Sunday, December 21, 2008

Horsey Ice Pops

Here is one of those fun "makes you feel good" things you can do for your horses.
A couple that came by the ranch a few years ago shared this idea and I've spiffed it up a bit over time.
This is also a good way to keep horses winter boredom at bay and I get lots of training horses in that are wood chewers so this is another way to curb that desire as well.
Most important element is that you must first live in the right part of the country in which you can freeze water solid out side.
Use one 5 gallon bucket filled 3/4's full with water. Don't over fill or the bucket will split when frozen water expands.
1 cup chopped apple,the apples will float.
1 cup shredded carrots. Don't cut carrots into disk as horses can get theses stuck and possible choke could occur.
The carrots shreds will sink.
1 cup grain
The grain will sink.
So you will have treats on both ends of frozen pops.
1/2 cup Electrolyte mix.
1/2 cup sugar. I use raw sugar just because it's what I use around the house.
Optional: food color to desired depth of color. I use food color when putting the Pops outside so I can see them when the horses are playing with them so they stand out against the white snow. In an unheated barn for stall use food color is not needed.
Mix well
Place buckets outside till frozen solid then bring in to warmth for about 30 minutes for side of bucket to warm up just enough to slide pops out of buckets.
Depending on the horse and weather I get 1-2 weeks of use by a horse.
For the fella to stop wood chewing or just because they are wonderful, a frozen Thai Pandan custard pie.
Happy freezing!

Photo By Dave Genadek 2008
Sun dogs
The above photo Dave took this morning right in front of the house, barns and shop of Sun dogs or also know as sun pillars. Never have I seen them till this morning but in photos.
What the camera caught looks very different than what the naked eye sees.
In the photo between the 2 outside lights makes it look transparent and a beautiful sunny day but to the naked eye the center is very dark and grey with the sun pushing through in the center and all around the out side the sky is white with high winds keeping a white film of new snow carried through the air. We had a blizzard here yesterday and it's -11 with wind chill of -38 here and are snowed in which I love actually.
Dave ran out in his PJ's , boots with no socks, and a car coat to get this shot and came in shouting "Now I know what it feels like to have your "Oh,oh's froze off". The ever dedicated photographer that will do any thing for a great shot and I thank him for it.
Horses are all snug in their stalls , chewing away and I'm playing with some new proto type stall spray and muzzle oil scents for a manufacture with the horses today.
Vet called with a question this morning and just as I suspected he's running him self hard today taking care of colicing horses not getting the care they needed or just stressed out in this kind of weather.

I know so many folks horses make it through just fine and some maybe lucky leaving thier horses out this kind of weather but it bothers me that they would have to. I'd rather have them in out of the wind and cold, not having to walk with snow balls packed in their hooves, fluffy bedding to lay on , warm water to drink and actually be comfortable. They seems so grateful to be in , it's so peaceful in the barn listening to them all chewing in contentment, playing with toys, soft happy nickers to each other and no one giving any indication of wanting to go out to the frozen tundra.
I love the feeling it gives me doing everything I can to make them very comfortable and content, it's just very fulfilling. This is the weather when they need us the most.

Momma Swallow feeding her babes
For those of you thinking spring here is a photo taken from our front porch this summer of a Barn swallow who made her nest on the porch which was an event to watch from start to this point. Always hungry and demanding bunch they we're.
Happy Winter and Holidays from Dave and Liz!

