Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Back in the Saddle

We managed to just sneak by by the skin of our teeth to excape this most recent storm. We were forcast to get 6 inches of snow or more last Friday, which was threatening to severely dampen our weekend plans. Last weekend we had a storm come through on Saturday and Sunday, causing us to not get much done, then it was beautiful during the week in between, of course. So it was with much consternation that we looked forward to this next storm. Dave even hooked the plow up to the truck. Actually, I think that did it - that sent the storm to the south and beyond the 20 minutes of snow/hail type stuff that did actually cover the ground in white, the rest of the day was clear and sunny. Yea.

We had Anthony come out both days, the third of our new employees. He has a full time job so weekends are his preference for coming out. Turns out he's worked quite a bit of landscaping with his dad, so he's definitely got the hard work and outdoors experience. He hadn't ever driven a tractor before, though. Boy-howdy, did he get some practice time in this weekend!

We've been meaning to drag the horse pens because it's been about a year and the manure out there was actually probably 10 inches thick. We didn't quite realize the scope of the problem when we'd started out, since so much had been packed down firmly. We put the scraper blade on our little tractor, and found that it worked wonderfully to scrape the surface. Only... the surface kept getting lower and lower!

We put the second tractor to work piling all the scrapings into a pile outside of the pen. Eventually we went and borrowed Tom's tractor that was already hooked up to the spreader. The spreader belongs to a mutual friend of Tom's and ours, and he told us a few weeks ago he's sold it and thus will be needing it back. Thats one reason for the urgency to get these jobs done now. So by lunch we had three of us, three tractors, and we kept them moving almost non stop until about 7. It was turning into a real ballet. But we have never seen our pens look better - because we're fairly sure that a lot of what we picked up out there was there from the seller's horses, given it's advanced state of decomposition.

Sunday Dave was getting the sprayer setup to start spraying the fields, so Anthony and I and several of Ginger's teenaged riding helpers clean up all around the barn, raking up old hay and dumping that on the compost pile. Finally, I had Anthony further hone his tractor driving skills, actually that of using the front loader, by turning one compost pile onto the other to mix it all up. Woo Whee -- those were all tasks we've been trying to get done for a long time, so it felt great!

I mentioned Ginger's riding helpers - because yes we've got a full slate of lessons running again as of this weekend. Since we had to cancel winter session due to the snow, we haven't had this much people and riding activity in the barn since before Thanksgiving. Everything seemed to go pretty well, particularly having the helpers to assist with the brand new beginners. I think the helpers all love being out there, and they get extra riding time in exchange, so that works out wonderfully.

Joey has shown no more sign of his 'episode' from last week, so in talking with our regular vet about it I guess we're cautiously optimistic it was a freak thing.



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