Posts Tagged With: horses

Playing in the Pastures

Urgent whinnies give way to squeals. The horses paw at their stall doors, begging. Grain is eaten and hay in the stall is ignored–for soon, there will be freedom.








The kids wheel and buck on the way out to the meadow.






















They love their daily 2 hours of grazing in the back pasture.

Some of the inhabitants of Firefly Farm prefer to snooze the day away.

Savannah received a new halter, courtesy of a Minion.








Braz and Misty love every-other-day when I put them out in the RAMM fenced pasture.

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Secrets and Lies at Firefly Farm

I can’t keep it a secret any longer.

Bribery, Blackmail, Secret Photographs–none of these were necessary to make me cave. My name is Savannah. I’m a whistle blower who can’t actually blow a whistle. Instead, I’m going to let you in on a massive secret.


Is ACTUALLY the 90’s Rocker known as Diesel Dust! Here he is, attempting to hide from the paparazzi.

Once I figured this out, he attempted to conceal himself behind a cool set of shades–but I saw right through this flimsy disguise.

He tried to sneak out at dusk, but once he’d been discovered, Diesel Dust (Dusty) was quickly surrounded by fans eager to get his hoofprint.

Though rumors abound, this gorgeous stud has been known to canoodle with a particularly leggy brunette. One anonymous source has identified her as “Lexi,” though this hasn’t been confirmed.

Though part of a “big hair” group of the ’90’s, Diesel Dust has since blown his money on ladies and expensive hoof treatments. Furthermore, his lengthy addiction to tail-growth hormone has been well documented.

“He’s a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy,” Honey Bear told me on a recent morning, sobbing her eyes out as she came to terms with the fact that the tall, dark, handsome stud would never call her ‘Mrs. Dust.’ “I’d pictured us in a big stable together, surrounded by a white picket fence. Just the two of us and Diesel Dust junior.”

One recent incident under active investigation is that Diesel Dust (Dusty) is running an underground mud-wrestling ring behind the barn. Photos confirming this report remain inconclusive.

It is to be noted that there are many involved in this scam. Not only are most of those living here aware of what’s going on, some are sentries for these activities. It is believed that this one gives “Tips” about infiltration and snitches.

Though it was assumed at the beginning of my investigation that these…animals…were innocent until proven guilty, it can be assumed that nobody’s clean. Everyone I’ve discussed this with has said that Dusty has spies everywhere, and knows if someone isn’t holding up their end of the bargain. They hide in plain sight, and tend to be easily overlooked.

Worst of all, his assassins have no problem “taking people out.” They even keep waterproof “blankets” nearby to wrap you in, should they need to keep the area clean.

There are acres and acres of land behind the pastures where nobody would ever hear a whinny.

This freshly dug “garden” was “created” after a recent “transaction” between Tip and her boss:

Innocent pile of freshly turned earth, or something more sinister? You decide.

Beware next time you’re on your way to Firefly Farm. You may find yourself in the middle of Espionage, Treason, and Blackmail–or at least up to your eyeballs in manure.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

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Another Perfect Day

Radiant white paint reflects sunshine from each post. Giggles and exclamations of “Hey! You got me!” and “Honey, stop eating my hair!” are shared between friends. The constant swish of brushes keeps time with horse-focused conversation.

Today is Dusty’s birthday. I hope you had a great one, Diesel Dust!















There is some sad news on the boarder front. Glory’s potential owner was advised by our vet not to buy her. It was a sad moment. We’ll miss her. She was a lovely horse to ride, and she had an excellent temperament. The owners are not at fault, and neither is the potential owner. Some things just aren’t meant to be. The previous owners took her back this morning.  Though we didn’t know them and do not expect to have future contact with these owners, we wish them all the best in their search for a suitable new owner.

The horses are shedding like crazy. Honey has lost at least 1 1/2 mini-Honeys out of fur.

The farm is perfect in spring. Enjoy some lovely photos of the glorious property and those who live here.

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Ol’ Man [Winter], He Just Keeps [Snowin’] Along

The afternoon chill has each pony standing still, head down, tail to the wind. Breath huffs out in gray clouds from each nostril. The mist quickly dissipates in the harsh winter air. Snow falls from the top of a blanket as a hoof stomps.

