Monday, December 29, 2014

Slow Feeders

This years slow feeder design is improved over last years. They are easier to move, have higher sides and the screen has been welded to have more and smaller openings. Matt made a couple of them (basically as shown above). After Matt had made a couple on that model he was about out of scrap lumber.  Then, Ted and Terrence helped him to modify old cracked water troughs (as shown below) into additional slow feeders. We have two feeders in the little pasture and we are keeping at least three in the big pasture.
This one was modified after this photo - all smaller holes necessary!

It is pretty nice because we now feed hay only once a day and the horses take about 24 hours to clean up the appropriate ration of hay. Anyone getting supplements or extra rations gets those delivered in the evening individually but it's a very low workload compared to prior years while delivering better care for our horses. We used to feed hay three times a day and yet the horses were still eating 'meals' versus having constant access to feed.  The photo to the left shows a feeder with a freshly loaded bale of hay, the picture just below shows the mini feeder from the little pasture at 24 hours from a fill.

We are feeding less hay (in reality 'wasting' less), the horses are in better condition, and we spend less time achieving that. All around win win situation!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Time! Different Gingerbread Scene this year

We have traditionally made a gingerbread train as one of our family Christmas projects. We always  enjoy decorating up the train cars and filling them with goodies. This year however, one of the kids suggested we make a horsemanship/western themed scene so here is the beginning of that project.

We did get the round pen and a couple of little sleighs up but there was a lot more on the creative idea list which we didn't actually get done yet.... Maybe next year we'll start earlier!  Check our facebook page  (you can find us by looking for Ted Nicholes or Foundations And Beyond Horsemanship)  too for more pictures!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Parade Pics from Saturday

Well, as often happens, it didn't go exactly as planned - but it was still a good experience for horses, ponies, and kids!  I meant to be purely on the sidelines and positioned to take pictures but I wasn't able to make that happen so all I have are just a few snapshots taken just before the parade got started.

Accident number one - Ardreth's cargo of gifts (he was meant to be a delivery elf) got left behind. Note we did have the bows for his packages a few of which we stuck on the saddle blanket. #2 - His elf shoes, which worked so well on the test run at home, turned out to be very vulnerable to nervous side stepping. At home there was no side stepping so this vulnerability was undiscovered until too late. We took Ardreth, Snip pulling the wagon, and Beth on Clay as our part of the parade but we were also collaborating with Nyssa Artistic Dance where our girls take lessons so we had loads of excited kids! Enough to make even a pony that lives at our place a little antsy for a few minutes. It didn't phase Snip of course, but then, she's been through this sort of thing before! When you add in about twenty excited and rather noisy dance students things change a little for a newbie pony.  If I would have just waited until a couple minutes later to put them on.... He settled down very quickly but not before he had remolded the wire frame inside the elf boots! I jerked them off the frame and fastened them around his fetlocks, (thank goodness for duct tape!).

I think he still passed with flying colors but I wish I had figured out a more resilient elf shoe! Also, (#3) his little elf/ballerina rider was without her blinking lights so he wasn't well illuminated. Oh well, Ardreth and she were still a hit based on pure cuteness.

Snip did her usual fantastic job. It was the first time I have put a blinking light on her nose; she didn't seem to notice. This was a triumphant date for LJ as she was allowed to drive Snip. She often does drive her but this is the first time she was allowed to in a parade/without an older person sitting with her directing. We did have Matt there just in case of anything going wrong but he just strolled alongside and LJ remained the driver for the duration.

Beth said she felt silly just riding her horse down the street (not standing up on her or doing any tricks or anything) and that she doesn't want to do a parade again if she isn't more prepared! Some people are born over achievers but I have to admit she isn't the only one around here. Maybe it's genetic?

Overall I think it turned out to be a good experience for kids and horses. If we repeat next year I will be better prepared so hopefully I will be able to take good pictures of the event (and remember all the props!). At any rate we appreciate (and try to maximize) the training value of everything we do, in a way we didn't in years past. It is amazing how much an increased understanding of horse psychology changes your perspective on everything you do with your horses.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Parade Tomorrow!

We will be in the Nyssa Parade this year. The kids have been looking forward to it like crazy. Ardreth has a costume (elf), Snip even has a little bit of a costume (think blinking nose) and Beth and Clay will both be beautiful winter ballerinas!

It has been keeping us busy trying to make sure we are prepped for tomorrow which is parade day in Nyssa, Oregon. Since the horses will be in a very busy town setting the kids decided to put jingle bells on the ponies and take Ardreth on a practice walk through town with the pros (Clay and Snip). Ardreth is going to be the cutest Christmas elf pony in the history of elf ponies! Clay and Beth's parade performance may end up a little mundane compared to the last parade as Beth has been so busy this week she has done no standing riding practice at all.