Shifting Paradigms…

The Windhaven Ark has definitely shifted a bit with the last addition of 400 pounds of equine flesh.

It had lurched a wee bit with the 100 of so sheep poundage we added on Friday, but the pony addition has definitely shifted our world a wee bit. And that’s okay, but still, needs some careful thought and planning to make everything smooth and easy.

Domingo was totally full of piss and vinegar today. From the moment I let him out of the pony barn with Cody, he was raring to go and just feeling his oats. Cody looked a little weary from the night, he came right over to me, put his head on my chest and just stood there for the longest time, wanting my touch and cocking his ears to hear me talk. I think the youngster kept him up all night! He spent a good deal of the day napping! Haha… poor old man. I gave him lots of loving all day long, as much as I could, just to help him transition.

But Domingo… oh my! It was a good thing, for the most part. At his last home I suspect he didn’t have a lot of room to run around, and to do a lot of pasture grazing. So he apparently had made his to do list for the day and it included… running around like a banshee… rolling around like a goof… chasing chickens and sheep… playing wild stallion with Cody… and trying to boss me around like some ornery thug.

Everything was endearing except for the sheep and chicken chasing and the thug part.

I was ready for him, had spent the night reading about nipping and bossy behavior in ponies. I had a game plan right out the chute. After he finished his first half hour of extreme joy, he came trotting over to me to check me out. Just like I do for Cody every morning, I had a hard horse cookie waiting for him. He was glad to take it and stood there crunching it, watching me, puzzling over the next move. I just stood quietly, waiting. When he was done, he very hesitantly reached over to snif my hand and I let him, just let him do the introducing. We had spent a little time the night before patting and talking, but it was a crazy day full of stimulation, so this was really the first quiet moment we had had. Once he had pulled back and was watching me, with ears perked forward and a little sassy swish of his tail, he did it, he leaned in for a nip. The very moment I saw him curl those lips and start to move in, I let out the most bizzare scream and threw my arms out to my side as I had read. Domingo whipped back and almost stumbled, his eyes wide and staring at me as if I had exploded. And then I was completely silent and still.

Well that little pony looked left and right as if to see if ANYONE was around to verify what just happened. I had to really contain myself to not laugh. And sure enough, he leaned right in for another nip, as if to test what had just happened. The minute he was definitely into the action, I did the same, weird shriek and fail of arms and then silence. Once again he pulled his head back and was puzzled, just staring at me as if his pony brain was in turmoil. What the heck kind of demon was in this human being. Cody came trotting over all alert and worried. What was wrong with Mom?

Well, I was ready, I knew that he might try it one more time, as this one web page had suggested. So I waited. He stood there just staring at me, trying to figure out what his next move was. I knew he was nervous because he licked his lips a bit, then snorted softly. And then he came in for one more try. I did a really mean growl and waggled my arms suddenly as soon as he started and he just backed up a step and was like, no way, this woman is insane. And I finally spoke and told him good boy, patting his neck, gave him a chin scratch, which he liked and turned and walked away from him.

I was watching him out of the corner of my eye as I sort of diagonally walked away from him, I wanted to see what he was going to do. Cody was standing there, just as puzzled, looking at me and looking at him. And I’ll be darned if that pony didn’t start to follow me, with Cody at his shoulder, curious as all get go as to what I was doing. I stopped at one of the wire spool tables we have and paused, just fiddling with an old wheelbarrow wheel for a moment to give them time to get close. Once they did I was all smiles and soft words and gave Cody a nice petting and some pony love and then turned right to Domingo and gave him the same and he just stood there like he was the first kindergartner in line for a birthday cupcake. No nipping. I kept the praise time short and sweet and then walked away from them. I consider that a HUGE success!

Now, I’m no fool. And I know that a behavior like that is not going away with just one magic session. But, I was REALLY impressed by how quickly he learned that SOMETHING was up and he seemed to be causing it. That is cool. Cause and effect in training animals is a very hard thing. If you don’t have the reward or consequence lightening quick with the action, most animals don’t quite make the connection. I think I am going to pick up a dog training clicker and start using it on the pair, see if that helps as well. If they associate the click with something good, they will start to seek out the behaviors that earn them the click.

