Archive for September, 2009

Round Pen

September 23, 2009

Since we moved onto our property on September 5th and my birthday was September 8th, it seemed I had the perfect excuse to buy myself a birthday present. Which was of course 15 panels and a gate to make a 60′ round pen. Here it is set up in our paddock. Tomorrow I will start working with each of the horses, all of them need training, and this is a great way to start.

Round pen


September 23, 2009

One of our priorities is to clear the pasture of the russian olive trees that have been allowed to run rampant over the last 15 years and have pretty much taken over the pasture. So today we were out there with the chainsaws, pruners and root killer. I built a double compost bin because I couldn’t stand to burn all the foliage and fruit from the trees, and we started working backwards from the front of the pasture. BOY are there a lot of those little trees, as well as a lot of bigger ones, and lots of deadwood too.  The horses love the foliage and berries and have cleaned off all they could reach, so every time we dropped a tree we had all three of them around stripping the good stuff off. And of course we had to take branches to the two horses next door over the fence too!

Eating trees

Samson chowing down on russian olives

Big Sky Draft Horse Expo

September 23, 2009

We went down to Deer Lodge MT last Sunday for the draft horse show at the Powell County Fairgrounds, which is a great local venus for people all over Montana to bring their teams and compete.

Deborah Derr from United in Light was there as always raising awareness and $$$ for her rescue in Livingston, here is a short video so now you know what she looks like!

Here is the Unicorn Hitch class

And here is the 6  horse hitch class

Its great to see these big rigs, but they aren’t really local, usually from  farms in Idaho and Washington which are big and wealthy farms and they have been breeding drafts for generations which is why they have such well matched teams.  You should see the trailers and rigs they turn up with too, on a par with the Bud Clydesdales….

Its a huge challenge for me to drive two horses at a time, so handling six must be exhausting!

Time to move

September 21, 2009
Well time went by and we finished restoring our 1890 Victorian house in downtown Helena, just as Carol was working on subdividing her property, and just as things SHOULD fall into place, they did. We sold the big house in a week, the county told Carol she could finally subdivide her property, the tenant in the trailer house on that 10 acre parcel moved out, so we moved in, moved our huge woodworking shop (we are custom furniture makers) into storage, all in three weeks and are now comfortably ensconced in the two bedroom trailer house – the horses are outside our windows in the pasture, the doggies are happy as clams, we love the peace and quiet, and we are looking forward to completing the purchase of the property and working on building our new home.

MorningHappy doggies

September 21, 2009

Time goes by. We take photos to keep track of Samson’s growthLots of naps5 days old2 weeks3 weeksSamson helping MikeSamson at 8 weeks with Tosca and MikeThanksgiving 2008Samson in May 2009New gate

Samson arrives!

September 21, 2009
Well we waited and waited – all the other mares from Rocky’s ranch foaled in April and May, and still the second week of June Carmen was getting fatter and fatter, and then on Friday the 13th I left her at around 9 o’clock in the evening, no milk, no wax, but the following afternoon our friend who owns the pasture called to say we had a foal!!
The cutest little guy with HUGE knees. His sire is 18.2 hands so he is going to be a big boy.



September 21, 2009
In September of 2007 I received an email from the Animali Farm asking for people who could adopt draft mares from a ranch in northern Alberta which had lost its contract for the pregnant mares’ urine, and was intending to send almost two hundred draft mares to auction which would have been certain death for these horses.
We chose Carmen, a 7 year old Belgian mare who was bred to a Belgian stallion, and she arrived at our farm on a Friday at the end of November 2007. We put her in the front corral in the hope that she would acclimatize and meet the other horses over the fence, but she had other intentions and cleared (sort of) a 5′ steel gate, bent it badly, pulled it into the paddock and got herself some cuts and bruises as well. No serious harm to her (gate is pretty bad) and she immediately established herself as boss of the pasture, at that time Tosca, Annie the Mule and a rather bad tempered paint.

A new home for Tosca

September 21, 2009

We moved Tosca to a friend’s ranch down in the valley where the grass was green and lush – she was looking more thoroughbred than draft that summer

Tosca in the round pen with Mike

How we came to Bode Farm

September 21, 2009
In March of 2007 I was persuaded by a friend to adopt a PMU foal from Alberta Canada through the Animali Farm in Santa Maria, California. For those of you who don’t know about the pregnant mare urine industry, this is how hormone replacement therapy used to be manufactured. Premarin was created by keeping mares pregnant year after year, and confining them for several months each year in a stall hooked up to a collection device.
They were released just before foaling out into a pasture with no supervision and no veterinary services to foal in the wild. Luckily these mares were savvy and for the most part the foals survived. Of course if the mares were to be rebred – stallions were let out into the pastures within a month or so of foaling – the foals were weaned, herded off to feed lots and sent to slaughter for the horsemeat industry in Europe and Asia.
Tosca, our first PMU adoption, came from a ranch in Alberta where they had been breeding prize winning Percherons for a long time, and her sire is a registered thoroughbred, so she would never have gone to auction and the kill buyers. She was ten months old and completely wild when she arrived – it was a month before we could touch her. This is her first day in Montana.

First Day in Montana

Hello world!

September 21, 2009

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