Summer on the farm is one of the busiest times of year. We have fields to plant, hay to bale, pastures to mow besides the everyday jobs of feeding and caring for the livestock. Summer, for most folks, is a fun time. They go to their 9-5 jobs and come home and relax, cookout, swim, ballgames and whatever. Here on the farm, especially if you have a second job, which most of us do these days, farm work is our relaxation time. We put in long hours and less sleep and still continue to function normally, well, most of the time.
It is also a time for the kids to learn about animals and their care. We have a niece, age 4, and a grandaughter, age 2, that come to the farm often. Kalissa, our niece, has always been the little ranch hand but hasn’t been here much lately. Kennedy, on the other hand is here every week or at least every other. Between the two of them, they are the more excited to play with the animals that they will absolutely wear them out, or at least me, before they ever wind down.
Both girls now want to learn how to handle the goats and show them at the county fair. This info was discussed last week and in the process of explaining the need for them to spend more time on the farm to learn seemed to go over well with them. At least during the day, anyway, Kalissa had a bad overnight experience with a babysitter, woke up and did not remember where she was and Mom was not there and now is staying close to home at night. Fear of Mommy not being there, I guess. Any way as long as the daylight is on we are good to go.
So to start, we have to have goats, of course, and I have a small herd with 2 yearling nannies that are just at the right size for them to show. The problem being they decided a little late to do this and the fair is in 4 weeks. So, I suggested to start working with the kid nannies that are 4 months old and start putting a lead on them and messing with them some. So that is our plan. Now to just get started on a regular basis to have them ready for next year.
Another favorite is riding Blaze, my gelding. He is around 10 years old and gentle as a kitten. Anyone can ride him with any kind of horse sense, so to speak. The girls are learning to get used to him by being led bareback first. This teaches them balance and helps them lose their fear. Kalissa has no fear when it comes to animals and Kennedy is right behind her. A year ago, Kennedy was terrified and now that she spends time on the farm she just loves it. They cannot go a whole day here without getting Blaze out to ride. They will soon get to visit the tack room and learn how to care for their gear. They will pick a saddle from one of the many saddle racks and be shown how to clean and care for it, this will give them a sense of pride and they will want to take care of their equipment. They will graduate to a saddle and then we will begin with the bridle. It should be fun to watch them progress and the excitement they show is just wonderful.
Summer is such a great time to enjoy life on the farm and to learn new things, the girls love it.
Any horse owner knows that the acquisition of the animal is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to expenditures. In addition to the horse itself, there is also food, medication, boarding, tack and a litany of other essentials that must be purchased. One of the most important of these investments, and one that you will be employing often, is your saddle.
To that end, it is critical to keep your saddle in pristine condition so that it fits well and is comfortable for both yourself and the animal. A saddle rack is one of the best ways to ensure that your saddle is protected. Not only does it help you keep the saddle and riggings organized, but it also protects it from hazards that can damage it in storage.
While some diehards still ride a horse bareback, virtually all riding is now done via a horse saddle. Before you grab one off the horse saddle racks, it is important to be able to distinguish the two main types of saddles: English and Western. The type of saddle you choose is largely dependent on the type of riding you will be doing.
English saddles are the ones used in Olympic competition and are optimal for jumping and participating in other events. The main feature that separates the Western saddle is the horn on the front of the saddle. This model is for longer, trail-type rides and requires the rider to use a saddle blanket as well.