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Showing posts with label horses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horses. Show all posts

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Pony for the Freezin'-a** Winter?

When I was a small child, I discovered the joy of reading.  This was one of my favorite books.  It was given to me by a teacher for my achievements.  It may very well be the first indication that horses were in my future!  I'm going to see if I still have this one.  It's overdue for a  re-read.

Keeping a pony for the winter sounds a bit romantic, doesn't it?  My best recollection is that a little girl wanted her parents to allow her to board the pony for a carnival that used it for rides during the warmer seasons.

Oh, if only I could talk my dad and mom into that!  As a child, I can imagine that I thought the only hurdle for the little girl was convincing her parents how cute they were and having a fence around the backyard.  HA!

Well, now I'm all grown up and have two ponies for the winter!  (They're not really ponies, but full-sized horses, and last winter there were three.  R.I.P. Buddy.)

Talk about a fantasy world... True, I don't remember much about the book; but I do remember there was no mention of carrying 5 gallon buckets filled with water through ten- inch drifts of snow and ice, being extra cautious not to spill any on her for fear of frostbite from the below-zero windchill!  Nor was there any mention of pushing a wheel barrow through that deep frosty mess.  Or how about trying to dump said wheel barrow only to find the cargo frozen to the bottom of the cart?  

I'm fairly certain there was nothing written about miles of extension cords trailing to heated water buckets, or having to clean out those hanging buckets when that cute little pony decides to use it as a port-o-john!  I'll bet that sweet child never twisted her ankle by stepping down wrong on a frozen... uh... dumpling.  I don't recall if the girl in the story had a dog.  If she had, it would have been fun to watch her little dog running from the stall with... uh... dumpling stains on his pretty white face.  

Yes, keeping a pony for the winter isn't exactly a romance, but I do enjoy the break from the heavier smells of summer and the biting flies.  I like that I can clean both stalls without stopping to wipe the sweat from my brow.  And there's nothing better than a horseback ride through fluffy white snow on a sunny winter day.  A big plus is walking through the paddock without sinking ankle-deep in muck.  

Now, if only we can get back to normal temperatures and I can dump this cold... I will ride off into the sunset on my pony for the winter.

Before you go...

Rae, over at Weather Vane is having a give-away!  See what I've got my eye on...

Don't you agree it would look lovely in my blue country kitchen?

I used to say, "I never win anything!" but not anymore... I won a signed book last month!  Maybe I'm on a roll.  Or maybe I'm just wishin'.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Buddy Sour

No, that's not Buddy... that's buddy... as in pal, friend, amigo.  Although Buddy was Nekoda's buddy, now that he's gone, Maggie is the one she can't be without.  

Horse people know the term 'buddy sour' very well.  It's when your horse gets so attached to another, it acts like an idiot when you separate them.  If you're not a horse person, here is a video that demonstrates it very well:  (have your sound on)

I often take Nekoda out to the front pasture while Maggie is finishing up her meal.  By the time I get back with Maggie, Nekoda has usually worked up a pretty good lather  One day I left Maggie in the back field the entire afternoon.  By the time I brought Nekoda back to the barn she was gray!  When horses sweat - just like people - they get salty, and Nekoda was covered with salty swirls that day.

I had my camera in my pocket today when I took Nekoda to the front pasture.  She's fine while Sadie and I stand there talking to her, but when we start to leave... well, you've seen it now.  When she was hanging over the fence calling, she was facing the barn where Maggie was still eating.  She'll stop to graze a little, and then go right back to running and calling to her friend. 

I decided to throw in a couple more video clips.  This one is me walking Maggie down to the front pasture.  We swing by the goats to say hello.  I can't resist the opportunity to get those babies posted here.  You can hear Nekoda whinnying in the background...

I love this one with Maggie's shadow walking down the driveway.  We came around the trees and found Nekoda getting her daily back-scratching...

A similar term is 'barn sour'.  Some lazy horses (like mine) do little to nothing but hang around the barn all day or in the pasture grazing.  Then when you try to ride them away from their favorite spot, they don't want to budge!  Some horses will go so far, and then turn around and gallop back to the barn!  Those horses can be dangerous.  Fortunately, mine don't do that, but they do sometimes get stubborn about going past an imaginary line in the drive.

