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Spring Happenings

Everyone else just kind of “getting thru the days” right now? Weather is having such wide swings you need to check Temps before getting dressed! 16F last week, then up to 50Fs that day, back to the 20Fs that night. Wild changes! Horses are drinking well, added daily salt has to be helping them stay hydrated. Some are actually biting off additional chunks of their salt blocks in their stalls at night!

We have been getting in drives between snow and rainstorms. Mostly walking to the dirt road, then trotting a couple miles. They have been hanging onto their hair until last weekend, still not shedding like the old horse. We had enough for making a large pony from him Saturday! His star had been shedding for a couple weeks, so you got covered in white hair if you even got close. Usually the working horses start their shedding after being sweated a few times. But like everything else, nothing has been normal this year!

They are going along mostly well, still looking for excitement along the road though! “Was that a bag? Those are new car tracks in the mud! I HATE orange trash cans!!” It does keep husband on his toes!! Ha ha We walked a different road last night and they were even more “looky” there. Didn’t want to get very far from home with heavy rain predicted, so it was an all-walk day on pavement. They have about worn out their winter shoes, so new shoes with regular road studs will happen next week. Then it will probably snow because the daffodils are starting to open!!

Mud is bad. I have to move the tire feeders out to the arena tomorrow so horses can stand on sand that drains the rain water away. May help dry their hooves a bit more. Drainage ditch was pretty full with water racing downhill across the hayfields into the road ditch before water went into the tube under the road, on into our ditch… Lots of water last night and this morning. But it is all trying to leave fast, so no water up over the driveway. We could kayak in the woods, the lowest point on the farm, which is beside the buried part of our big drain tube. The woods collects water from barn roofs, paddock runoff, before water drains off into the drain tube.

Been trying to “bond” with my old leather sewing machine, but we are still in conflict! I can get about 10 nice stitches, then the lower side makes loops with the needle, not tight stitches. Thread wads up around the bobbin, needing to get cut loose, then re-thread bobbin threads in the shuttle. Some kind of tension issue I think. More fiddling with my knobs while trying to treadle to keep fabric moving. This is way more difficult than rubbing head and stomach at the same time!! Ha ha Machine worked OK when I brought it home after servicing, not sure why it went “off kilter” during previous sewing sessions. I have the manual, they sure expect a person to fix any issue using the book!! I am resisting returning to the service guy. Machine is cast iron, about 100 pounds, he is 60 miles away. He had it working well when I picked it up. I just have to figure the correct settings again.

If we get a couple clear days, I need to pull out stored items in the carriage shed and make a pile to haul to Martin’s Auction later this month. Not sure exactly what I have back in there that can go. May not be much but every little bit gone gives me extra room! If it is back there, we are not using it. And going to Martin’s will be fun just getting away! DD has said she can horse and pet sit for us, we will be gone FAST!!

Working on some crafts too, adds variety to my rainy days. Have killed 2 sewing machines and they have been really slow getting them back. That is holding up one project with no embroidery stitches on the machines I have left.

I have sewed two bird netting curtains for the barn aisles. The wretched finches have suddenly decided to start pecking off the barn roof insulation!! We have managed to drive most of them out but they slip back in when doors are open to bring horses in at night. Doors will need to stay open when we start keeping horses in days, night turnout. I am hoping these giant curtains can be closed during the days, keep birds out, not nesting In the barn rafters anymore. Husband has his doubts, but is willing to put up the cable and help hang them. I will run some ribbon thru the holes for visibility, it is very fine netting, hard to see. I caught one cat in the netting while sewing the edging to hang it. Claws were a bit long, but she didn’t have to jump on the pile and roll around!! She got wadded up pretty good, then howled to be set free while I was laughing!!


