Monday, September 26, 2016

Frankie chukar hunt recap 9/24/16

I haven't done any riding posts lately...mostly because my rides as of late have been boring/frustrating/generally crap. My dog, however, is amazing. 

We took Frankie for his first official hunt this weekend. The preserve where we took him for training was having a special hunt for training customers, this was a nice opportunity to get him out and on birds before pheasant season on public land gets started. This was also a totally new experience for John and I and I found out that I really like preserve hunting because 1) you know how many birds are out there for you to find (and that there are birds out there in the first place lol!) and 2) You have a specific area to work with and don't have to worry about bothering other hunters, which is great because we are still learning. I'm not sure if there is a "right way" to do hunt recaps but I will give it a try! 

Weather: Low 70s, clear skies 

Bird 1: Frankie found and pointed his first bird almost right away! John flushed and hit it over some thick cover. Frankie did a great retrieve, yeah! 

Bird 2: Frankie pointed this one but not quite as strongly as the first, I ended up asking him to relocate and he got a steadier point. John flushed and missed, Frankie listened to the "no bird" command and stayed close (this is a big deal as it took him a little while to learn to do this). 

Bird 3: A nice point by Frankie and he stayed really steady while John flushed and shot...I don't remember if he hit this one or not! 

Bird 4: Frankie was getting a bit tired at this point (it was warm and the cover was higher than he is used to). He pointed this one in a clump of grass...I think John hit this one as well.

Bird 5: We must have walked by this one at least 3 times! I ended up accidentally finding if for Frankie when I almost stepped on it! 

Bird 6: Was running along the ground in front of one knew what to do! Frankie stayed close to me while John walked up on it, flushed and hit it over thick cover. Frankie retrieved it with a little help.

Overall I thought this hunt was a great, positive experience for all! I hope we get to do some more preserve hunting this season!
I am holding the gun for the picture, but John took all the shots :)

Additional Frankie picture

Friday, September 23, 2016

25 things you didn't know about me

Got this from L over at Viva Carlos!

I'm happiest when... I'm trail riding my horses 

.... Especially If... It's not winter

I've always wanted to... be a stay at home dog mom 

My family and I... are the funniest people I've ever met 

I was a terrible... math/algebra studen

My first job was... working at a private barn

I could probably eat cheesecake everyday

I stole.. my husband's fleecey girth

I was born on the same day as ... some other people, none of whom I have met

My all time favorite movie is... Crimson Peak!

I do a pretty mean... walk to canter depart on Frosty

I'm still mad... that I still live in Pennsyvlania

I met my SO at.. Plumstead races pleasure drive 

I always knew I wanted a .. horse

I'm not afraid to... get dirty

I make the best... cereal 

I have almost no... regrets

I always cry when.. it snows or is winter

I'm (now) a nutritionist for farm animals ...  but I think.. I should have been a cowgirl instead

I spent 9 years.. taking weekly riding lessons

I wish my folks... would go on another Switzerland adventure so I could look at the pictures and imagine eating the delicious food

At 5 I was deeply in love with... I don't remember being five but I know I had a really bad haircut and wanted to not have such a bad haircut?

I believe if everyone ...wasn't such an asshole the world would be a better place.

I can't stand.. cold weather

Whenever trashy reality TV ... is on I'll watch it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Farm animal nutrition: tools of the trade

In my life outside of horses I work in the animal feed industry. I have found over time that many of the skills and supplies I use in my work life I can use at home feeding my own animals as well. 

Weight tape: This photo actually shows a beef weight tape but they make these for horses as well. Knowing your horses' weight is an essential starting point for formulating and balancing rations. The weight tape also allows you to track weight gain/loss caused by changes you make to the ration. Finally, the weight tape can help you determine medication dosages based on weight. (PS-If you don't have a weight tape but do have a regular soft measuring tape you can use this formula to estimate your horse's weight: heart girth x heart girth x body length/330=weight in pounds.)

Forage sample bags: I wrote a post on the importance of testing your hay here. If you don't test your forage you will not have a full picture of what you are feeding your horses. The appearance of the hay will NOT tell you important facts about nutritional content such as protein level and sugar/starch content.

Feed tags: I use feed tags when evaluating competitor's products in the field at work. I also read and review both the ingredients and the nutrition specs on the tags for all the horse feeds I buy. 

Scales!: I love my scales! The scale on the left is a digital kitchen scale, it was about $10-$14 from the kitchen section at target. The scale on the right is a hanging bag scale which was about $20 at tractor supply. I use scales to guide customers on how much to feed in my day to day at work. At home I weigh each new feed to determine how much it weighs per quart. 
It is particularly important to know weights when feeding a fortified grain product. The vitamin/mineral content of these feeds is based on a specific minimum feeding rate. If you are only feed 2# of a product designed to be fed at 5# your animals won't be getting the full serving of vitamins/minerals/amino acids that may be in the product. 
Different feed formulations have different densities, for instance, I feed a sweet feed and a pelleted fat supplement, the pelleted supplement is more dense and weighs more per quart. The hanging scale is useful for weighing hay nets, simply hang the empty net and subtract that weight from the full weight. I was really surprised how little hay by weight I was actually feeding when I started using the hanging scale, I am not good at guessing weights!

Many sizes of measuring cups/scoops: These come in handy when measuring out feed products that have tag instructions for volume instead of weight. 

Sight, touch, and smell:
I get my hands on feed I formulate for customers and keep close tabs on the feed I buy as well. I always feel each batch to check for consistency and stickiness (molasses level). Feed should smell fresh and sweet, never dusty, sour or moldy. Also check for bugs, mold, and excess dust when opening a bag. Know your basic feed ingredients to make sure the formula is correct and consistent. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Wherein we tour the arenas of York county

As most of you know I don't have my own arena (or even a flat-ish place to ride) so my usual options for riding are: 1. My driveway 2. Hills on my property 3. Haul for trail riding. This weekend I figured I would try something different and haul to some nearby arenas. On Saturday I took Chester to a farm only a few miles from my house where I can pay to use the indoor and outdoor.
We started out in the indoor which had really nice rubberized footing, Chester settled in really quick and was a good boy!
Since this farm also has an outdoor we headed out there to walk around and cool down. He was definitely a little more "looky" out there which was interesting since he is much less so when trail riding!

On Sunday we went trail riding at Spring Valley park in western tack. To my surprise their big arena was open so I got to ride Chester in there! The Spring Valley arena is awesome and HUGE I wish it was open more frequently because the size is very inviting and it is useful for schooling the canter on young horses. Chester has been in this arena once before and he seems to really like it.

Not a great picture (still from video) but I wanted to show the size of the arena at Spring Valley!