Author: restingheartfarm

So you think you are prepared to feed your family?

Maybe you haven’t thought about it before.  What will you do if the country dives into civil war, North Korea launches a nuclear weapon on North America, or a lethal virus knocks out the vast majority of the earth’s population?  Even a natural disaster…   If you think it can’t happen, your head is in the sand. And good for you….more food for me.  I like food and have a plan to feed myself and my loved ones in an emergency.  Do you? Its not as simple as stockpiling food and water.  Those stocks, no matter how much you put away in a bunker or your pantry, will run out sooner or later.  Not to mention that your hungry neighbors will likely try to steal those stores from you at the first opportunity. A friend, a Patriot, recently told me that he would have to barter his skills in security to get food for his family.  That’s fair.  If you have skills of value to people with food, you might do ok.  Particularly in a …

A Word on Guinea Hen parenting….

Well, its about time I got the Farm Blog going again…so lets talk about birds. I’ve been raising fowl on the farm for years.  Most would agree they have an idyllic life, free range and plenty of space to enjoy their social life, while providing us with fresh, yummy eggs and controlling insect pests well.  Occasionally, a hen will get broody and sit on a clutch of eggs, then bring new life to the flock.  Chickens, in general, though less likely to get broody, are great mothers and I have had to intervene very little. This year I have a pretty large flock of adult Guinea hens.  In the past, our guinea population has been small…6 or so, with only one female.  This year, thanks to a neighbor who needed to relocate her flock, we have a larger, more diverse flock.  I’ve enjoyed watching these little, flighty prehistoric creatures and their antics.  I am realizing, though, that they have a pretty interesting social structure.  We’ve had two broody guinea hens this year.  The first one …

Equine Nutrition, part 2. Mineral Interactions…

So some good questions have sprung up from my introductory post on minerals for horses.  What do we do about excess iron in well water?  I have excess sulfur in mine…what about that? There is a highly prevalent idea in recent equine medicine that equine supplements are unnecessary.  I think there is good proof that many supplements are a complete waste of money.  But I also know that our modern horses faces many dietarychallenges in their environment…poor forage options, limited grazing, isolation, static diets of grains and limited quality hay.  Obesity and lameness are common.  Insulin resistance and Cushings disease are epidemic.  I’ve read that excess iron causes laminitis and poor foot health, and excess copper can cause anemia.  Lack of selenium causes tying up.  The list goes on and on.  Its clear that minerals are important and that they need to be provided in an ideal amount….not too much, not to little.  So how do you know what your horse needs?  Is there a mathematical formula?  Nope. So lets look first at minerals in …

Equine Nutrition…Minerals, part one

So a friend recently asked me for advice about how to help her older mare with suspected Cushings. So I thought I would take the opportunity to describe my approach to equine rehab. Part one…Equine Nutrition Basics. Its a huge discussion and I start at the same place for any horse, Cushings or not. The photo attached is of obese Leilja, two years ago. Although not Cushings related, her weight put her at risk for hoof problems and tendon injuries. So an ideal weight is really important for healthy horses. The first thing most people do with obese horses is to withhold food or feed poor quality hay and nothing else. This doesn’t work well and although horses might lose weight (many don’t with this approach), the trade off is mineral deficiencies that cause disease. The truth is completely opposite. Horse are created to instinctively eat for minerals. If they don’t have access to the minerals they need, they will overeat whatever is in front of them…be it hay, wood, rocks, etc. So they simply …

Bogie needs a tune up….

So this tuesday, I admit….I got distracted again.  I just HAD to get my veggies planted and build a raised bed and mow the pasture.  Its gonna rain tomorrow after all and this stuff just HAS to get done! But I stuck to the plan to play with Bogie.  You remember him….he dumped me last week, when his saddle became unpredictable.  Anyway, we warmed up with some hindquarter and forequarter yields….he is soft as butter. Then I tested out our friendly game…which is broken.  Alot of crazy running and drunken sailor behavior from me, only to softly rub him.  He got it pretty quickly, since we have done this before.  Horses need to remember that ‘not everything means do something’.   Then we played around with squeezing over a jump.  Note here:  Bogie has never jumped anything that I am aware of.  I made a gap for him to walk through…after all, it wasn’t about jumping…it was about problem solving.  There are several parts to the squeeze game….send (to the ‘problem’), allow (them to try), …

Should have stuck to the plan…

Yesterday was to be my first Tuesday Driving Day.  But I got off track.  It was hot and buggy.  I brought the horses into the barn for the afternoon with the plan to trim feet and work on some ground work in preparation for driving.  I got distracted by unpacking some remaining boxes in the barn and moving the wagonette to the arena, where I want to use it with Ripple.  Soon I was hanging hooks and pictures in arena and barn.  Soon after that, it was 4pm… Disgusted with my distractability, I pulled Bogie out to trim his feet.  He was surprisingly good.  Calm and cooperative.  Not his typical distracted self.  So when my boarder, Pam arrived and asked if I wanted to go for a short ride, I agreed and saddled up Bogie.  I haven’t ridden him since last fall.  I restarted him under saddle last summer and he is a fun ride, but can be alittle tense.  I didn’t have any serious concerns yesterday but did think to grab my helmet.  Well his calm, …

Tuesdays are now ‘driving’ days here at the New Resting Heart Farm

We are finally settling into our new home in Danby, Vermont.  Lovely new facility and farm.  I’ve just returned home from Ladd Farm in Bridgewater Farm where we have conducted our fourth driving workshop in two years.  Its always inspiring to see how much progress horses and their humans can achieve in  just a few days.  So inspired I have committed to my own driving goals for the summer…..1.  To get the basic driving foundation on my saddle horses, Beaugart, a ASH/arab cross (who has issues with ropes in zome 4 and 5) and my aging anglo/arab Manny.  2.  To get Ripple, one of my Percheron rehabs comfortable driving as a single (this makes him anxious) and 3. to bring a new horse along…foundation, to ground driving to driving a cart.  So, Tuesdays are my days off.  Never had one of those before!  Tuesdays are now driving days at the farm.  I welcome visitors, teamsters, friends, family and anyone interested in learning to drive to come on out to the new farm and get involved.  …