I’ve been in Hibernation mode & crazy UpDown weather isn’t helping :rage:
70! yesterday when I headed for Shipshe to pick up my rehabbed cart.
50 today :cold_face:.
At least no rain today or in the coming week. {knockingwoodlikemad}
Weststar traded my bench seat for this:

I’ll be riding in style & comfort :grin:
Had Faux Grandson (who drove me there, through on&off downpours) hold the shafts while I got in to test the balance.
He reported very little weight, so mini should be happy.
One small problem :roll_eyes:
I’m short, seat cushion is dense, my feet don’t rest on the deck. I need to cobble a footrest, or drive with my feet on the dash.
Club has a drive pencilled in for the 23rd.
If it’s decent weather I’ll roadtest both the cart & new bit (fixed-cheek Liverpool).
I ground drove mini & he had no issue with the bit. Bought for the I Said WHOA! NOW! on 1st ring capability. He’s good, but sometimes on the roads, Whoa gets me “I’ll be right with you”, I want instant. :smirk:

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I am jealous of your drives. I laughed at the orange trash cans. My Hackney pony hated white trash bags with a passion, but was fine with black ones. And he resented political signs of the party I support, liked the other guys just fine. I tried to persuade him that he had it all wrong, but his mind was made up. Plus he had been old enough to vote for years when I got him.

Loved the cat in the bird netting. We had netting in our loafing sheds, but the pigeons were tough on it.

My husband suggested recently that I find someone local who drives, and pay them for an occasional drive (with the owner on board–I’m too out of practice and too disabled now to lease and go solo). I’m still considering it, but since we had four inches of snow on Tuesday, it’s a bit too soon in our season to do much.


I guess you’re not planning on passengers! I’m sure your mini appreciates that.

I used to take my daughter out occasionally when I was driving Crackers, but could only do that because she weighed next to nothing. If I took another full size adult, we did very short drives on flat sections of roads. My father wanted me to take him out the last time I saw him (many years ago), and he didn’t want to stick close to home where there was a bit of flat road. He was very annoyed that I made him get out and walk both the uphills and downhills. He had no consideration for my pony.


Mini is The Little Engine That Could!
When he was barely 3 I had him carrying me & 6’2" friend who probably weighed 200#+.
Add me & he was hauling near 500# w/cart :grimacing:
On long drives - 5mi+ - w/my Club, he keeps up with the Big Horses. They trot, he trots.
I can drop the lines, he keeps going, nose nearly touching the vehicle in front of us.
He’s a Team Player :blush:
I usually just let him decide.
Except in the case of the above-mentioned Whoa :roll_eyes:
But yeah, nobody but ME in the cart now :grin:
I do have my eye on a spiffy aluminum Mini Marathon from Canada.
It would mean selling my showcart, but :woman_shrugging:
How cute is this?
& @180#, not too much for him.

I covet that marathon carriage! How absolutely gorgeous.

Crackers could keep up with the big guys, too. I was just careful with him because our roads were very steep and the gravel was deep in places. And he was 22 when I got him.

Salt, my large pony, couldn’t be bothered to keep up with anyone. I went out with two people on gaited horses (my neighbor and my daughter), and I was driving Salt. The two horses kept circling back to find Salt and me. We were playing around in a huge field, so at least we could see each other, but they sure outstripped us.


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Isn’t that droolworthy?
I posted about it on a Driving FB page & the Mfr got good reviews.

My Bugs turns 9 in May.
He’s been such a good “kid”, I’m hoping his “teenage” years only get better :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I bet he will be a fine teenager. Wish I could meet him in person, but my days of getting to your neck of the woods ended when we moved from South Carolina.


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:blush: I’d love to add you to my List of COTHers I’ve met IRL.
Bugs is a good one :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
Very experienced Driving friends tell me I won the Mini Lottery :laughing:

I’d love to meet you sometime, too, but I think we did all of the traveling we’re gonna do in the eastern half of the US. But who knows, we’ve been most everywhere in the west, too, after living in Colorado for 25 years. Except I haven’t made it to Oregon yet. We keep planning trips there and canceling them–just canceled another one. :angry:

I agree that you won the mini lottery. He’s such a good boy.