Friday, December 12, 2008

We got the group of three
Last steer to go in
Just Sharing

In corresponding with folks from many places I write back so many of my thoughts and ideas and so tonight I thought I'd share some of them. Maybe they can be of some help to you or someone you know working with their own horses.
1. I desire an acclimated horse , not a desensitized horse.
2. I desire a willing horse, not a submissive horse.
3. Humans create holes in horses training.
4. Strive for an engaged mind in a horse, not a disconnected mind.
5. Any mechanical direction or instruction that is ever given to someone on how to do anything with a horse, is worthless in complete and total success if the horses mind and emotions are not in the right place. Willingness, softness,with clarity must be present for them to give you their body fully and correctly by the mechanical aids we utilize. This being not only the tools of head gear, etc. but of our own body, that most important tool.
6. We create the emotional teaching environment for the horse and should take great responsibility for that, to many people put that on the horse as their job.
The above photos are old ones when Bubba and I were both much younger.
These were taken at Marriott Ranch in Hume, VA back before team penning had really taken off nationally. I enjoyed the sport before it changed. At that time it was more used in that area by the professional reiner's and cutters as a way to keep their horses tuned up. I watched some awesome horses and riders too.
I had to teach Bubba how to work a cow , it did not come naturally as it did with my quarter horses, and learn he did . He enjoyed it and always competed bit less when team penning. He still gets excited and willing to go when he gets around cattle but I no longer let him work them, as his mind says he can but his body should not.
When I think about all the things we have done together I realized long ago horses don't know what trophies or ribbons are, prize money, mileage patch's, power or cultural acceptance among other humans. None of the things humans seek out so often in owning and/or riding horses. What the horses do know is what is the emotion we put off by the experience when we are seeking such meaningless things to them. They can either enjoy the tasks, resent , resist, fear, want to get it over with, or become numb. We hold the key to how they feel about what we ask. My hope is that more horses enjoy their experience rather than the other options.
Liz Graves
copyright 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who would have Guessed??
Never in a million years did I realized my equine reproduction courses in collage would have me called upon to be the mid-wife for so many creatures over the years.
Above is a photo repositioning and delivering a snow white Cria baby for Momma Alpaca " Loraine".
At least in this case I was keeping to a gaited creature as Alpacas move laterally.
What an adventure this life has been, busy too, just so much to experience!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fun Blasts from the Past
The family has been trying to pull together some of our old pieces of memorabilia and I just dug up a few old photos I have. Mom now home, is trying to find one of my grandfather Evens in his Calvary garb as he served 2 years before being transferred to the air division. His passion being air planes. Although being brought up to ride, horses were not his joy, his dream was to be a fly boy and he was.
The top photo was taken in 1968 of a stallion we had named"Iron Range Ajax".
What a gentleman he was just as my stallion "Doc Holly Golly" is today.
Very different type from what we see in many Appaloosa horses of today.
I road many reining patterns and a few Junior rodeo queen contests on this horse with huge success in that he showed this little girl how it was to be done and took great care of me. Back then a juvenile could ride a stallion as long as the events did not fall under WSCA rules. Times were different in that stallions were well trained, good citizens and proven as performers, while temperament was paramount for them to remain a stallion and even be considered to cover a mare. Unlike today when many folks will promote an un trained horse and market it on it's ancestors performances but none of their own. It was not uncommon the have 3-4 stallions on organized trail rides of 60 horses and each one was always well mannered and one had to look to be sure they were stallions. Much in horse handling has changed today and not always for the best.

The photo above is of my Father in 1969 riding "Ajax" at the Anoka Saddle club grounds doing a pole bending pattern. Of course no spurs, no tie downs, no flat bats , no long shanked harsh bits, no long strand of lariat hanging off the horn. Good equitation applied just as much then in gaming events as it did in any equitation class. The secret to being as competitive as any of the others with all their gimmicks and devices was simply great horsemanship, show your horse how, reasonably, give them a purpose and make it fun for them and they will give you everything they have to give.

The above photo was taken in 1968 again with my Father aboard "Ajax" at Sugar Hills, MN show heading back for the finish line in Keyhole race. My Dad liked the fast events.
Again as I've said before , ride as close to the base of the wither as you can, making it easier for the horse to carry you, keep your legs draped softly under you and pelvis level for direct, clean signals and a balanced effective seat in any riding applications. The last photo is of my Mother modeling her new riding suit in 1968 she received for Christmas.
I so loved the riding fashions then and miss them.
A bale of hay then was .25 cent , my mother was not happy when it went to .30 cents. Entry fee's were .50 cents.
Sportsmanship,with good behavior was expected by all as it was in the horses and anything else was just unacceptable. No junior high school behaviors, minimal politics or manipulation out of adults back then. Everyone worked for the kids, we were a community that helped each other and worked together.
People treated each other with kindness and respect.
Oh I loved the old Minnesota horse community I grew up in.
Ah happy memories of times gone by.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Equine Affaire MA 2008
The most important message I have to say about this event is my HUGE Thank you to 4 of the most ready awesome participants any
Clinician could ever ask for.
Wow, Wow, Wow!!!!!!!!!!
Jeniffer Johns and Ranger a TWH
Steve Louini and DJ a TWH
Vicki Haigh and Trav a MFT
Janet Aveni and Venessa a MFT
I know Friday was a very hard day and I threw a lot of complicated things at you all very fast but I so wanted you to have the new tools for the next steps in teaching your horses, your all ready and so are your wonderful horses.
To have students like the 4 of you all in one place was such a reward for me. Teaching is not always easy but when we get folks that come ready, with open minds and already having done so much good work with their horses you just cant help your self to want to give everything you have. To see them the very best they can be as they have the desire, the passion and have already proven to put forth so much work , with all the right intentions and nothing getting in the way of that.
I loved teaching you but also loved being a student with you as well.
Thank you with all my heart!!!!!!!!!!!
Liz Graves