I hope you’ve all missed me (at least a little bit)! This Summer I’ve been able to expand my borders and really start working with horses. It’s been an exciting and hardworking time (seriously, my biceps are bigger than they’ve ever been). In today’s blog, I’ll catch you all up on what’s been going on at our farm – breeding chickens, rescuing a horse, my newest husbandry adventure, and more!
Ohikis have become my main project when we speak about our poultry. While Ohikis are still uncommon, their popularity has been on a rise! The idea of a small bird with long, beautiful feathering is captivating poultry enthusiasts everywhere. The only problem is that many Ohikis are a work in progress. Stumpy (short) Olive legs, white lobes, a nice C-shaped tail are just a few things that are part of the Ohiki breed, but not often found. Out of my own stock, I only have one rooster with olive legs and I’m continuously fighting the battle of achieving short legs. While our breeding program for our Ohikis has been very relaxed through the Summer, we have a lot of work to accomplish this Fall!
(Crele Ohiki development pictured)
My plan is to separate my “breeders” from my “pretty birds”. Any Ohiki that looks like a good-type will be bred to another Ohiki of good-type. I will try to pay attention to feather color, but that will be taking a back seat to leg traits (short and olive). My “pretty birds” will be bred mainly for feather color and length. I am very thankful for the fact that I have some very genetics educated friends that I will be pestering for help! If you don’t have a poultry mentor, I highly recommend finding one!
I’m sure some of you are like “UGH! You rescued an animal! TELL US THE STORY!” Well, ok! John and I have been looking for a second horse for a while. We would both like a horse so that we can go on romantic beach walks together (or just walks around the property, whatever). My trainer contacts me and tells me about the sweetest little gelding that I just have to see! Problem is…he’s not the healthiest horse we’ve ever seen nor is he especially well trained. My trainer then shows me a picture of him and instantly, my heart skips a beat. He is a beautiful, grey, Arabian gelding by the name of Jake! Less than a week later, I’m meeting Jake in person. His ribs are easy to count and you could almost cut yourself on his protruding hips; however, this boy has a heart of gold and all he wants is to be loved (and fed).
A few days later, I’m at a horse show with Luzia (my lovely Thoroughbred mare) and we compete in halter, showmanship, and in-hand trail. We take home a 2nd place ribbon for in-hand trail! Right after that, we’re on our way to go pick up Jake and bring him home as well. “Jake” has a name change and is now referred to as “Preacher”. He and Luzia get along very well in their pen! Preacher has his halter removed for the first time in Lord only knows how long…to reveal little sores on his poor, sweet face.
Fast forwarding to the present, Preacher has put on some weight and his face is bruise-and-bump free! Any bites that he had from other horses are healed up and Preacher is moving forward! He recently went on his longest ride (1 hour) and is he is quick learner. When I bought him, he didn’t know how to back up (from the saddle or on the ground) and now he understands it wonderfully along with “whoa” and “trot”. He still has a ways to go as we he puts on weight, muscle, and knowledge, but Preacher will be there in no time!
Now, let me tell you about my newest adventure in animal husbandy! I have two horses, as you knew or now know. One of the expenses of horse keeping is the mysterious farrier. My lovely trainer offered to teach me the ways of the farrier! I’m still very new at it, but WOW! I knew that her work looked hard, but I did not realize just how much it takes to trim and shoe a horse! The most I’ve been able to do so far (with her assistance) is three feet. By the time I did three feet (trim only, no shoes), I was dripping sweat, my back was screaming to the high heavens, and my arms were developing a mind of their own. One of the biggest rewards I’ve had from this just arrived a couple of days ago. I flexed my biceps and BAM! I could not stop smiling about how BIG my biceps have gotten (ok, fine, they’re still pretty tiny, but I’ve NEVER had muscles like this). Of course, the much quicker achieved reward is being able to look down at the hoof and seeing just how much better it looks. While “being” a farrier is hard work, it’s very satisfying and I cannot wait to see how I progress in this!
Finally, I have experienced something new this Summer (and yes, I’m sorry, it’s horse related again)…I have fallen…twice! My first fall was actually a wonderfully done throw from my sweet girl, Luzia. We went to ride outside of our training pen and well, neither Luzia and I were quite ready for that. She threw me in a field and I tore a shoulder muscle. A week ago, I was on a training ride at Lake Waco and partook in a different kind of fall. This fall happened at a trot around a corner and resulted in the horse falling. All I can really remember is that something felt different and then the horse and I were on the ground. I immediately looked back at the horse (only to see the horse’s back on the ground) and tucked in my legs while trying to scurry away. I have seen too many horse falls that resulted in the rider’s leg getting trapped between the horse and the ground. I really REALLY did not want that to happen. The horse had a pretty good scrap on her shoulder and I had ripped out the knees on my breeches. It didn’t hurt too much for the first hour and I was even able to ride back to the trailer. Pain didn’t set in until I got home and took off my breeches to reveal dirt, mud, and a mass of swelling…and then I had to clean out the wounds.
A week later, the scabs are starting to come off and the bruising is starting to show more and more. I’m hoping to be back in the saddle by the end of this week or the start of the next! I’m so THANKFUL that I was wearing a helmet each time I fell this Summer. Who knows what injuries I may have had without one!
What new things have you tried this Summer?