I hope you enjoyed my videos.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snow Day with Horses

This picture makes me happy...

That's Buddy's rump with the white tail, and Nekoda is the spotted one in the background.  But see, there in the middle, sharing Buddy's hay?  Yep, Maggie Mae.  Normally, we have to give Maggie her hay far away from the other two or they run her off.  It's just horse hierarchy.  Besides, she gets her alfalfa in pelleted form now, so any hay she eats is a bonus.  It still makes me happy to see my herd bonding tighter.

This is Mr J leading Maggie to the side pasture...

I've already thrown out their hay or they'd be following me to the gate.  The red building is their run-in shelter.  Buddy and Nekoda stay in it when the weather dictates.  Maggie is stalled at night and in inclement weather.

This is me...

...under the wool hat with ear-flaps and the insulated pants.  Gotta pass those hugs around!


I just love showing how safe my horses are.  When the hay isn't there, I can back Nekoda around the field by the tail!

Organic accessories?

Staying warm in my horse-hair scarf!

Maggie Mae

I have to tip-toe to peek over her!

The horses love running in the snow...

Nekoda loves running anytime, but seeing the snow fly up is extra fun!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monochromatic Morning

 Our first snow of the season fell last night.
I love waking up to a world I've missed for months!

This black and white view waited outside my bedroom door .
The bare trees seem even darker against the pure white snow.

The valance over the kitchen sink is trimmed in crystal drops.
They appeared more like icicles this morning!

At a different angle, you would have seen the smoke,
billowing up from the outdoor boiler...
a sure sign that winter is near.

Though the snow was light,
the sead heads bowed in respect
of this symbol of winter.

The paling green of a willow bush
peeks through the tender reeds.

Here, you see the willow is losing its battle,
succumbing to the shorter days and chillier nights.

The horses don't notice the temperature dropping.
Their furry coats have grown plush,
insulating them from the brisk air.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Recycled Dust & Old Neighborhoods

We had some business in Dayton this week, so while we were in town, we decided to stop at the shop and load up on sawdust. 

We know some guys that have a pattern shop.  Their trash collectors do not allow them to put their sawdust in the trash, so we told them we could help them get rid of it...  We use it in our stalls.  You know how I love to recycle!

We have to make sure we know what kind of wood it came from.  Some wood shavings aren't safe to use with horses.  And sometimes it's too dusty, so I just spread it around outside.

Looks like the dust collectors blew up before we got there!  Normally, most of the sawdust goes into this collector system:

Those black trash bags on the left are filled with sawdust, as is the door under the big funnel-shaped thing.  We ended up with seven large garbage bags full of pine dust and shavings.  That will top off our bin and get us through the winter. 

We don't keep our horses inside much.  Maggie stays in at night unless it's really warm out., and we keep her in during heavy rains.  The other two only stay in if it's icy out.  They have a run-in shelter in the paddock.  They don't let Maggie in it.

After we left the shop, we decided to drop in on a friend I used to work with.  He lives one block over from my old house in the city.  No, I wasn't a country girl until six years ago!  I loved the city then.  Now, I can't imagine going back!

 I always loved the big trees that lined the street.

 Fourth house on the left. 

It wasn't much, but it was mine!  Built in 1907, it was a DIY dream.  I left it for the burbs in 1999.  Then, after tying the knot with Mr J, we bought some old farm land outside of Xenia.  The rest, as they say, is history...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Day on the Farm

I've posted lots of egg pictures recently, but I couldn't resist posting a couple more...

Remember the really HUGE egg?  Well, here is its opposite:

I've seen eggs smaller than this in a robin's nest, but from a chicken?  I'll have to take a picture of it frying to show you later...

Maggie has been doing something strange lately, so I called the vet and arranged a farm call.  Yes, some doctors do still make house calls! 

This is Dr. Brett, Mr J and one very dirty Maggie Mae.  Luckily Dr. Brett had good news for me.  She has a skin fungus (a very simple remedy) and she has old-timer's...   Yes, she's just old and having a few problems that just come with the age.  (eightyish in people years)

Maggie has lost a few teeth, and it is more difficult for her to chew her food.  The strange habit she has developed is just a symptom of her food not being chewed well enough, and getting stuck in her throat.  It is time to make a major change to her diet.  She'll no longer be tossed flakes of hay while corralled with the other horses.  I'll chop grass hay for her.  She will also get soaked alfalfa cubes and more senior feed, perhaps in a mash.  Plus it's time to up the calories to add fat for winter.