This scene is wholly different from the image that occurred two days ago. On Wednesday, most of the ponies played naked. There was no need for blankets or turnouts.

Instead, today was the worst of both worlds. Snow blew sideways during the entire day while the ground stayed soft. The horses rarely moved unless it was to come inside and eat. Everyone enjoyed warm bran mashes both morning and night to chase away the chill.

Lexi has steadily shown improvement and is eating again. Her pasture mate, Senorita, is leaving Firefly tomorrow to start life at Dreamfields. The two girls have become great friends. Once Senorita leaves, Honey will be considered an outdoor boarder. She’ll be Lexi’s new companion at night to keep her company. Braz and Misty will be joining them during snowy, windy, or stormy days.  (The RAMM pasture doesn’t have any shelter, and Braz and Misty are both in stalls at night.)

Melody and Savannah have been stuck inside since this morning. Though they both enjoy time outside, the weather has been uncooperative. They’ll go with the other girls in the mare pasture tomorrow if it continues to snow. I’m unable to keep the run-in stall doors open when the snow blows in–otherwise, the stall shavings become wet and freeze.

Hopefully winter will subside sooner than usual and spring will suddenly, miraculously appear. If not, the ponies of Firefly Farm are prepared to brave the elements.

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My Little Pony

   A gentle puff of air drifts from a pony nostril, tickling my hair. I giggle, enchanted. This little blonde pony follows me around, begging for attention. She even trots alongside the tractor. Once I’ve spread the hay, she places her head upon my shoulder at every opportunity, knowing this is the way to melt my heart.

   I need to spend some quality training time with Honey.

   The Christmas holiday has everyone rushing around, attempting to finish everything before time’s up. I’m included in that crowd. I have plans, big plans, for everything around here. However, I’m forced to push those aside and focus on the holiday for now.

   Therefore, poor Honey hasn’t been played with for almost a week. Perhaps tomorrow will be easier, and I’ll have a chance to work with her. A volunteer is planning to come and help with morning chores tomorrow, so there’s hope.

   The ponies are pleased with the weather. It hasn’t been cold for the last two days. Today it was 50 degrees inside the barn. I went for a day without my adult onesie–hooray! I feel like a kid in a too-big snowsuit every time I put it on.

   Today, a volunteer and I watered the girls and boys, built a tank insulater with sawed-up pallets and straw, and cleaned stalls. She also helped me put up more hotwire tape in the girls’ pasture. Senorita will not be windsucking in that pasture any time soon, as far as we can tell. I’m hoping that helps remind Senorita of what she shouldn’t be doing.  We’re trying very hard to save her teeth.   

   Lexi and Senorita are getting along very well out in the pasture. I put Honey there with them last night and today. Tonight, I put her in with Melody and Savannah. I wanted to introduce Misty to Honey, but I really like how well Misty and Braz are getting along. I don’t want to upset that dynamic. Braz is possessive of Honey, so I don’t want to cause a fight. I’d like Braz and Misty to become very attached to each other before introducing Honey to the mix. Then, eventually, I’ll put them all out in the back pasture.

   Melody and Savannah are very relaxed and happy. Both are now with Honey, and they seem content with just hanging out in their stalls and in the pasture.

   Coffee and Dusty are such good boys. I haven’t had any troubles from either of them, and they’re being very sweet to each other. 

   Life is good. Now, if I could just find time to play with my little Honey Bear, life would be perfect.

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Licorice? Is That You?

   The natives are restless. They see and smell someone new, and they can’t wait to create a disturbance.

   We have a new boarder, and every time I see her, I experience deja vu. She looks almost exactly like Melody’s daughter, Licorice.

   The horse above is my gorgeous girl, Licorice, who is now owned and loved by a dear friend.

   The new boarder is gorgeous and resembles Licorice. I miss my little girl so much, so having another horse who reminds me of her is comforting. I’m glad she’s here. Her name is Misty, and she’s a sweetheart. She has brown eyelashes over one eye and white eyelashes over the other eye. She’s calm, relaxed, and sweet. She has four white socks and is a lovely chestnut. Her stall is the easiest stall I’ve cleaned in a long time–solids in one area, liquid in another.