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Good to hear your stories too. Sorry you are not closer so we could give you both a ride when we go out. @2DogsFarm, your improved seating looks quite cushy! Cup holders will be handy during picnic drives!

You might just take a piece of wood the height you need, paint it black, run a couple bolts and washers (also painted black) thru the wood, bolt it to the floor mesh as a foot rest. A 4x4 or a 2x4 with corners rounded off, make nice, solid foot rests to keep legs from dangling. Give you a solid place to push against to keep your seat during a drive. Easy, cheap, fairly invisible in the floor area. For fancy, a couple angled pieces of steel with a narrow board across them, bolted on, painted black, also may work as a foot rail. We did that on the Road Cart after husband changed the seat from flat to a wedge and neither of us could reach the floor! Ha ha

We needed the seat height after changing horse breeds, modifying cart to fit bigger horse, so we could see ahead of her out on the road. It is amazing how much you can change things on a simple wood road cart, for a small cost, to suit a very different horse! Husband got creative with the seat back, since folding setbacks could not work now with the wedge. Made a kind of “rail” to go around sides and back, like seen on coaches. Dresses the cart up a bit. We only use that cart now for a few drives with green horses. Husband can’t stand the shafts movement we get on the big moving horses. Makes his whole body hurt! One of those “Once you change to 4-wheelers, there is NO going back to 2-wheelers!”

That pictured 4-wheeler is SERIOUSLY cute!! I might need to eat some lemon-drops to counteract the sweetness of seeing Bugs and you out driving in one!! Ha ha Are they a local, Indiana, maker? Can you share the name? I get asked about small, mini sized vehicles all the time. It would be nice to have someone to send folks to. I am not wild about the mesh types of 4-wheelers, though they are really light.


Michigan is a place I get to once in a while. We’re trying to do a trip this summer. DH is from Detroit, and his best friend since 8th grade lives near Traverse City. Of course, I much prefer Traverse City to Detroit, and we haven’t been in Detroit in years.

I think the last time we were in Traverse City was two or three years ago. We were living in South Carolina. We went north through New York, finally saw Niagara Falls, took the Trans Canada HIghway for a ways, then came south through Sioux St. Marie.

Our friends near Traverse City came here last year, so it’s our turn to go to them.

I’ll let you know if it actually happens. We keep making trip plans and canceling them (because of my horrible health, unfortunately).


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I added to my last post. I had to leave my tablet and it posted the reply! Wasn’t quite finished yet.

I hope you feel better. Good enough to make the trip.
DH & I were in Traverse City many years ago. Well, nearby at a ski resort. IIRC, Porcupine Mtn. It was a State Park & closed for lack if visitors, but staff there were nice enough to run the lift for us. We’d get off, they’d turn it off, we’d ski down & they’d turn it on again :blush:
Skiing was great, really deep powder & only we made trails.
Sweet memory.
:thinking: Maybe I’m a COTH Matchmaker… But @goodhors is somewhere in MI. Just sayin’ :wink:

@goodhors What you described for the footrest is what I was thinking of: 4X4 cut into a wedge & painted, then bolted in place. But I like the rubber wedge too.
Cart is Canadian, something Voiture.
I posted on the FB page I saw it - Carriages For Sale? -, asking if anyone had one of theirs. Got good reviews :+1:.
Then I researched freight charges & they were surprisingly low.
If I sell my wood showcart it would nearly cover both.
OTOH, I’d like to keep the showcart, but… :money_with_wings:

Found the Carriagemaker :grin:
Voiture BP out of Quebec

@2DogsFarm Thanks for the site. Is the one you like the Bono? No side or rear pictures, but it looks the closest by being shiny and low weight! Not quite matching your description, but close. Shafts match!! Ha ha

@RMJacobs We are more central Michigan, not as “north” as Traverse City. Do time your visit to miss the big horse show in Traverse City. Goes on for days, big name folks attending for jumping money. Unless you can stay with your friends there is NO place to stay. Some folks rent out their homes to equestrians and then leave town!! I think it lasts almost a month. Not sure of cost or schedule, but the Ferry goes from Wisconsin to Michigan on a regular basis. I think Milwaukee to Muskegon or Ludington. Not really fast but saves driving thru Chicago and up around the Lake. Like throwing in a cruise during vacation! Ha ha A side trip to Baraboo (sp?) Wisconsin has the Great Circus Museum with the fancy old wagons and all kinds of circus memorabilia from when they traveled the country.