Horses, just like people, have different nutritional needs as they age.  It's a bit more work, but it means better health, and perhaps a longer life.  Maggie is definitely worth it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Day Off the Farm

Today, our church sponsored Community Fest. We like to do fun things to involve the neighborhood kids.  I promised that Mr J and I would bring a couple of horses out for the event.

Someday, when I'm filthy stinking rich, I'll have one of those fancy trailers with living quarters up front.  Until then, I'll settle for the stock trailer.  Here's the rig, ready and waiting...

They had lots of inflatable play things.

Simulation only... not a REAL pirate ship.

I wish I had a picture of the one out front.  I didn't see it until we were leaving.  The kids were having a blast on it!  It looked like there was something in the middle to stand on, and you knocked your opponent off into the pit.  Something like this...

Someone had a couple of wagons hooked up for a hay ride around the fields.

Nekoda and Buddy were looking good and on their best behavior for the event!

They didn't like having to stay in their stalls for an hour beforehand...

I brushed them out and detangled their manes.  I wasn't about to let them out to roll!

They weren't the only horses there...

  There were a couple of minis on hand for the kids to pet.

There was even a pony pulling a cart!  The pony wasn't thrilled to hook up!

I had a perfect view of the action from under the nose of the horse trailer.

The kids had a blast.  It was cold and my joints are complaining now.  I'll probably be sore tomorrow from lifting all the big kids up into the saddle, but it was worth it.  I've never seen so many big smiles in one day!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Moonlight Ride

I told you about riding Nekoda and Buddy yesterday, but I didn't mention Maggie.  Do you think I could let the day end without taking her for a ride?  I'm sorry I have no pictures to show you.  Believe me... it's etched in my mind.

It was getting late when I finally brought the mares up from the front pasture.  I brought Maggie up last.  The sun had set, but there was still a bit of light coming from the western horizon.  I thought it was getting too dark, but decided to saddle her up anyway.  It was perfect!

Hubby had gone next door to sit around the fire with the neighbor guy.  I thought I'd ride Maggie over to visit, too.  Of course, Sadie had to tag along.

We rode in the long shadows down the lane.  After crossing the creek and turning toward the field between our houses, I looked up to behold the most magnificent October sky!  The background was deep slate gray, with a touch of gold trimming the black clouds.  The moon peeked out between the clouds in stripes.  It looked like a backdrop for an animated Halloween movie.

If only I had a helmet-cam...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Beautiful Day to Fall in Love

What have I done?  I knew better than to tempt fate.  I tried to keep my distance from him.  I thought that since he was moving soon, I was safe... I could let down my guard.  I let myself get close to him and now I can't let go.

Hubby with Buddy

I never rode Buddy before; he is Hubby's horse.  The first time I got on him was just for a minute to see how he acted after not being ridden for so long.  I didn't want to post an ad for him until I made sure he was still good under saddle.  He was his typical sweet self.  In less than 24 hrs I had him sold to a really good home.

Today was so beautiful!  I was really enjoying the outdoors.  I took the mares out to the front field, and kept Buddy in the back.  I figured he might as well get used to being alone. 

After they grazed a while, I brought Nekoda, my spotted mare, up to work her in the round pen.  Then I rode her for a few minutes before I took her back to the pasture.  I don't know what got into me...  I decided to saddle up Buddy and work him for a bit.  Then I climbed on...  He was so good.  I directed him to the gate of the round pen.  I thought if he would line up for me, I'd open the gate and we'd ride out into the yard for a bit.  He was perfect.  We rode around the house, and then I turned him toward the lane.  We crossed the creek and headed to the fields.  I fell in love.

Now I've got to call a man tomorrow and tell him he's not getting a horse...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Contemplating Maggie's Date with Death

No, she's not dying! That is, though, what this post is about. WARNING: If you want to read a happy, upbeat story about a horse, click one of my other posts.

It's been on my mind heavy for a couple of days now... ever since I got the letter. It's funny... most people would be worried about where they will live, what they have to get rid of... I guess you're lost. The letter was from the PBGC, better known as the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. It's that government entity that takes over when the company you gave your life to, defaults on your pension plan.

