Horse trailer loading 101 (from my couch)

When I arrived to feed at the arena this morning, Deb had already fed the herd. Our rescue thoroughbred mare “Baby” was in the arena eating and cold so I put her blanket on. It’s still raining (and flooding) and it’s supposed to change over to snow tonight.


(This is a picture of Baby last year in her blanket. She belongs to one of our boarders-Julee Jones.)

I hopped back in the 4-runner to go check the level of the creek. It was too high to get across in the car but it looked like the tractor could do it. I waded out to almost the tops of my rubber boots (knee high) to make sure. So, I drove back to the barn and picked up feed, extra hay and 2 blankets (just in case). The tractor did go through the rising water with the front axle covered but the engine bottom high and dry.

When I pulled up, Grayson stuck his head out of the horse trailer. He was all the way inside out of the weather. He hopped out and went to his pen to eat his grain. I shut him up in his pen, fed Hendrix and open his pen up to the training pen and trailer. While he was eating I restocked the trailer with fresh hay. It may not make them “easy loaders” but at least it will get them used to going in and out of it on their own. Parelli says it can be “a big scary cave on wheel.” I want them to think of it as a big safe yummy smorgasbord on wheels. Training will continue when the mud dries out a little. More rain then snow tonight.

***note from Val***
BTW, I’ve had quite the uptick lately in new subscribers. Welcome everyone to Avalon Farmblog!!! Just curious where and how you heard about it. If you have a minute to post here or drop me line at valerie@avalonfarmblog.com that would be great. Tell me what you’d like to hear more about…ie, horses, politics, farming, GLBT issues etc. So glad to have you aboard Thx!

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Waiting for Mother Nature

Just finished watching the 2 DVD set “Ray Hunt’s Colt Starting” and I picked up several new ideas for my approach with Hendrix. The problem is it’s raining hard…and the round pen is a mud pit. ugh…Tomorrow the weather calls for snow flurries so it’s wet and cold and windy.Just keeping all the horses out of the mud and in fresh hay. I built a temporary shelter for Grayson and Hendrix since they are still over the creek in the hay field. Brenda helped me today build up the ground under the tarps with river sand. They were pools of water. Tomorrow they would have been ice skating rinks. Thankfully we have these sand banks in the woods along the creek from previous floods. I was able to get the tractor in there and got several front end loader scoops (about 3 yards each) and dumped them under the tarps. In between trips, Brenda shoveled them level and also helped lash down the tarps better. They ripped a bit in last night’s wind. The window to getting Hendrix gelded is closing too. It has to be dry, about 50 degress and Hendrix needs to be calm enough to take a shot in the vein from the vet. I can tell you…he isn’t ready yet…

Yesterday was beautiful and we loaded the bush hog on the flat bed so we can take it in for repairs. It was a bit too wide for the trailer hitting the wheel wells so we propped it up above them and strapped it down. Chained wrapped around the bucket lifted it up there. The trick was to get it perfectly balanced so it lift up evenly and didn’t swing back and hit the tractor. That sucker’s heavy ;-)

As for Hendrix…I’ll just keep at it when the weather allows. Brenda moved the trailer over the creek for me and I’m keeping it open and full of extra hay if he decides he’d like to go in on his own. He’s been putting his head & neck in it eating. At least it won’t be the first time he’s seen it whenever we get to practice trailer loading. I’m hoping before the winter weather sets in too bad I’ll be able to move him and Grayson over to the covered arena and set up a pen under there for them. Forecast says the next 20 hours we may get 4″ of rain and a snow mix tomorrow.

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merry christmas

merry christmas.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you have a great turkey day and enjoy food & good times with those you love.Things are buzzing around the farm as the holidays approach. The house is already almost all decorated and I’m working on Christmas cards. This pick didn’t make it into the card choice for this year but is one of my favorite photos around the farm in the snow last year.

