Fake Spring

Weather has been up and down here. Warmer then cold again. Today it was 20F at midnight, sleet, so things were pretty slippery this morning. SUPPOSED to get up to 65F by afternoon! My poor garden bulbs are wondering if they should retreat back under the dirt again! Dirt is saturated, leaves marks when i drive the tractor to spread manure. No leaves or stick cleanup done yet in the yard.

We have gotten in a few drives with each Pair during March. Hair is coming off by the bushel! We toss it in the spreader, which gives the birdies plenty of nest material to use. Always fun to see hair constructed nests in the Fall when the leaves come down. But I feel I should blanket horses on cold days, now that they have so much less hair. I don’t, but will bring them in earlier if it is raining or strong, cold winds. Kind of like the migrating birds, you want to say “Not yet! Don’t come north yet. Horses, don’t shed hair until it is truly warmer!” Ha ha

The first couple drives were really forward! We took precautions by setting reins in second bar, in case someones brains fell out. Didn’t happen, though they were excited to head down the road, see new things! They made good time over the distance. Less excitement with each drive after, though they are still moving big, times are slower than the first drive… Sitting in the carriage makes me wear several layers to stay warm in the wind, not moving. And weather changes fast. Sunny turns to cloudy and windy pretty quick some days. Still all walking, doing about 4 miles per outing, starting to build fitness. They may get warm, damp under the breastcollars but not really sweaty.

Shortened some manes, bridlepaths. Waiting for a warm day to give baths and do some clipper grooming on heads. It would probably need a new set of blades for each horse to cut well before bathing, dirty as they are now even after brushing and vacuuming . Silt is just ground into the skin. Hard to groom them very clean with the mud we have.

The barnyard in front just needs a bit of burn pile cleanup before husband can start long lining there. Moving things has cleared a large space to work in. The round pen is just too wet, not big enough for the length of his lines. And while good for round pen things, is too enclosed for long line work.

Got some dirt from 2 pasture fields for a soil sample test yesterday. Need to get dirt from the other two fields for their soil sample test. It is going to take a couple days of drying the dirt, mixing all the pieces together, before I can take it for testing. Been a couple years since testing pastures so my fertilizer needs may have changed. Hoping to get fertilizer done soon, just waiting on green-up here. Farm news forecasting a wet and cool spring season. That may delay things too. Horses were looking longingly over the gate as I went around the field digging. Sorry guys, way too wet and no grass anyway.

We got our boards back from the sawmill, cut from trees we had to take down for the new barn we put up in Dec. I was surprised how much we got with just 5 logs! 560 board feet, some of which was planks, really 2" x 10" dimensions. Not sure what we will use them for, but boards are always come in handy on a farm. We thought we had Shagbark Hickory and Elm, but the sawmill guy told us the “Elm” was really Pignut Hickory, also known as Smoothbark Hickory! We were quite surprised, did not know we had that kind of tree around! Sawmill guy said you can often have several type Hickory growing together, they like the same growing locations. He really admired the wood, as did some visiting guys while they were bundling up the boards for loading. It is very white, tight grained, with a few speckles on the length. I have to think this was the Hickory preferred for carriage building “back in the day.” Light, flexible wood for parts under stress like shafts, poles, spokes on wheels. We had hoped to get some blanks to make a couple new poles, but trees were not big enough to get away from the heartwood that is less strong. So everything was cut into boards and planks.

We are enjoying the “longer” days with more driving time. I look at my watch and “Good grief, it is 8:45P!” Not quite dark yet! Eating after 9P. The new puppy is very entertaining, though he does wake me to go out at oh-dark-thirty! Better than cleaning a crate!! He is gaining weight, probably for a growth spurt. He is a Shelty, developing his coat layers. The guard hairs are standing out with length, so if the sun is behind he looks like he has a halo! Not had a dog with hair like that before. His behaviour is improving daily, loves to fetch. Fairly bold, forward for a Shelty when meeting new people, going new places. He runs in big circles, going very fast. Sometimes centrifugal force rolls him on a turn while the other dog and I watch and laugh. Puppy jumps back up and takes off again. So much energy!!