Whenever life throws a punch at us, the first thing out of Hubby's mouth is the expense of keeping horses. The goats clear out the woods, the chickens give us eggs, the cats keep the varmint population in check, Sadie supervises all the projects, but the horses do nothing for us... except give me the most awesome joy!

Of course, I would give up my horses to save our home, if it came to that. I don't worry so much about Buddy and Nekoda; they are great horses, still young enough to find a decent home. It's Maggie that troubles me. She's in great shape for her age, but she's her age. There are no guarantees in life, even a horse's life. As great as she is today, tomorrow could prove different. I don't know of anyone that would truly want a horse like her. She is a magnificent horse, that next week could be a liability. If someone readily took her, I would fear the worst... Mexican slaughter house. Yes, I know there are laws against transporting the horses across the border for slaughter. There are also laws about people crossing the border.

Seriously, I doubt anyone would even want Maggie for slaughter; not much meat on an almost-thirty-year-old horse. I haven't a clue what I'd do. In Kentucky I know of an area where people turned their horses loose because of the drought and sky-high hay prices. So the horses run wild. The herd would probably not except an old mare. She be kicked, bitten, run out of the good grass. She also requires lots of extra calories that she couldn't get in the wild. No, I'm afraid it would come to a choice I hope never to make.

I'm not a callous, cold-hearted person, but I do find it easier than most people to let go. I've buried my share of animals. It's sad, but when I know they've had a good life, I accept it as just another part of the journey. I always picture being with Maggie until the end. Once I got her back, I vowed to never let her go again!

I'm not wishing for Maggie to die soon; but I am hoping that when her time comes, it will be here, on this farm, with me by her side. I will cradle her head and tell her over and over how much I love her; and she will know it.

We will bury her here, under the pasture where she ran in the breeze and napped in the sun.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Day with Horses

Aside from it being a life-long dream of mine, there is another reason I so want to be a published author... I own horses. Horses cost money. Authors make money. If I have to work to afford the horses, I'd rather it be doing something I love for a change. I worked all my life at jobs I disliked, or even hated, because they paid well. Now, it would be great if I became a best-selling author and could afford the finest things in life; but all I really need is just enough money to keep my three horses. How much is that, you asked?

Well, if this cartoon where reversed...
it would come close.

I don't know of any horse owner that hasn't laughed at this cartoon, but then said, "Yeah, ain't that the truth!" I shared in a past blog about some of the expenses involved in horse ownership. Today was one of those regularly-scheduled, get-out-the-checkbook days. The farrier came to visit.

It was time for the horses to have their hooves trimmed. Buddy has had some trouble with his feet requiring a little extra attention for awhile. Last summer we had to put shoes on his front feet. I prefer my horses to be barefoot, but sometimes shoes are a necessity. When we had two horses trimmed and shoes on just Buddy's front feet, the bill was $85. Once they improved enough to drop the shoes, it only cost us $60 for the trim. But while we were working on his problem, we scheduled the appointments closer together than the average trim. Today it had been seven weeks since the last trim. Buddy's hooves look pretty good! I'm thrilled that we can wait eight weeks for the next trim, especially since now there are three horses. (That's $90, if you're keeping track.)

So if you're dreaming of owning your very own horse, add this to your info file for future reference. Lots of horse owners board their horses, so they don't have to think about the price of hay or grain; it's included in the board. But guess what? Trims are not. Vet bills are not. Supplements are not. There's just no way around it... Open your wallets wide!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fair Weather Goats

I love the view from my bedroom... I have French doors that open to a balcony that looks out over the goat pasture and woods. I was watching the goats today as Oreo led the others out across the pasture and into the woods. Noticing the black clouds rolling in, I knew it wouldn't be long before they headed back to their house.

Sure enough, I glanced out only minutes later to watch them running like mad back towards their shelter. At first I thought something had scared them or 'Daddy' was home. Then I saw the spots on the deck wood. It had started raining.

I have to laugh at them. My horses love to stand out in the rain... Probably because the flies leave them alone and it's nice and cool. The goats don't seem to see those advantages. If it's too windy, they go inside! They will never stand out in the rain.