  She’s also made a new friend. Her stall is the one next to Braz, so she and Braz have all night, every night to play around and be buddies. Then I put them together out in the RAMM pasture. They’re getting along really well. I think I’ll put Honey out there with them tomorrow.

   Everyone else is doing very well. Dusty and Coffee stand next to each other in the pasture no matter how warm or cold it is outside. They usually have their noses facing the same way, almost as if they’re boys watching a football game on television. Perhaps they’re discussing Keats, Byron, and Shelley. Perhaps they’re rating the girls. (“That Lexi–ooh, her flanks rank a 10 in my book.”) In any case, they adore each other and are inseparable. When Dusty runs, Coffee runs. When Coffee stands, Dusty stands. They try to go into the same stall to eat. There are worse things that could happen in life. If Coffee grows up to be exactly like Dusty, I believe his owner will be thrilled.

   Lexi and Senorita are tolerating Honey. Poor Honey is left out in the cold. Braz is busy making buddies with Misty, so Honey is out with the “big girls.” My hope was that the two Thoroughbreds would eventually become buddies. That has come true with a vengeance. They are happy to gang up on poor Honey and push her away from hay piles. They tag-team when they want something. They’ve also tried to (unsuccessfully) take on Melody and Savannah for leadership of the herd. It’s amusing to watch. Everyone gets along, and nobody’s leaving a mark when they’re testing the waters, but it’s good to be aware of the situation. When the “big girls” are roaming, it’s best to step aside. We’ll see what happens when Braz, Honey, and Misty are re-introduced to the Thorougbreds after the “little girls” become a team. Misty has always been a boss mare, so her owner fully expects her to be large and in charge. Melody and Savannah will give her a run for her money, though. 

   Yoda’s tail appears to be healing. New issues are on the horizon, however. Smoky Joe and Penny fought yesterday, both of whom are older and more experienced fighters. One of my boarders heard the fight and described it as a sort of violent encounter.

   I hope the animals can figure out their hierarchies without involving me. I prefer to be the omnicient hay and grain giver, not the violent-animal separater. In the meantime, I think I’ll give Licorice–I mean Misty–another candy cane.

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Apple Days

  Days like today are crisp with an apple-like bite in the air. The ponies frolic and play in their pastures, enjoying the snow.


   The horses are delightful. I fed them all this morning and enjoyed horsey hugs. Savannah worried me, because she refused to eat all her breakfast. She wanted to eat al fresco instead of en stall. She abandoned half of her breakfast to Melody. I worked with Savannah; even trying to feed her from my hand, but nothing worked. I eventually put her outside with Melody, and that’s when they switched places and Melody proceeded to eat Savannah’s food. Fortunately, at that moment, Savannah’s owner came inside and learned of her pony’s appetite issue. I told the owner to give Savannah more grain later if she wanted; simply because it’s better to overfeed one horse and properly feed the other rather than overfeeding one horse and starving another.

   In that same vein, I have attempted many cures for Senorita’s cribbing/windsucking habit. The best appears to be the easiest. I had put her in the indoor arena and let her pace among the stalls while the other horses ate, but it seems that this doesn’t always work, either. The other horses are feeling threatened by her and are kicking stall doors or attempting to bite through the stall bars. I don’t care for the situation. Therefore, I started feeding her out in the pasture after everyone else comes inside. It appears to be working! She has been putting her teeth on the T-posts, but isn’t doing it as frequently as she has in the stalls. She’s more relaxed and calm. Then, if she wants to, she’s also able to meander around the pasture for a few moments before eating again. 


   Coffee and Dusty are delightful. They’re so easygoing and fun. They don’t mind changing to the other pasture with the smaller run-in shed. They seem content and relaxed.

