Pony Therapy – November 2018 Edition.

December 1, 2018

There’s nothing like an easy carefree hack around the farm to lower the blood pressure, and ease the mind.

I usually pop in my Bluetooth and pick out a podcast, or several, and roll along smelling the air and watching nature.

I enjoy the gentle roll of my pony’s gate and companionship of my dog, trolling along behind us.

Lately I’ve been lucky enough to have the fabulous Neville, the chillest blonde pony around, to be one of my equine companions to take out on these therapy sessions.

He has a nice smooth walk and trot and his canter is like butter. He is happy to stop and stand when I ask so we can leisurely admire the world around us and watch a chipmunk or squirrel do their thing.

And never to be forgotten is my heart horse, Simon. Anytime I start to think I might like another horse as much as him, I hop on this jokester and any question melts away instantly. His back is home.

I usually ride out to the road and grab the mail while I am out on these rides. This always makes me smirk. There has been more than one obstacle competition we have done where Simon refused to go near the mailbox. Yet he will stand on the road, with the neighbors horses just a few yards away whinnying greetings at him while I slowly open, collect, and flip through the mail before closing it and riding back onto the farm from the road.

There is one big hill behind our house to ride up. It’s long and has a spectacular view from the top.

There is a second hill across the way along a corn field that wraps up to the woods. It’s a really lovely farm to hack around. With all the fields and hills and a section of woods as well.

I love a good trail ride, but those involve trailering out and suck up quite a bit of time. They are not always practical. Where a farm hack I can keep short if I need to, or longer if I have the time.

I also enjoy a road hack and I am lucky to have several dirt roads I can loop around. Those rides tend to be more quick paced and riding at full attention. Although the roads are not busy with traffic, there is some traffic and the occasional dog or pony eating structure. One loop even has an assortment of sheep, cows and goats very closely lining the edges of the road for several miles of the ride. So keeping attentive is important.

So when it’s just a piece of mind I need a farm hack is grand.

Pony Therapy.

June 5, 2018

Today had me feeling a bit stressed. By the time I was home from work I was feeling like I should either punch something or burst out into tears. Not being much of a puncher or much of a crier I decided I needed to vent my frustration by riding. But I also needed to be productive so I decide to ride the mower and get some grass cut. Unfortunately that just added to my frustration because the mower broke down while I was driving through the gate into an occupied horse field. I. The open gate way.

More winning to add to the day.

So I scrapped that plan and took up some much needed therapy time with Dr Simon. He never fails to help me out.

I put on the most recent The Moth podcast and started tossing on his tack while Simon nibbled on me in search of cookies and attention. I really should have slowed down and groomed him out first. I am not a big groomer usually but his mane and tail are so thick and need regular work which grooming out seems to relax me.

Simon also loves to be groomed. He really does enjoy it more than any pony I have ever had.

It’s dark out while I am typing this but I am tempted to rush back out and groom him now in an attempt to get that relaxing sensation of seeing the brush push the dirt off his coat and the shine come out on his palomino parts. But I suppose since it’s dark I wouldn’t actually see that. I am sure the bugs would eat me up. Which sounds frustrating.

I had him tacked up and I was on his back in about two minutes. I rode around the “pond”, which is completely full, over the fence, up to the top of the pier/roof, and ridiculous again. There is apparently a drain that sticks up by the pier that was previously clogged up but now is unclogged and is gushing water out and preventing the flooding from washing over the hill and flooding my big (and still dry) horse field. So much for a dry-lot.

Then we rode around the corn fields. Simon grabbed a few bites along the way. Daisy bounced along. I laughed at the stories being told on my podcast.

It you have not listened to The Moth you should give it a go. It’s a well produced story slam podcast. There are a couple different people telling well produced and well performed story’s, live, on each episode. Usually each episode has a theme. Sometimes the stories are funny, or emotional, or educational. They often leave a mark or stick in my memory for a while.

I could feel myself relaxing as we went along.

I turned and cut through the bottom of the woods and enjoyed the feel of my fingers on Simon’s mane and the way he was swishing his tail as he walking along, clearly enjoying the stroll.

