Friday, August 20, 2010

Vet Student Visit

Earlier this year Dr. Korinn Saker from NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine did an Nutrition Work-Up on Chester, to try to help with his hoof problems. She asked me if she could bring some visiting students over this summer to do a farm visit and work up my herd for the benefit of the students. Of course I said yes!
So Monday Dr. Saker (In the middle) and Vet Students Teaha Chestnut (Right) from Kansas State and Pinky Andrews (Left) from St. Mathews came over. I had the mules and donkeys lined up on the fence in the front yard. Of course is was another hot day and under the big oak tree is the coolest place on my farm.
They began with Seven, taking his vital signs and measuring him for height and weight. They then examined teeth and looked at body fat. Which there is plenty of right now on all my guys!
They asked lots of question about what I feed, how I feed and what I use Seven for. Then they moved to Sadie, Navarre and finally Chester. Much discussion of Chester's hoof problems, diet and we also determined that the weight tape seemed to read a little lower weight than what Chester actually weights. We think this is because of a donkey's longer and more lanky build than that of a horse or mule.

Then we looked at my feed room and got the feed tags off the bags. Then Dr. Saker showed them how to take a core hay sample. The two students then learned how to take forage samples in my pasture and collected a bag to take back and have tested.

We did a lot of talking about the differences between mules, donkeys and horses.
I had a riddle for them. "Seven has something on his body that Sadie does not."
It took them a little while but they finally realized that she, like the donkeys, doesn't have chestnuts on her rear legs. It is true with the hybrid mule that not everything comes out the same way every time!

Thanks Dr. Saker, can't wait to see the results!

Grayson -A break from the Heat!

I always look forward to the Grayson Highland Trip! I always want to leave early and never come back! Mom came up a few days early so that she could help me get ready and she was going to stay and look after the farm while I was gone. I headed up on Wednesday as early as I could since the AC was out in my truck! I discovered this too close to the trip and I did not want to leave, even an minute late, for the trip.
I had a hard time deciding which mule to take with me. All Spring I had been riding Sadie Mae on my trips as she is easier on my back. The fact that I was going to be gone so many days and might need to miss a day lead me to bring Seven this time, as he is very willing to stand in the barn while the other mule leave, were as many of you know Sadie is not so polite about being left.
It turned out to be the right decision.
Once I arrived and got settled a few of us took a short ride to the Ice Cream Camp store. We pigged out of on some Popsicles and headed back. On Thursday we headed out with a group of 11 to an all day ride. We rode to the Saddle and then down to the Maple Tree Trail. Jay took us by a HUGE tree that was dead and had been struck by lighting. I think the tree was well over 100 years old. Kind of scary and makes you respect the weather and climate at 5,000 feet!

Jay told us that there had been two huge snow storms over the winter, one right after the other. Because of this the people who look after the ponies could not get to them and give them the hay they needed. Many of the ponies had died. They will not be having a pony sale this year because of it. They usually round them all up in September and have a fund raising sale to benefit the local fire department. Very sad! So we were happy to see this mare and foal!

It was a great ride but done at a fast pace all day so I was exhausted by the time we reached camp. I had decided that I would not ride out with the group on Friday but rather sleep in and ride out to pick some blue berries and take some photos. I had a great time spending a few hours with just Seven and myself. He was very good and stood parked next to several bushes while I picked berries from the top of the bushes! Then we rode out with a few late arrivals from the mule group. I broke off from them once we got out the main gate and I headed up a hill near by to take some photos.
I was very pleased with Seven, he did not give me any fuss about being in the barn or leaving our friends after riding with them for a bit. Mules can be very tough about staying with their buddies but Seven did not. I hope he enjoyed spending the time with just me as I did with just him!
I started feeling sick later that afternoon and headed down the mountain to find a clinic to see a doctor. I got lucky and was seen, got my medication and was back up to the camp in about three hours. Saturday I continued to not feel very well and so I stayed back at camp and slept all day. Again lucky that I had brought Seven, as Sadie would have both hurt herself and taken the barn down by now! I did take Seven out to graze later that afternoon. Again he impressed me because I sat in a chair held his lead rope to graze him. At one point he got over near the walking path for people to go back and forth from the bathrooms, so I just raised my hand and did a "Direct and Drive" and he moved over to the over side of the chair! All those hours of training pays off once in a while!
Each night was had some great meals as Holly, Sandra and I took turns cooking for each other and Barry cooked Cobblers for dessert each night. Karen even made Home-made Ice cream one night! It was tons of fun to visit with everyone!
Sunday I was finally feeling better enough to ride so I rode out with a smaller group to take the Lost Trail. This is a great little over grown trail that was started as a cattle trail and goes down to a great hide-a-way place next to a rushing creek for lunch. It then carries you up to just below the Saddle area. It was a great change of pace from the open rocky trails we had been riding on.
I took my time coming home because I knew it would be hot and I did not want to leave!
Thank you Mom for looking after all others on the farm while I was gone. It seems Mom worked very hard and did a small make over on my gardens while I was gone too! A nice surprise to come home too.
Also thanks to for Seven for being a great friend and trail mule!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Robbins Farmers Day Fair

Hot Hot Hot! It has been so hot all well! I even waited till 8PM on Friday night before going out to clip and wash Seven. I was hoping that I would not melt on Saturday!
Saturday Morning it was not as hot and a nice breeze, there is hope for to day! I left at 7AM for Robbins and even had time to stop at MacDonalds for Breakfast.
I got to town and was happy to see my friend Vance Clark and his wife set up with his donkey! Diane was there too with her donkey Pearl! I just got parked and up drive Kenneth Kelly! He was still in the area visiting from Colorado and came to visit everyone for the day!
Shortly after getting Seven unloaded I got a call from Tom and Deby Cochran and I guided them into town over the phone. I got the Awning put out for some shade and started to get Seven tacked up.
About 11 AM we all rode down the road to line up. We had Tom and Deby on their mule and donkey, some friends of theres with a really nice Donkey named Sadie pulling a cart and some other members of the club. Diane chose to lead her donkey Pearl through the parade because he was just broken to ride. As we started the parade Pearl did not like the noise that one of the carriages made and refused to go! After she continued to refuse I get Seven to push the donkey along for a few strides. He just walked up to the side of her and put his head and neck over her her back and hips and pushed her along with his chest. Once he got her moving she kept going! I was so proud of him! The rest of the parade went well and there were thousands of people there! At the end of the parade I had to push the donkey one more time past a big industrial fan.
We got back to the trailers, grabbed some lunch and sat down to watch the awards ceremony! Tom won Best Mule in the Parade with his big black mule COAL and Deby won Best Donkey in the Parade with her Pauline. Pauline went on to win Donkey Halter in the show and Coal won Mule Halter. Coal also won Western Pleasure with Seven getting 2nd (out of two) but the class was more like Construction Zone Western Pleasure. There was a Chain Saw and logging competition going on one side of the ring and men putting up a temporary fence on the other side. Plus all the usual crowd and distractions! Two very well broke mules!
I drove home tired and hot was glad that I went and also glad that we had a nice cool breeze for most of the day!
Many thanks to my friend Susan for all the photos.

Tom & Deby on Coal and Pauline

Lindsay and Flyboy

Parade Grandmaster Odell Hussey!