to him over and over again. He is going to learn to do things because he wants to - because he loves us. He is going to love his job as therapy pony because it is the right thing for him to do. Every single day he will be reminded how good people can be - he will be our partner in the endeavor.
     We'll keep you informed -

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pictures of Pretty in Pink Getting Down and Dirty

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Photos around the farm, including the chickens

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pictures of Tim and a Friend

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