10/18/2007

Stall Fronts-HELP

OK, construction has begun on the barn and it is VERY EXCITING!!!! We have pictures, but I am currently traveling and no access to the camera. The barn has a small arena with 5 12 foot stalls on one side facing the small indoor arena (50x60), then underneath the hayloft are 6 more stalls, 4 of them double size.

Of the four, we will be turning 1 into a nice big tack room (yipee). The other 3 double stalls we will split up, turning the front of them into an aisle. The current entry to those double stalls is on the back of the barn (meaning going through the rain if necessary), but the 'aisle' plan creates the need for stall fronts.

I have looked at a lot of options and have seen nothing I like more than what is at Pam's barn. At Pam's we have the typical tongue and groove stall fronts with a sliding door and a feeder door. But the difference is that under the feeder door is a small door that swings out and attached is a metal box that can hold close to 100 lbs of grain. There is a corner feeder built into the stall so the horses cannot access it and I am tell you, it makes life SO EASY!!!! She had them custom built and with the current pricing I am seeing I think-maybe it is worth the price.

So readers, tell me, what do your stall fronts look like? What is the most economical, most attractive and SAFEST stall front you have seen? What do you wish you would have done?

10/11/2007

Is your horse really forward?

Let's talk about forward and light for a minute. I rode a horse today (and gosh she was pretty) who I was told was forward. And yes, probably compared to what she used to be, she is. She will be a nice dressage horse and perhaps even my nice dressage horse, but more on that later.

What I am used to, however, is riding a rocket. When I get on these horses that require a squeeze, a kick or even a spur to move more forward or to the next level I think-is this really forward? If you haven't had the chance to ride a forward Paso Fino, I beg of you, find a local farm and feel what forward is all about.

These horses are light, sensitive and very very forward. Gait requires impulsion, although not mandatory for all gaited horses, it is a highly common theme. I realize that it looks strange, but if one is in your midst, ask for a ride because it is a ride you won't forget. Oh yes, don't squeeze, just think Go.

Manure Management

DOH! The call I am promoting was YESTERDAY! But you can still listen to it by clicking the links below. . .

My first order of business at our new barn is to figure out how to manage manure. I want to do it right and that means from day one. I have been doing a little research on costs of tractors and manure spreaders, but in reality, I don't know how to manage manure for 9 horses (my 3 + mom's 3 + 3 eventual boarders).

I know the systems we have used where I have boarded, what has worked and what has not, but I'm also interested in building great compost for my garden and keeping the pasture green.

I'm going to start tonight by listening to Equine Teleseminar.net's Manure Management call which is led by Peter Moon of O2compost.com. I went to the site and COOL. If you have any interest in composting your horse manure, this site (and this call) are for you. The call is tonight, but as always it is recorded, so don't hesitate to visit Equine Teleseminar to order a copy along with her successful calls in the past with folks like Jane Savoie. She has even promised to bring us Linda Tellington Jones in November!

The call is at 8PM Pacific, 5PM Central. I'll let you know how it goes!

10/09/2007

Learning Horses Ranches!

Well, it won't be official until tomorrow (hopefully), but dreams do come true and we are in the final countdown to having our own facility. The big news-my mom has arrived with her 3 horses in the lower 48 (that is how us Alaskan's call it) and will spend some time in the Seattle area and then headed to Eugene shortly.

So we purchased 9.5 acres in Junction City, OR with a barn, small indoor arena, large outdoor arena, 7 acres of pasture plus a few other non-horse details (like a house and garage).

So for the next few months I will take you on the journey with me as I learn all about life on the ranch (or is it farm?). My first project is to get the barn all set up which requires some reworking of stalls, construction of stall fronts, possible installation of automatic waterers (I have an idea!) and fencing.

Of course, we need to be prepared to spread manure, so I have begun investigating tractors-now THAT is a big learning process. Indeed learning proper manure and pasture management is the top priority.

So, of course, I will share my knowledge with you in this learning process and there will be some new categories, lots of new websites and most importantly, opportunity for feedback. I will ask of my friends at Intense Debate to use their nifty new commenting system, won't that be fun? That way it can be interactive for all of us!