We turned and went up the driveway and he whinnied to the horses across the street. I smiled as his whole body shook with his greeting. After his whinny he was done with those horses and ready to move on, around the next field and back past the creepy angel statue (a story for another post) and back toward the house.

We detoured around one more corn field since I felt like I needed just a tiny bit more pony time and I really wanted to check on the cherry tree. Not ripe yet.

Good therapy session. Thanks Dr Simon.

Makeshift Hay Feeding Shelter

May 6, 2018

I have a couple fields for my ponies, including a dry lot. My husband and I built a makeshift hay shelter in it using crap we found around the farm.

Long ago the paddock was a pond, which has been dried out for years, but it still has an old pier that sticks out into the field. We have since extended a roof off of the pier that the ponies can stand under while eating.

Directly under the pier is perfect for a round bale. But it was a bit snug. So we dug out under the pier, creating an additional several feet of space for the hay and then we dug down some more to accommodate a pallet which we put down to create air flow under the hay. We then put some 2×4 bars up on one side and across the front to help keep the ponies from getting too into the hay. The neighbor delivers a round bale with his tractor and slides it into the space and then we put two 2x4s back up on that side, completely closing the bale in.

We also have three of my hay feeder barrels hung up. When the ponies drag out some hay from the round bale I fork it up and stuff it into the barrels to prevent waste. I usually do hay clean up about every three or four days and fill half a barrel to a full barrel depending on how far into the round bale they are.

I also have a bucket hung (low so Poe can’t crib on it) for loose minerals.

I don’t find that feeding round bales saves me that much money over feeding square bales. I do get good quality rounds, delivered one at a time when I need one. The ponies do get free choice this way, meaning they can eat all they want 24/7. When I feed squares I usually put out a half bale in the morning and a half bale in the evening, in the barrels to slow them down. They usually gorge (Simon in particular) until it’s gone then wait until the next feeding to gorge again. With the round bale they seem to eat more leisurely throughout the day. They probably do eat more with the round but I like that they eat more slowly.

The big difference is the time it saves me. Instead of dragging hay from the hay shed to the field and then loading the barrels twice a day, I meet they hay guy once every two to three weeks for a delivery, and spend a few minutes every three or four days forking some loose hay from the ground into the barrels. It’s much easier.

My ponies also tend to be mischievous and destructive when they get bored. With a round bale I don’t have to worry about running late with dinner. They always have hay.

This leaves my remaining feeding routine to clean and fill water about once a week and putting a cup of feed in each of their pans in the evenings. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. I am all about keeping things as simple as possible.

So while my hay feeding shelter isn’t much to look at, meaning it’s a total eye sore, it didn’t cost a penny to put together, and we plan to add to the roof a bit more still, which might be obvious. It’s in a dried out pond that is completely out of view from all directions. Its an eye sore to itself. But it is functional, and did I mention it was free?

So here is a glimpse inside of my dry-lot hay-shelter eye-sore.

I did not initially take these photos with the plan to use them on my blog or share them widely. So this was before I did my regular clean up.

I took these photos to show a friend how much digging I had been doing. And also how the pallet and round bale set up was working out. We did have round bales going in there without the pallet which was fine in the colder winter weather but with the warmer weather coming in the moisture was soaking up into the bales.

The above photos are without a round bale in the space so you can see how the round bale fits. This was also right after some wet weather so it was wet and a bit muddy.

This is the side the bale gets put in from.

We screw those two boards back in after the bale is in.

I had already loaded some hay into the white barrel there.

And you can see the mineral bucket hung on the post.

The photos with the bale were taken the day after the no bale photos. You can see how quickly it dried out. It does get wet in this field, but I am extremely lucky in the mud department.

Unicorn Simon 

May 14, 2017 

Yesterday I did pony rides at a birthday party and Simon got to be a unicorn for the day. Doesn’t he look cute?


Clip Jobs – PA Expo 

March 6, 2017

I drove up to the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo this past weekend to watch my friend Lindsey and her grumpy white pony Will in the trail challenge.  

During the trail challenge I saw two ponies go through with stars clipped into their rumps and I love it.  I might have to do this with Poe next fall.  

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