Holler when you get trip things arranged, maybe we could meet or you could come visit.

Upthread is the pic I grabbed. I think it’s called The Duster?

DH & I took that ferry, on the same skitrip!
We had planned on another ski resort, on the WI side, but they had no snow & suggested the ferry. At that time it docked in Ludington. We were the sole passengers & they gave us a barebones room, but no food concession was available for the 4h trip :grimacing:

Yep, I know where Goodhors is. That was why I mentioned that trip.

That ski trip sounds wonderful. DH and I have had some experiences where we expected crowds and it was just us. This happened at Lochleven Castle in Scotland in 2009, where there was only one other person on the boat to the castle other than DH, DD and me. It was great exploring with no distractions, as the other person was British and very polite. It also happened when we decided to trail ride at Mammoth in California way back in the 80s. It was just the two of us, so instead of a nose to tail trail ride, we were assigned good horses and went out on our own.

Then there was the day we went to Stonehenge, also in 2009. What a bunch of rude people! It was very hard to experience such a wonderful place.


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Thanks for the warning about the horse show. We’ll check on timing with our friends as I can no longer stay with them. They have a hundred year old farmhouse with one bathroom, tiny rooms, no shower. We stayed with them once, and I did myself some damage trying to contort to fit their space. It’s too bad because they are wonderful people and I love the house, but it doesn’t love me. So we’ll be sure to time it so we can stay nearby.

We will probably be in multiple areas in Michigan on that trip, and I would love to meet you, your husband and your horses. I just hope I can make the trip. Before all this crap happened, we were on the road at least 60 days per year. Last year, it was five days, and I came home exhausted.

We did the ferry from Milwaukee to I think it was Ludington in 1997, the last time we visited my in laws at their cottage on Silver Lake near Lake Michigan. They sold the cottage not too long afterward, and stayed year round in Phoenix (ugh). My daughter was only four at the time of that trip, but she was a trouper. She was fascinated at the idea of driving onto a boat. These days, she takes ferries whenever she can, as do DH and I.

We met the Traverse City people somewhere around Ludington for a picnic before we went to my in laws’ place.

For this trip, either coming or going we will visit my sister in law, who lives in the Chicago suburbs in the summer. It’s not a bad drive from her place to Milwaukee, so we might do the ferry again. I will do a lot to avoid driving through Chicago. I’m astounded that they make you pay tolls on interstates that are in terrible condition and you are lucky to go 5 mph. It’s a little better since we got the toll pass that works there, but still, I hate it.


You didn’t miss much with not being able to get food on the ferry. We did it on a 95 degree day, and got a stateroom to get out of the sun. It was four walls, ceiling, floor and bed, and that was it. The food was awful, and while none of us get seasick, the heat and high humidity was making us feel terrible. My daughter hasn’t lived in any kind of humidity since before she was a year old, and she was miserable.


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The weather has finally (knock wood) normalized here–has been bouncing between 40s and ice on the roads. The boys are molting right now–between that and the ever-present mud on grey and spotted coats I keep waiting for someone to call the fashion police.
Here’s Nigel out on the road for the first time ever (he embarked on his new career as a driving pony last year).
He acquitted himself very well, even when the souped-up, flag-flying super beetle roared past.

Meanwhile, Mr O’Pony was miffed as maggots at being passed over, and tried to chomp his erstwhile BFF when I took Nigel out instead.

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