   Lexi is a super-smart stinker. I have the funniest time with her. My dog, a border collie, helps me with chores each night, moving the horses into the pastures. She herds them into the correct pasture, then generally does a good job making sure they don’t run back into the barn. Tonight, however, Lexi left her stall to go into the pasture with Bandit following.  She ran into the pasture no problem, but as I went to close the pasture gate, she breezed past both Bandit and I–heading back for her stall in the barn. So Bandit and I jogged all the way back into the barn, wiggled a lunge whip through the stall bars at her rump to get her moving, and she and Bandit blazed a trail for the pasture again. I booked it back to the pasture gate, telling Bandit to hold the horses in there and hoping I could shut Lexi in for the night. Wouldn’t you know it? Lexi’s owner came at that exact moment–and saw me being the out-of-breath/outsmarted-by-her-horse-barnowner. Supposedly the human brain is bigger than a horse’s brain–but some moments, I have my doubts. I would have been laughing very hard if I were the horse’s owner.

     I haven’t ridden Honey since Friday, but today she came up to me and wanted a hug and a neck scratch. That isn’t an odd occurrence anymore. She’s become more friendly as I’ve been able to work with her recently on ground manners. She doesn’t care for being constantly ridden without using her brain on groundwork. She is definitely a horse that needs a gentle trainer. She becomes resentful if you’re not careful, and rude if you don’t pay attention to her desires.

   Braz is constantly with Honey during the day now that it’s just Lexi, Senorita, Braz and Honey in the big pasture in the back. They are thrilled to be constantly, and there are two herds of two back there. Braz fusses over Honey as though Honey is her daughter. The relationship is adorable to watch.

   Savannah is a mixed bag these days. She appears to have lameness issues with her owner, but she isn’t having these issues with lesson students. Whenever we’ve used her for lessons or birthday parties, she’s been calm, gentle, and sound–but as soon as her owner comes in, she acts lame at the trot and canter. It’s very confusing. We do the exact same exercises, the exact movements with students, but Savannah is appearing to refuse movements for her owner. I didn’t use her for lessons at all last week because I wanted to be certain to give Savannah some time off, but unfortunately it seems she was still lame for her owner yesterday. One positive out of all this is that the owner is working through Parelli level one, so she’s able to do a lot of groundwork with Savannah. Savannah did level one and part of level two with me when I owned her, so she’s already familiar with the program.

   Melody is fantastic as usual. Cold weather makes her very happy.  She bucks and plays and generally acts like a foal.

   The pastures are finally frozen, so it’ll be fun to let the horses out back again once hunting season is truly over. The girls can go out there and play, the boys will be given a chance to burn off some energy, and everyone will appreciate how next year we’ll have larger pastures. I’m planning to expand the current pastures very far to the back, leaving a very generous driving lane with perhaps some area for a few cross-country type jumps. (Very low ones, of course–under 2 feet.) I want to have the ability to use the lane as a true “driving” lane so one day I can use a carriage, but I also want some “trail” riding area. Possibilities, possibilities… For now, I’ll be content to let the snow cover the grounds and pretend everything is exactly how I want it. Next spring, the neighbors will be tired or my relentless T-post pounding–and people will be terrified of my giant, “manly” biceps. That’s ok. If they hurt my feelings, I’ll just flex my arm and send ’em running.

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Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind -As You Like It (Shakespeare)

 I had the most delightful Thanksgiving weekend. After the stress of the actual day, it was smooth sailing afterward. The husband and I were invited to spend the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving at a private residence on Mackinac Island.

Here was the view out my window, toward the Grand Hotel’s golf course.

   The tourists are long gone; so are most of the horses. There was a set of horses pulling a dray for supplies. There was also a set used for the taxi service.

   There is a Christmas tree set up in the middle of Main Street. It’s in a barrel, held up by four large ropes tied to streetlights.


 And yes, there ARE cars on Mackinac Island.

They were getting ready for a craft fair, which is this coming weekend. 

   Alas, our weekend was over far too soon–and yet I couldn’t wait to get home. We drove home in a snow-ish, rain-ish storm, but arrived safely. Dusty’s owner volunteered to do chores in the evening, so I had a little more relaxation time. I was on vacation at my house.

