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Archive for the ‘Odds and Ends’ Category

Winston Churchill said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”  And it’s true – something about spending time with them, bonding with them, and the feeling of freedom that comes from riding, is very, very good for those who know it.

Humans – especially women – are drawn to horses in a way they are drawn to few other species.  I don’t know too many little girls who grow up wanting a pet elk.  Those who grow up on a farm may want their own goat, or sheep, or cow.  But city and farm girls alike can identify with the desire for a pony.  Many of us can identify with the way the breath catches when watching a horse – or a herd of them – gallop freely across a field.

Almost everyone who meets Dakota – or sees a picture – remarks that they’d love to have a horse, and then asks “How much does a horse cost?”

The answer – it varies, but in short – a lot.

Owning horses is deceptively tempting, in that it isn’t buying them that necessarily costs a lot.  It’s keeping them that is expensive.   So if you’re thinking about bringing one home, be sure to do your research on whether you can afford it.  And remember, a horse can live to the ripe old age of as much as 40, so you should plan for your horse’s retirement as you would plan for yours.

Here are some great places for information on how to calculate the real cost of a horse:

Learning Horses

PetPlace

About.com

Lucky Pony

Bear in mind that the board costs they give in these are nowhere near the top end farms around here.  One of the fancy-schmancy show barns in my area charges nearly $1500 a month for board.  Many seem low initially, but charge extra for everything other than food, turnout, and shelter (changing blankets, worming, feeding supplements or medicine, etc.)  While you can find barns that charge very reasonable fees for the care provided (I’m at one), you really need to do your research.

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Hurricane Irene came and went, and we’re all fine.

The hubby and I helped a little with battening down the hatches at the barn on Saturday.  The barn was ready to go with extra water on hand in buckets and tubs, and doors shut.  When we fed the horses in the afternoon, things were still only mildly wet and windy.  Irene rolled in late Saturday into Sunday.  All the horses (who are turned out most of the time) were inside the barn for the duration of the storm, and aside from a little water here and there, things are just peachy.  The power was out as of yesterday, but all was otherwise well.  Gotta love sturdy old barns.

We lucked out at home, too – no damage; just lots of leaves and small branches on the lawn.  Some of our neighbors have been dealing with significant water in the basement, and parts of Connecticut got hammered pretty badly.

We definitely lucked out.

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Sorry, it’s been a while.  Some of the delay was due to the disappointment we experienced when our third attempt at AI didn’t take.  Dakota headed out to Keane stud for a week, where she ovulated early – again – and managed to outfox our vet yet again.

He tried the AI anyway, giving it a 50/50 shot to take.  It didn’t.  The experience was stressful for Dakota, and expensive, and we were very disappointed.

We decided that it just wasn’t meant to be – at least for this year – and decided to throw in the towel.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do next year.  We’re talking about a couple of different options.  Part of me says that if it was meant to be, the AI would have taken.  Who knows? – maybe things would have gone badly, maybe there would have been complications.  I tend to believe that things happen for a reason.

Though I’m disappointed, I’m also OK with things.  I have a wonderful mare, who’s worth her considerable weight in gold on her disposition alone, and foal or no, I have more than I could ever have wanted in a horse.  I’m perfectly content just having her.

The other reason I haven’t posted in a while is that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this blog.  I think I’m going to just make it your basic girl-and-her-horse blog, maybe inviting some friends, and giving you some insight into life around a laid back New England horse farm.  I’ll try to throw in some information about what it costs to keep a horse, the bizarre things that happen when you spend life in a barn, and some gratuitous horse pictures, and we’ll see how that goes.  The blog name may change – maybe not.

We’ll see.

I’ll leave you with a gratuitous Dakota photo for now:

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What the…

OK, seriously, what the flip is up with the weather???

This scene greeted me upon exiting my house on the way out to breakfast.  Went to the barn this morning, and Dakota was standing outside the shelter (of course – it was raining; of course she’s outside).  She looked at me like, “Hey, Mom – thanks for scraping off all my warm winter hair.  That’s working out great.”

Gotta love New England.

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