I remember the first snow fall we had after the we got the babies. They were born in the spring and had never seen the white stuff. That winter, they awoke one morning to find that someone had taken their pasture and replaced it with something strange.

We had six at the time. They all stood crammed together at the door analyzing the new thing. It took awhile, but finally one of them stuck their foot out to touch it. He jumped back! Wow! His foot went right through! It was cold too.

It probably took them three hours to finally trust the stuff enough to come out. Now they don't mind the snow once it's on the ground... Just don't let it drop on them!

A little side note... Every time I saw my blog's title picture, I felt guilty that my beloved Maggie wasn't in it. So today I spent a few minutes and made a new title pic with all three horses. It's not the greatest pose, but she can't feel jealous now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Letting Maggie go free...

Remember that old saying... If you love something, set it free. Blah, blah, blah?

Our best and biggest pasture is in the front field... down the driveway, across the creek, up the hill to the gate. On a hot day, it's a long walk to make two or three trips with the horses. Lately, I have been taking Maggie and Buddy together. They walk nicely together. Hubby takes my stubborn mare.

We went out to bring them in last night, and I wondered aloud (again)... "You know, I think Maggie would just follow us back to the barn." I've said this before, but Hubby (being not as spontaneous, a.k.a. stupid as I) would always say, "It's not worth taking the chance." He's right... she could run the other way and be near the road, or take off through the neighbors fields. So I said, "I bet she would..."

Now the only thing worse than someone irresponsibly impulsive, is having the other person agree with them... Hubby says, "Why don't you try it?"

Hubby led Buddy out the gate. I followed with Nekoda and left the gate open behind me. "Kiss, kiss. Come on girl." I held my breath as Maggie came through the gate, crossed the drive to the grassy side, then turned and looked toward the road, then the open fields. Freedom. Then she turned back and followed me home to the barn. She's such a good horse.

They stayed in the paddock today. We decided to put them out for overnight since it's so hot. Dare I try going the other way with Maggie free to go as she pleased? I'm so glad she's back... She's such a good girl!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Green Chickens

OK, we don't really have green chickens. We will have green eggs soon, but that's not what this post is about. But since we're talking chickens now, here's a couple of pics of the 'babies':
You can still see some baby fluff on the rear ends, but they are mostly covered with their adult feathers now. One of the roosters is trying desperately to crow. So far it's embarrassing.

Anyway, back to the subject I intended... This is just a short update on living green. I couldn't resist showing off this use for those infamous five-gallon buckets. Yep, those are green beans behind the pile of cucumbers.
Here is more of our repurposing in practice:
Hubby finally put his walls up for the feed storage room in the big hen house. I think the old skid boards make a beautifully rustic wall. He was going to screen the top-right section, but then decided, 'Why waste screen when I have so much wood from these skids?' So he just spaced them to allow ventilation without allow chickens to pass through.

Of course, I couldn't post without including this pic of the herd I shot while at the chicken house...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Keeping Horses 101

If you think there is the slightest chance you will ever own your own horse, start collecting these:
Five gallon buckets are priceless on a farm. Fortunately, by building our home, we inherited quite a few in the process. Drywall mud, paint, and numerous other products come packaged in these. We use them for lots of things, but in this case it's a water bucket for Maggie. When I separate her so that she gets her fair share of hay, I must provide 'portable' water.

Water is the most important thing to provide a horse. It must have a continuous supply of good water. Now our definition of good does not necessarily coincide with a horse's definition. They don't want softened, filtered water. They prefer straight-from-the-well nasty smelling stuff with floating things. They are also picky about the color of the bucket. We've found that some pickier drinkers will drink out of a dark colored bucket but not a white one!

The problem with water buckets is that horses knock them over a lot. They also can drink five gallons in the blink of an eye! So for the area where they spend a big chunk of their time, you'll probably prefer one of these:
This small trough holds over twenty-five gallons. On the other side of the wood fence is a pump. I keep it under the fence so that it can be filled by one person on the other side. we have a larger one in the front pasture.