   Monday, I woke up invigorated. I was thrilled to be back and working at Firefly. I finished chores and then decided to work with Senorita. She and I worked on not windsucking and then I rode for a while. She wasn’t sure about the leg cues I was giving, so by giving her a small amount of pressure, waiting, giving more pressure, waiting, and more pressure yet, she eventually came to the conclusion that she ought to walk. She was so much fun! Once she got moving and understood what I was asking for, she moved right off my leg. She is not dead sided, nor does she need a whip. She’s smart and a quick learner. She just doesn’t know what to do sometimes, and instead of freaking out about it, she freezes and waits for more guidance. I’ve trained horses like that before (Licorice) and worked with others who appeared to need more force (Lewis) but I know she’s exactly like these horses. What it comes down to is clear communication and patience. One of my favorite memories from Brighton Riding Stable is a woman who insisted on kicking the horses to make them walk. She kicked and kicked and kicked Lewis, and he didn’t move. I told her to squeeze him gently in order to walk on. She kicked him a little more, threw up her hands, and glared at me, but she gave him a soft squeeze with her legs. Lo and behold, he walked on. Sometimes the communication breaks down and that’s why the horse doesn’t respond–not because you need more force, but because the horse is confused and waiting for the correct cue. It’s hard to follow directions in Japanese, for example; Horses do not speak English–though that is our expectation from day one.

   I also had the extreme pleasure of seeing Lexi under saddle. She’s a fun horse. Her owner has done wonders to make this horse a totally different horse than she was when she arrived. This is not to say that Lexi had anything wrong with her; quite the contrary. She showed some ribs and wasn’t very muscular, but she had great potential. Under the owner’s care, she’s filled out and has put some beautiful muscling on both her neck and haunches. She was side passing during the time I watched. I probably stare whenever I watch someone else ride. The reason for that is I don’t often have the opportunity to observe these horses under saddle, so I don’t always know how they’d react to a situation when they have a rider. I was entertained when I watched Lexi do a beautiful half-pass at the walk.

   Tuesday was a blast. I did all the chores in the morning, and prepared the barn for this crazy weather. I moved the tractor into the garage, moved the hoses around, plugged in all the tank heaters and stall bucket heaters. In the evening I ran the girls in and took off the blankets for stall boarders. They were able to move freely in their stalls while their blankets dried. All the girls ate their two and a half flakes of hay in the stalls, since I knew the wind was crazy, and then I put Senorita and Lexi back outside. I gave the indoor boarders an extra flake because of the cold, and fed the boys five flakes. They seemed happy to have some form of shelter, but their happiness didn’t last long. They went outside to play after about 10 minutes.

Ah, Wednesday. We went from this on Tuesday:

To this:


  Wednesday was fun and interesting. I wasn’t feeling well, but I pushed through it so I could enjoy the sunshine. I fed the ponies and put on mid-weight blankies. I then filled all the water buckets, mucked the stalls, and was very glad to have Go Green Landscaping plow my driveway. We don’t have the Toro back yet, so we don’t have any way to plow the driveway–unless it’s man powered. Or in this case, woman powered. I didn’t want that at all. We have a landscaper who will do it for us.

  After mucking and buckets, I swept the aisle of the barn and swept and mopped the tack room. It’s a never-ending job, but it’s not so bad. I have a deep sense of pride in my work and my barn. I’m overjoyed at the prospect of having the barn with no clutter (nearly impossible) and neat (possible.)

   I bought some solar-powered Firefly Green Christmas lights, and I started decorating. Hopefully Firefly Farm will have some Christmas cheer.

   I also put Lexi’s blankie on. It looks GREAT with her coloring—that dark mahogany bay with the black and purple is gorgeous.

   This morning, Thursday, I fed everyone extra hay. They’re getting three flakes each in the morning, now, and I’m planning to keep the hay nets in the stalls full. After I finished feeding the girls, I started working with Senorita again. She’s moving so nicely off of my leg. We walked, trotted, and cantered both ways; reversed on the haunches (like a turn on the haunches, but very slow, with some pauses after each step to give the horse praise. It isn’t as clean, neat, or fluid.) She’s also giving her head and relaxing a lot more. She seems to really enjoy herself. I’m having a great time, too!

