Sunday, October 23, 2016

Lip-Smacking Good

I went over to see Amos and Levi yesterday to work on their feet....

Amos is looking really good and is doing very well.  It's a little hard to tell because the weather has turned vile and no one was precisely "photo ready", but you can still see a lovely horse under the mud:)

Amos is really coming out of his shell and his true personality, both quirky and charming, is coming out.  He got a couple of apple flavored treats along the way and the whole time I was working on his feet, he was rhythmically slurping his tongue trying to get every smidgen of flavor out of each treat - like a kid with a lollipop.  I've never seen a horse get so much out of so little and he had me cracking up while I was working on him.  Silly boy.

Someone (Rebecca??) asked me if there was something odd about his hind legs.  The answer is: sort of.  He is a bit sickle hocked, which basically means that there is a little more forward curve in his hocks than is ideal....

...and his left hind bows out just a bit.

Technically speaking, these are conformation flaws.

Do they matter?

Since this horse is in his mid twenties, is completely sound, extremely fit and has literally thousands of hard-working miles on these legs, I sure don't think so.

Dave sent me a photo of Amos from before he bought him....
You can see that he was pure muscle with not a single ounce of extra weight on him.  He was driving 30 miles a day and has done that for most of his life.  We can all only hope to be as tough as he is at any age.

More about the feet coming up since I got off on a tangent with this post.....


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wrap Up

A few last photos from the symposium....

This was Ben Hart from the UK donkey sanctuary working with this lovely white donkey.  This donkey was pretty well convinced that he did not want his feet picked up, but he eventually did.

I confess, I took a bit of a liking to this donkey.  he was quite a handful and had very strong opinions.  I'm a sucker for those types.  However, I made a point of not spending much time with these adoptable donkeys who were looking for homes.  My barn is full and my hay supply limited so I avoided them.  Sadly, I don't think this donkey found a new home and had to make the terribly long trip back to Texas.

These two beauties also made the long trip back to Texas, but at least they got to stay together.  They were good buddies.

These smaller donkeys all got adopted and left for new homes here in the Northeast.

One of the highlights of the symposium were these mammoth donkeys who were there to give demonstrations.

A couple of them were offering rides and I skipped one of the classes on Saturday to do this instead....

It was worth it:)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

An Exchange of Dragons

Many of you will remember my Old Red Dragon...

It was a beast of a tractor and a real workhorse, but it had it's problems.  I worked around its issues for a lot of years, but it finally got to a point where I knew a massive meltdown was looming in our future.  After one particularly epic two week battle to complete what should have been a minor repair, I said enough and sold it.  I sold it cheap, but consoled myself with the knowledge that I had avoided the major implosion I knew was on the horizon.  The better part of valor and all that.

I still need a tractor to keep up with everything around here though so the search began to find a new dragon to help out with farm maintenance.   I can't even begin to tell you all the twists and turns that went into finding a new tractor and the final result still has me scratching my head and pondering the mysterious ways of the world.

One of the stops along the path was this little Ford 3000....

It ran great, but it too had its issues.  In particular, it had steering and hydraulic problems.  It took massive amounts of brute strength to make it go in anything other than a straight line and would not hold the mower up while it was running, which meant I had to keep one had on the hydraulic lever and try to steer with the other.  After 30 minutes of mowing, my mangled shoulder would be seized up, my hands would be numb and I would have exhausted an entire month's quota of swear words.  

Dragons will do that to you.

This dragon and I did not get along so, I put it up for sale.  And waited.  And waited.  And re-posted it.  And waited.  I waited all summer and had pretty much resigned myself to shipping it to an auction and taking my chances.  I was about to delete the sale posting and, instead, my finger went to the the renew button all by itself.

The next morning, a guy called me up and bought it - just like that.

Dragons are unpredictable.

This is where Ben and hoof trimming comes in.  Yes Ben, definitely NOT a dragon....

It turns out that Ben's last person is a tractor mechanic.  I was over at his place working on trimming hooves and I asked him to keep an eye out for a tractor for me.  A few days later he called me up and asked if I really wanted a new tractor.  A friend of his had passed away last year and his son had gotten in touch about selling his father's tractor and was I interested?


And that is a very brief, very annotated version of how two years of tractor drama, mammoth donkeys and farrier work all came together in a mysterious, cosmic, mish-mash of happenstance and mechanical battles that would put St. George to shame to plunk this pretty blue dragon onto my farm.

Isn't she beautiful?  Eat you heart out St. George.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Donkey Time

'No one ever told me how exhausting being a celebrity is."

"There're always people who want to come visit and hang out with me."

"Even when all a fellow wants is a nice, quiet nap in the sun, there's no peace."

"Especially from the paparazzi.  It is a high price to pay and I wonder if it is worth it. "

"I'll have to give that some thought.  I find that is usually the best thing to do.  Just take my time and think things through.  One mustn't be hasty.  And if the paparazzi get bored and wander off, that is fine with me."