Anyone else getting in any fun horse time? Or even just enjoying being outside?

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I drove my mini last weekend for the first time this Spring. Kept it short and simple as he had sinus surgery in December and I wanted to make sure he would wear the bridle without any discomfort. I was pretty sure he’d be fine and he was, but horses being horses,you never know. Lots of shedding here, one mini shedding moderately, the welsh just starting, and the mini that I drove is shedding in fistfuls and looks disgusting. He’ll be clipped soon and I can’t wait to see what color bay he’ll be this year. Some years he is dark and dappled, others years he’s bright bay. It’s like getting a new mini every Spring :slight_smile:.

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I’m joining all of my plants…a week of spring weather was followed by three days of screaming wind and 20 degrees for a high. I think the daffodils have turned around and gone back underground, certainly the grass has…which is very bad…I miscalculated on hay last year, my supplier’s small bale weight average was 35lbs not 55lbs…it adds up (or down)
The boys are shedding, although honestly neither Shire really Sheds like most horses do. They have lots of feathers but they never seem to grow the yak coat. Still itchy though! I’ve been working on ground driving with the young boy, he won’t be three till May. And he is definitely a slow growing boy, he looks more like coming two; those joints are nowhere near closing up yet. To be honest, he got a little feral over the winter; but he likes to do things and is so easy to teach. Big boy would like to start doing some real work, but the weather and my work have not been conducive to it. He has been a saint though in showing the young boy that things are ok, and also that randy teenage behavior isn’t necessary!
I love, love your wood. There is nothing that can beat slow grown hardwoods. We have become so used to the plantation grown soft woods for lumber, that seeing real wood is mind bending. We are in the process of cutting some structural timbers for a rebuild of part of our barn; a native grown oak 6"x6" is a wonder. And the beauty in a ‘throw away’ piece of birch or ash (used to make sure the mill is running straight) is amazing! I’ve got a centimeter thick, 2 foot wide; 8 foot long pine board; we cut it on a whim just to see what the mill could do for precision; it makes plywood look so pathetic…

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Love reading of everyone’s Spring.
I’ve had the same rollercoaster temps @goodhors describes.
30s last week, some sunny, brisk days, most gray & dreary. Even a light overnight snowfall, gone by noon.
Then today 61 :open_mouth:, accompanied by drizzling rain.
Back to 40s the rest of the week w/nighttimes in the high 30s.
I’ve had my big pasture closed to keep the mini from repeating his Near Founder experience of 2yrs ago.
He’s muzzled from 7A-4P and so far not a hint of lame.
This morning I declared it open & all 3 had to be called in for dinner. Grass is still more suggestion than reality, but they made a beeline after morning grain.
Horse & pony wouldn’t come back out for the AM treats. Mini never misses a chance :smirk:

All 3 of mine have started shedding in earnest.
The dog undercoat rake I use is pulling out huge mats from all. Still plenty left, especially on the mini.
I sweep the mats into a pile for the barnbirds to use in nests.

I was tempted to harness the mini today, but Sloth prevailed.
I did laundry instead.
Club’s first drive is scheduled for Sunday, but forecast keeps switching from 50 with rain to dry but 40.
Neither tempts me.
Another month & I expect things to have settled into Actual Spring :+1:

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Tomorrow is a sad day for the equines, because today was the day that the muzzles/halters were cleaned off and prepared for their 2022 debut. No April Fool’s for them, just the saddest sads that ever sadded… :joy:

Otherwise it’s just been a far too brief competition season this year, thanks to late summer rotator cuff surgery. I only made it to two events this winter but one of them was Live Oak so I figure my year is pretty darn good so far! After that I went to a four-day DAP clinic which was amazing, My world was rocked in pretty much every phase and I came out of the clinic with a ton of homework to build on the progress we made. Originally I had a plan just to start back to ridden dressage after Live Oak, but I’m revisiting my weekly riding/driving schedule to add more driving days so I can continue to work on perfecting all the useful lessons I learned.

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DMK, so great when a clinic really makes you think and you learn new ideas! Sounds like it was a good season, wrist is better too. New schedule could really be fun with the changes!.

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