   When I put her away, Honey came right over as if to say, “Am I next?” I haven’t worked with her this week and I’m feeling guilty. She’ll be next on my list, after buying feed and shavings later.

   For now, I have to eat lunch.

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Dueling Blonde Brats

   We started the day with two very large deliveries: all the wood was first; then all the metal we need for the run-in shed we’re building this weekend. Everything was delivered to the driving lane next to the pasture where the shelter will be built. I’ve decided to un-tape the ribbon wire in that section of the pasture. Then we’ll move everything inside the pasture as needed. We’re also fortunate to have the indoor arena. There’s a heater to help keep it, and the main section of the barn, warm. We’re fortunate to have a heated tack room, kitchen, and bathroom, too. Hopefully we’ll be able to accommodate any people who help us build tomorrow.

   I fed the ponies breakfast right after the wood materialized. The first delivery was at about 8:15am this morning; the second, metal, was at 2pm.  The husband arrived home during the metal delivery. It was nice to see him, as I’ve been alone here at the farm. He’s been spending extra time with his family, but is home now. Because they live so far away, sometimes I feel as though I share custody, but I get him most of the time. It’s difficult to get away now with the business, so we “trade off.” I’m grateful to have him home.

   This evening takes the cake, though. There was no incident whatsoever with the boys or bringing in the horses. It happened once I put the girls out. All the girls, with the exception of one, trotted out into the field to munch their hay. Everyone except Honey. I clapped behind her rump, and she started to trot out to the pasture. Then suddenly, she turned around and gave me a sassy pony grin as if to say “Nope. I’m enjoying myself right where I am, thank ya very much.” Then she galloped over to the hay bales and began eating once more.

   I calmly walked over to my carrot stick and string, picked it up, and swished it at nothing in particular. She gave a little buck and galloped out the door. 

Honey:0, Sarah:1.   I always win in the end.

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Mending Fences

   The weather was perfect today. Cool, crisp, clear and cloudless. The husband and I went to Family Farm and Home to purchase more T-posts. We bought some 8 ft T-posts and some 5 ft T-posts. We used up all the 8 ft T-posts shoring up the fences around the property. Once that was done (about 1/3 of the way–it’s a good start!) we cut down branches that were in the way of the new Ribbon Wire fence we’re putting up around the parameter of the property.

  We’ve had so much activity here lately. I have a few lesson students who are interested in potentially getting horses, and others who definitely are. I know how many people this is, and I’ve done the math on how many spaces we have left. It quickly starts to add up to near the amount of horses the township will let us have on the property. Therefore, I’ve come to the somewhat difficult decision to keep Firefly Farm as it is. We won’t be accepting new boarders unless I’ve spoken to the person first and have agreed to take in their horses, OR if it’s a special situation. That doesn’t mean I won’t accept new horses–it just means you should speak to me to find out if we’re FULL or “full.” Right now, at 8 horses here and 3 or 4 on the way, we’re “full.” 

   The current horses are all doing so well. Although Braz has been out with the herd, she has not started to show signs of aggression or injury. Senorita and Melody are hanging out, as are Savannah and Lexxi. I’m so glad they’re becoming friends. It’s been tough to watch Lexxi and Senorita going at it–they dislike each other. It’s more of a kick AT each other than actually kick fight, but it’s still difficult to watch. Coffee and Dusty LOVE each other. They spend all day together, whether it’s eating from the same pile of hay, grazing, or just hanging out. It’s adorable.  

   We finally have gates out the back of the barn. We can open one of three gates to get to the girls’ field, the grassy field, or the driving lanes. It’s exciting. I’m going to get it set up tomorrow to be exactly how I envision it should be. (It’s almost there now, but it still has a little work to go.)

   Winter’s coming. One of the parents of a lesson student came out today and was kind enough to put in an electrical box for me. It’s approximately 12″ outside of the gate–just long enough to be perfect for plugging in the water tank for the winter. I’m arranging the ability to heat every water tank all winter long. We want everyone to stay hydrated all winter.

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