After water, food is next on the must have list. I have a older horse that has special nutrition needs so I use two different kinds of feed. I pour the feed from the fifty-pound bags into these metal trash cans. You can just lean the opened bag on a wall or bale. Maggie gets one pound of each kind twice a day. In the winter she eats more. The other horses each get up to one pound at each feeding depending on how much pasture time they've had.
The blue bucket is for water. It has a flat back to hang up against a wall and has a heater in the bottom. Horses can't drink ice and they won't drink much cold water in the winter. We use these buckets when the horses have to stay in their stalls due to weather. We also have a heater for the trough outside. The green, red, and purple buckets are for their feed. You could use any bucket large enough for a horse to comfortably stick his head in, but these hang over the stall doors or the 2x4s of the wood fence. We use a different color for each horse... Less germ-passing.

Just like people, horses don't always get everything they need from their food source. They need supplements. All horses need salt freely available. I have a place to pour loose salt and mineral salt for them to access anytime they are in the paddock. You can also provide these in block form for the horses to lick. This is a mineral block (minerals combined with salt) sculpted by their tongues:

There are many kinds of feed available for horses, but their main source for their daily caloric intake should always be hay or grass. There are people that feed a complete feed to their stall-kept horses, but these horses are at a higher risk for colic and some other nasty things. I believe that the most natural environment is always the best.

We are fortunate to have some awesome hay supplies right next door... Well, actually a few acres away. We don't have to haul our hay on the road to bring it home. Talk about buying locally! We watched them plant these fields and know the quality. We've already got more than a year's supply stocked up.
I don't like carrying a half bale of hay out to the horses, so I've got this wagon to make things easier. I made the cover out of an old pick-up bed cover to keep the cats out of the loose bales.

Now, if you don't want to mess with storing a lot of hay in your barn, just make sure you have plenty of this:This is our side pasture. We have three pastures that we rotate the horses through. It keeps the grass healthier than letting them use the same pasture over and over. It takes quite a lot of pasture to feed horses. Plus, we don't let them out on the pastures when the ground is wet. Lastly, the grass doesn't grow here in the winter. That's why all the hay.

That should do it, right? Nope. Some horses have other nutritional needs as well. Buddy, our gelding doesn't have the best feet when left alone. They require special attention to stay tip-top. A horses feet are extremely important. The bucket on the left is a hoof supplement. It contains things that help his hooves stay healthy.
The jug in the middle is full of their favorite treats. If they see me pick this one up, they'll follow me anywhere! I keep this scale next to the feed cans. I don't like to guess about their rations. I've found it's really easy to start scooping out a little more and a little more. This way I know just how much they are really getting.

I don't just want my horses to be healthy; I also want them to look good. That requires some special tools. Here are the ones I use most:
The bottle is a mane conditioner for detangling. Also in the bucket are a mane comb and a face brush. It is softer for delicate areas. You can never have too many hoof picks. The black-handled one is convenient for tying on the saddle to take on trails or stick one in spots around the farm where you always seem to need them. The green-handled one also has a brush. These are for picking stones, mud, whatever out of a horses hoof. Extremely important for foot health. The red-handled cutters are for the wire-tied bales. Gotta keep that close by. The blue-handled brush is for manes. The gray & white bristled scrub brush-looking things are for brushing dirt from their coats. One is stiff, the other soft. The oval-toothed thing is a rubber curry brush. I use it first to remove mud or loose hair. It also lifts the dirt to be brushed away. The other red-handled thing is a shedding blade. You wouldn't believe how much hair falls out every spring! This tool is a life saver for removing all that mess. I also use electric trimmers and other tools, but these are my daily needs.

So why so many grooming tools? Because horses love to roll in mud!

Since you can't just let horses roam around the neighborhood, you need to contain them. Horses are very easy to keep in, unlike our goats. We have some regular fencing and sections of wood fence in areas for certain reasons, but most of our pastures and paddock are surrounded by two strands of electric fence. The horses learn fast to stay away from it. Here is the power unit inside the barn:
This unit will take care of one hundred miles of fence. We have a solar unit that will do ten miles. That's not a lot when you consider that each strand counts separately, so the five strands we have for the goats' area adds up really fast. Plus we put it around the garden too.

Horses also need shelter. It doesn't have to be anything fancy... just a place to get out of the wind and sun. Here is our run-in shelter behind the barn in the paddock:
We don't have any shelters in the pastures, so we don't leave then out there in bad weather or for too long on a really hot day.

This is our paddock area around the barn. There is access to the side and back pastures from here. Inside the sliding door are the stalls.

