A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Archive for the ‘miniature horse’ Category

Where Are They Now?

Photo credit Debi Plekan

Photo credit Debi Plekan

I’ve recently read an article that mentioned the American Quarter Horse Association‘s Full Circle Program.    I’m not sure how it works, but I think it’s supposed to help track previously owned horses, thus possibly preventing the throwing away of unwanted horses.  It’s a great idea and I would love to read that other breed associations are also providing this service.  One very compelling reason for me to stop breeding and selling miniature horses was that I hated losing control over their welfare.  No matter how carefully prospective buyers are screened,  stuff happens.  Every person who bought a horse from me was told that I would appreciate the right of first refusal if they ever needed to sell the horse.  I even put it into sales contracts, but it’s not enforceable.   I can remember 2 buyers who actually did let me know that they were selling their minis, and although I wasn’t in a position to buy them back, I was able to help find good homes for them.   Every horse that was sold from this farm was registered, but I can guarantee that if I look for them via the registry’s stud books, I won’t be able to find most of them.   I often wonder about the babies that were born here, and what kind of lives they’ve had.  Why don’t people keep them registered?  Isn’t it their birthright?  Don’t they deserve to  have the chain of ownership recorded?   I believe they do deserve to have their registration, papers, and heritage stay with them forever.  I can’t single handedly make that happen, so I just don’t contribute any more.

Snow? Sure! How Much do you need?

This is Wisconsin.  The weather is easy to predict.  In winter it’s cold and snowy.  In summer it’s hot, humid, and buggy.  Guess what season this is….

We had a blizzard, which we shared with several other states.  It’s early for blizzards here, but we got it anyway.

I took a few pictures of the farm, after Lee had pushed snow out of all the paths, pens, and yards.  It took him a full day to get it all moved away, in seriously frigid conditions.  His reward for all of his hard work was to get out his snowmobile and go play in the same seriously frigid conditions.  The man is crazy!

I chose to stay in as much as possible, doing some Christmas baking (which warms up the house).

It’s going to be a long winter.

Shamrock’s Story

Shamrock, young and strong.

Shamrock came to live on our farm in 1993, when she was 5 years old.  At her side was her 4 month old son, Irish.  He still lives here, and he looks just like his dam.

When Shammy first came here she was stand-offish with the other horses.  Not timid or afraid.  She preferred to be left alone.  She was more open to relationships with humans and enjoyed any time she spent with people.  If I went into the paddock with a grooming brush in my hand Shamrock was the first in line waiting to be brushed.  She would ignore food if she thought there was a chance a human was going to love on her.  She was incredibly tolerant of kids.  Little girls love to play “My Pretty Pony” and will brush, braid, and comb the hair right off a horse if given the time and opportunity.  Shamrock was our go-to-gal when it was time to play beauty shop.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  Alora had been playing with and grooming Rosie, who was Shamrock’s last foal. Note the stylish, curly forelock. Shamrock was nuzzling Alora, maybe begging for some attention, but it looks to me like she’s whispering in Alora’s ear.

Shammy was always dependable around children and she loved them.

Another favorite picture is the one of Shamrock wearing a birthday hat.  It was my birthday, and when I went out for morning chores, my horses were all wearing birthday hats!  A birthday surprise from Lee 🙂

Happy Birthday!

Several years ago Shamrock foundered, had her first attack of laminitis.  Over the following years she did pretty well, with an occasional bout but they were always fairly minor and easy to resolve.  We kept her on a strict diet and she seemed to be coping.  Last February she had a severe attack and we just couldn’t get her over it.  We tried everything, and then some, but nothing helped her. Toward the end she was down a lot and I knew it was time to put her out of her misery.  On September 7th the vet came and helped her to leave this earth.  Lee and I and our very compassionate vet were with her as she passed.  I know that she will rest in peace.

I have a couple more pictures that I want to share, of a beautiful little mare.

Shamrock March 17, 1988-September 7, 2010.

Beautiful Shamrock age 15

Shamrock age 22

For Your Viewing Pleasure

This tiny filly is Rosie, one of the miniature horse foals born here on our farm.  We’ve given up  breeding and showing the minis, but it was a fulfilling hobby back in the day.

Miniature horses are a man made breed and breeding the mares is a huge responsibility.  They’re known to have foaling problems and it’s vital that they be monitored and watched like a hawk .They shouldn’t deliver alone. 

When we were breeding minis,  it didn’t take us long to figure out that we needed a better system for watching the mares.  Horses have an 11 month gestation, and it can go several weeks either way.  We would start watching a mare a few weeks before her due date, and sometimes they would go a few weeks past their due date, leaving us (me) sleepless and miserable.  Our solution was a CCTV.  We put the camera in the foaling stall, and the monitor in the house.  What an improvement!  It made mare stare so much easier. 

Nowadays, there are webcams.  People are setting up their webcams and streaming them live on the internet so that anyone can watch their mare foal.  Some of them have message boards so cam watchers are able to chat while they watch.

Here are some links to miniature horse webcams.  I guarantee that you’ll be fascinated, and maybe hooked on watching and waiting for that foal.

 

 

 
 If you want lots more webcams to peruse, just go to the following link.  It’s a list of webcams on MareStare.com.  There are other breeds of horses there, and even cows, donkeys and sheep I think, and maybe alpacas.

http://www.marestare.com/cams.php

Rosie, grown up.  This is one of my favorite pictures.  Alora was playing with Rosie, while Rosie’s mom Shamrock felt the need to snuffle Alora behind the ear.  Telling secrets!

 I have no idea why the font got so tiny but I don’t know how to fix it, so  put your glasses on 🙂
 
 

 

Little Winter Ponies

 

I’ve been thinking about how I’m enjoying my ponies so much more this winter than I ever have before. It’s the same old Wisconsin winter. Nothing new there. It’s the same old me. Definitely nothing new here .The reason I’m enjoying them more is because I only have 5 of them to take care of. It’s easy and fast to take care of their needs, giving me more time to visit and talk to them, fuss with them, marvel at how beautiful and clever and cute they are. There’s no stress in doing chores. I don’t have to hurry so that I can get on to other things. Life would be so different if I didn’t have my horses to care for. They force me to get outside in the fresh (cold) air twice a day, moving my body and using my brain . I think everyone should have a pony to take care of. 

 

 

 

Morning Snapshots from the Farm

wet fall cornThis dreary picture tells the whole story.  Clouds, rain, crops still standing in wet fields.  The ears of corn are molding on the stalks.  Soybeans are still not harvested.  We’re not alone, it’s the same sad tale for many farmers.   Sometimes I feel like we’re crazy to keep trying to make a living on the farm.

 

Soggy fallWelcome to my world.  It’s wet here.  Everything is soggy.  We haven’t seen much sun in the last few weeks.  This kitty is wanting to get his paws clean, but he’s fighting a losing battle.  He lives in mud city.

 

 

StarhyperSay Hi to Star.  She’s a crazy little mare.  In this picture she’s outside playing while I clean her stall.  The wind and the cold air have made her frisky.  Click on any picture to get the full version.

 

 

 

Mikey and sassy

Mikey and Sassy.  Mikey is everyone’s favorite kitty.  He’s a big lug, friendly with all, has a great little motor.  Sassy is a sweetie too, but more discriminating.  She mostly loves me and sometimes Lee.

 

CatHorse HayrackTiger (the cat) likes to hide in the horse’s hay, whether it’s on the ground or in a hay rack like it is here.  He’s possessive of his hay bed.  Poor Cody got his nose swatted every time he tried to take a bite of his hay.  Tiger eventually got tired of the game and left.  Cody was relieved. 

 

 

 

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