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Need someone to ride horse

One of our boarders here at Avalon Farms is in recovery from recent surgery and will be unable to ride her horse for several months. She’s looking for a local woman that rides to come out to the farm (45 min from nashville) and ride her mare to keep her “tune up.” Here’s the email she sent me:
Sending this to everybody I know with an interest in horses, who might have a horsey female friend who would like to ride a great horse, for free, on a beautiful property, for the next 4 months. Please feel free to circulate this widely, with my contact info at the end.

Long story short – I will be unable to ride until the first of March. I have a very well-behaved horse who will be standing around in the pasture until then if I don’t find a woman to exercise her. Even having several different people ride her once would be preferable to that, though one consistent rider would be best.

The farm is located between Ashland City and Charlotte. Easy to find, about 40 minutes from Madison (NE part of Nashville). There are 3 hours of trails, a covered arena, and a round pen. In a couple more weeks, I should be released to drive and can meet someone out there during the week, or we can come out on the weekends now. The farm rule is that no one can ride alone, so if the person wants to bring someone else with them to ride, we have a second horse. If there isn’t a second rider, what I have done is follow a few minutes behind on the car, to within hearing distance, in case of an accident.

Here are the stats:

First horse: Norwegian Fjord, Gaven: 13.3 hh, 900 lbs. Very docile, steady on the trails.
Second horse: Haflinger / TWH, Pip: 13.2hh, 900 lbs. A little more fiery, nice rack.

Both horses are sturdy, but I wouldn’t want much over 180 lbs on either, including tack. They have all their own tack, are easy to catch, and are used to the trails on the property. Both are easy to catch, groom, etc. Neither of them is used to being ridden hard (prolonged canter, steep hills at more than a walk, etc.) but are healthy and could be conditioned to it over a period of time.

If you know of anyone who is interested, please ask them to contact me. Thanks for your help.

Robyn Kevlin
615-804-4408
rckevlin@gmail.com
FB: Robyn Kevlin

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Avalon Farms Horse Boarding

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last weekend’s ride

Robyn sent me some pics from last weekend’s ride…Lynn drove up from alabama and rode Emily’s mare “Blue.”

Deb rode too on her horse, “Bill.”

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playing with Hendrix (colt starting)


I had company today at the round pen. Robyn Kevlin was visiting her horses at the farm and drove across the creek to check out our progress. I wanted to show her what Hendrix & I are doing together now. She took some pictures of us with my iphone.

After a few minutes circling he came up on cue and we began with the friendly game on his favorite spot…his forehead. A great time bonding and I have been able to rub his ears and neck.

I’m worried about winter coming and so decided to get him used to a blanket. It’s a great tool for desensitizing him so for now that’s what it’s for. Here I turned my back to him to take all pressure off and let him smell the big scary thing ;-)
A few times when he was bothered by it I walked away with him following behind.

I started rubbing the blanket on his left side because he’s more comfortable with me there. I started on his withers and moved from there inching on using approach & retreat.

then I went to his right side. It’s a challenge as he’s protective of it. Trying to get to stand next to him at the shoulder on that side. It’s like my trust meter. When I get over there with him relaxed I know we’ll have crossed over another big trust bridge. It’s coming soon. He’s letting me throw the blanket now over his back from that side.

So, that’s where we are today. Oh we haltered today too.

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Free Horse

Grayson Chex Leo is a 10 year old gelding in need of an experienced trainer or serious Parelli student. He’s had a lot of time online and at liberty but only a few times backing and then just sitting on him. He is a left brain extrovert. He has great papers and comes from reining and foundation bloodlines. (king p234, leo, poco bueno) with the right person he will be a great ride and if I find the right person I am giving him away. I have too many and as my horsemanship improves I want to focus on the ones I can get to daily.

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Blazing trails at Avalon

Robyn & Terry Kevlin and Deb Shoemaker worked on clearing new horse trails last weekend at Avalon Farms. Here’s a description of what they did from Robyn…
“Terry and Deb working on the last trail, that comes off the bluff field. This is the other end of a small loop – they made a shorter section of trail, so people who don’t want to come down the big hill (where the wasps or whatever were) can go in on the field and out on the field – no hill.”

Sunday, October 2

making new horse trails

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