You don't have to have stalls, but if you do, they need to be sturdy. We only have two stalls but three horses, so we have to figure something out before it gets icy outside! Inside the stalls and on the floor in front of the stalls are thick rubber mats. The barn floor is too smooth for horses to walk on and they need cushioning to stand on for very long.
If you have stalls, you have to use some type of bedding material. We tried using the compressed corn cob stuff, but my mares like to eat it! So now we're back to using sawdust. We have a source to get it free. A mold shop saves all their sawdust for us. We have to ask them what kind of wood it is as some woods are not good for horses. If you keep horses in stalls half the time, you'll need quite a large supply. We have a friend that gets it by the dump truck load!
You need to keep the stalls clean. Here is what I use to clean them:
The manure rake or fork allows the clean bedding to fall through so you don't waste it. We used to have a manure spreader to distribute the manure fairly evenly over the pastures. Now we compost all of it. That's all we use in the gardens. The compost pile is by the barn so the wheel barrow is all I need to move it out. Notice the snow shovel behind the wheel barrow? For heavy cleaning.

Not a very good picture, but this is my tack rack. These handy hooks are inexpensive and slide in the gaps between the ridges in the barn siding and the cross boards. My stuff is scattered right now as we're doing a rearranging of the barn, but most of it is here. From left to right are halters and lead ropes, bridles and reins, a spare cinch, and Nekoda's big-headed halted and fly mask.
The fly mask is a see-thru mesh that Velcros around their heads to keep flies off their eyes. Some cover the ears as well.

This is a free-standing saddle rack. It is handy for sitting in an aisle to ready your gear, or to take along.
Another not-so-good picture, but here are 3 of my saddles and a blanket. Different horses require different saddles. I have more, including an English saddle, but we won't go there today.

The one on the top left is Maggie's. She has extremely high withers (shoulder) and average saddles do not fit her. Her saddle does not fit the other horses. An extra expense when you have multiple horses. The one on the right is borrowed to try on Nekoda. Seems to work well, but have only tried it once with Ali riding. Both are part leather and part synthetic. That makes them lighter and easier on my knees. The bottom saddle is all leather, but kid-butt sized. It's for the grands to use. Under the blanket is a really nice vented pad that goes on the horse's back; then comes the blanket, and then the saddle.
These saddles are on a rack that hangs from the stall walls.

This is a cinch. It's what holds the saddle on the horse. Very important!

I have several different styles of whips. I don't whip my horses with them. The shorter one on the right is shown in a hook on the barn door. This is my persuader. When Nekoda wants to rush the door on her stall, I put this across her chest and she waits. When Maggie just stands there, I point with this to indicate where I want her to go. She listens to this stick very well. If they won't back off when they're supposed to, I use this to tap their chests. Just think of it as an extension of my arm. It keeps me at a safe distance from their feet, but still allows me to touch them.

This is my training whip. One of first exercises you do in a round pen is make the horse run in a circle. Sounds simple enough... Some horses do not want to run in circles, in fact, most do not! Simply swinging this cord behind them will encourage them to move, stop, turn, etc.

This whip is several feet long without the cord. I sometimes tie a plastic grocery bad to the end for training. This blog is not going to be long enough to explain why... You'll just have to trust me on that one.

When you buy a horse, the seller can sometimes provide transportation to get your horse home or to a boarding facility. But if you want to travel with your horse, you'll need a towing vehicle with a good hitch.This is called a gooseneck hitch. Notice it's not on the bumper? It's for a gooseneck trailer; not to be confused with a fifth wheel, which is what a semi-truck has.

This is our trailer. There are many styles to choose from. Some fancy ones have living quarters in them. This style is called a stock trailer. This one is a 3-horse slant. It can be opened up inside to haul livestock to market. It has swinging partitians that latch in place to haul 3 horses, diagonally. It's hard to see from the pic, but there is a small door on this side to access the tack area. There are built in racks for saddles, bridles, etc. The front end can be used to haul hay for the horses.

This is a round pen. It is used for training horses. It can also be used for riding lessons or to quarantine a horse.

This is a bootjack. A necessity for me!While standing on the ridged part, you slip the heel of your muddy boot into the fork. It allows you to slide your boots off without getting the yucky stuff all over your hands.