Author: restingheartfarm

Spring Update 2011

Spring has FINALLY sprung (I hope).  The flowers are popping, the pastures greening up and the animals are restless in their winter paddocks.  Its my favorite day in the spring when I am able to release the horses out to the summer pasture.  Its downright joyous, watching them romp and munch on the new grass.  It will need to dry out alittle more before that day comes, but it will be soon. This is a busy time of year on the farm, with lots to do… Piglets have arrived.  Three this year.  My niece, Marina named them Salt, Pepper and Basil.  Now there’s a kid who knows where her bacon comes from…. The calves, Tbone and Porter (aka Willy and Wally for my vegetarian friends), are settling in nicely.  I recently moved them down to the lower barn in anticipation of some electric fence training and more space for turnout.  Two days ago I let them out with Bogie as a trial.  They went right to the electric fence and put their sorry little noses …

Support Henniker Farm Store….

If you haven’t already heard the Mock Family who own the Henniker Farm Store in Henniker, NH lost their home, several beloved pets and all their belongings in a tragic house fire last week.  They are holding a bake sale at the store this weekend to help with the rebuilding of their home.  Please take a drive on this beautiful weekend to support them. Out of town and want to contribute?  Donations can be sent to the store. The Mock Family, 110 Bradford Road, Henniker, NH 03242

April Update on Beaugart

I’ve had Bogie home from the trainer for almost 2 weeks now.  I’m sticking to my plan and have left out the timeline, going very slowly.  I spent most of the first week in observation mode, trying to see where Bogie’s mind is at.  Having him away from the main herd has been very helpful, in that I can see his reactions to me more clearly.  Its amazing…he is all over the map!  From pacing the fenceline looking for the safety of the herd (RBE) to stomping on the chickens (LBE) to frozen and tense while I work around him(RBI) and then to frisking me for cookies (LBI)…all in a matter of a few minutes.  Phew…he’s like a friggin rollercoaster! The first big ‘aha’ was that he really does not tolerate me approaching him directly.  He might manage to stand still, but he is tense and suspicious. I had missed that before.   If I have something in my hand, like a brush or a leadline, forget it, he is out of dodge.  This is the response I …

New Format…

Some of you may have noticed the style and format of my blog has changed a few times this week.  I’ve been searching for the right theme.  Both appealing to the eye and functional.  I think I have settled on this one.  Check it out.  I’ve updated our home page and added a page that highlights what the farm is selling each week.  Feedback appreciated.

Starting Over with Beaugart…

Beaugart aka ‘Bogie’ is a young arab X NSH that came to Resting Heart Farm last winter.  From the start he has been difficult for me to read….hard to catch, head shy, evasive….sometimes anxious, sometimes curious, sometimes over-reactive.   He is a rescue and I don’t know alot about his history, but I can see he has some old wounds on his legs, and asymmetric eyes, so there has been some trauma.  The question is….does the old trauma create his current state of mind or did his innate way of dealing with life make him more likely to have accidents.  Doesn’t really matter, I guess…I have to deal with the horse that is here right now.  And where we are right now is, well, complicated.  Last summer, I was working pretty successfully with Bogie, or so I thought.  I wrote about it here.   Over the winter, our partnership started to deteriorate.  He became impossible to catch without chasing him into a stall and cornering him.  I can hear you all, rolling your eyes, in exasperation thinking…. ‘TELL …

What Horses have to Teach us about Healing…

I have been struggling to write this piece for over a week now.  Its not typical for me to experience ‘writer’s block’ but there is is.  And as it turns out, totally germane to the topic.  Its been a tough week for me mentally and emotionally.  Engaged in some politically charged organizational rhetoric….within a task I took on voluntarily to help a cause I believe in….I found I was not thriving.   No details are required, but as a result of this turmoil, I have experienced indigestion, muscle aches, headaches, and poor sleep.  Late last evening I was given the opportunity to remove myself from this situation and I gratefully accepted.  I did feel better, but it wasn’t until the wee hours of this morning …..when I was roused from bed by the hospital to come in to care for one of my patients emergently ….that I fully released all that toxic energy.  At my patient’s bedside, as I laid my hand on her shoulder to reassure her that she would be OK…wham…I felt it.  My head cleared, my …

February Farm Update

Ripple has integrated nicely into the herd.  Still the low man in status, he can be found sharing hay with everyone, but Reno at this point.  He is starting to stand his ground more when getting pushed around and I see alot more sparring going on now.  He can be found in the middle of the herd and in the barn lying down, now. I did fecals on everyone this week and was happy to see that Ripple did not have a heavy count, so I’ll do a course of Worm Foe from Silver Lining Herbs over the next full moon.  Its a natural wormer than simply creates an inhospitable environment for parasites by alkalizing the GI tract.  I also use Herbal Tonic from Dynamite , which is very similar.  I like to get everyone cleaned up before the snow melts, to avoid overloading the spring pastures with parasites. We have alot of snow, so it will be some time before we see green pastures, but the days are definately getting longer and the chickens …

Natural Parasite Control…

Someone asked me today how I get away without worming my horses. To start with…its not that I NEVER use conventional wormers…I have and will use them when its necessary, but I avoid them.  There are several reasons for this, but first, an analogy… Anyone who has started a garden, large or small, be it a small kitchen garden or a farmers market garden or mass produced corn, has to decide how they will manage pests and disease.  Will they grow organically or conventionally.  Both ways work and of course there is alot of territory in between.  The conventional garden is managed by adding pesticides to the soil to minimize disease and pests either up front as a prophylactic or in response to a threat.  These agents kill not only the pests, but also harms the organic life and sometimes the structure of the soil, making it now necessary to add fertilizers of various compositions to maintain ‘healthy’ levels of nutrients for plant growth.  There’s a billion dollars worth of research about how to do …

Look what two weeks will do…

These photos were taken two weeks apart.  I know the difference is subtle, but I think you can see Ripple’s topline has relaxed quite abit and the angle of the hip has changed.  The illusion is that he has filled out in the rump area.  What is really happening is that the tightness in the hamstrings is lessening, allowing the hip to relax into a more normal position.  Some of this relaxation is a product of time and lessening anxiety about his new place and herd, but some of it is diet, acupressure, massage  and movement.  Nice start.  Relaxation is the start of everything else.  I like this horse!

Herd Politics

People frequently ask me how I introduce a new horse to the herd.  Over the past 5 years I have had a dozen or so rescues and foster care horses of one breed or another to integrate (or not) into the herd.  Every horse is different and there are lots of things to consider.  So far, I can say I have not had a single injury integrating a new horse…not even a patch of lost hair. The first thing to consider is the health of the new horse.  Where did they come from?  Are they likely to have been exposed to something infectious?  Animals coming from an auction or other high traffic facility, no matter how healthy they look, should have a suitable period of quarantine from your herd.  This ought to be in a separate barn and turnout, some distance from the home crew.  I don’t have such a set-up here, so I am pretty careful about where I will take horses from.  I did take on a mini stallion from an auction a …