An hour or so later, I was doing something and he came over to sniff me and watch and he just instinctually leaned in for a nip and I immediately reacted bizarre… totally waiting for him to test it again. This time he just pulled back for a moment and then walked past me as if he was bored with me. That was perfect. He didn’t do it again for the rest of the day.

Now, I know, this reaction might delay him bonding me with me right away. And that’s fine. I would rather he was a little distant right now, and not nipping, then too nippy and friendly. I want him to think about his actions. I have told the girls as well, that they are act in this weird manner. Maggie had hurt her foot and was inside for the day (nothing bad… she cracked her little toe on a chair and it was still painful…) and Jessy was busy inside most of the day, so it was good. He only had to deal with me for the most part. And today we will be gone most of the afternoon and evening, so he won’t have to deal a lot of us either. I want to put him in the place where he has to behave. 21 days to establish a new habit. We have 20 more to go!

What I really don’t want to do is hit or strike him in the face or nose. I don’t want to do anything that is painful, like a lot of suggestions offered. There was even one that said to keep a sharp nail in your hand and strike his neck or shoulder when he bit, as if you were a horse biting him. Yeah, okay, I can see handing out nails to guests and such, here, sink this into his neck if he nips, okay? Naw… that is too hard again to make sure you get the point across quickly. And who wants to try and work with a nail that you have to keep ready at all times. Nope. I like this freak out reaction. Its simple, always available and seems effective at least with him. I wager that after a couple days, he’s not going to risk bringing out my inner monster too much.

Gideon, our ram, has so nicely settled in with his ladies and the boys. They are all acting like a lovely little family unit. I am SO glad. I let them out back in the back pasture this morning, before I let out the ponies, because I wasn’t sure how everyone would react together. I was out in the yard, putzing, doing some chores so I could keep an eye on them. They were really ready to graze, so I knew it would be okay for awhile. Gideon really likes chickens and kitties. Whenever he sees them, he trots over and wants a good sniff. He has such a sweet nature, he’s just all innocence and horns. He wants to be the first for cookies and he is like a little kid in a big refrigerator box costume at Halloween… kind of forgetting that he’s big and pointy with those lovely curly horns. I have yet to see him use his horns for evil, but more often, he’s just happy and bumping into me, his herdmates, the door, the fence, the bucket…. haha… you have to kind of keep an eye on him and where he’s at. The sheepies are all doing the same. I imagine its even harder for them, being right at eye level with him. But they seem to be adjusting, because they love that awkward kid in the big box.

I had a few cookies in my pocket as I was going in and gave them to Momma, Holly and Iris and he caught whiff of it all and immediately trotted over looking for his and there was no more. Only had three. I just love to watch animals as they reason something out… looking at the ewes and then looking at me and then back to them as they licked their lips after smacking up that delicious little treat. I gave him a little scratch of sorry, but he was not taking it. He right away shoved his snout into my hoody pocket as if to demand equal treating. I gave him a little sharp ‘NO” and turned from him and I’ll be darned if he didn’t stand back and bawl like a big baby. He cracks me up. He’s just like a bottle lamb all dressed out in big boy clothes. He’s simply darling.

However, later on, I was doing something and all the sudden, I look up and the whole herd is on the farm access road to the east of us! AGH! I started to panic, but then had the forethought to run and get the feed bucket and whip a handful of sweet feed in it. I knew just where they must have made the break and sure enough, I could see the trail through the heavy brush. I have got to get that fixed. Tomorrow, that 50 foot roll of field fence is coming home. Thank goodness, they are all crack fiends when it comes to bucket time… and they all cheerfully came back to the fold, following me with their little tails wagging and anticipating that handful of feed. I led them back to the safe middle yard and brought them in, waiting to see what happened with Domingo.

Well, yep, as his other family had said, he likes to chase other critters and he pretty much came trotting over with the devil in his eye and some sheep to run around and skatter for fun. But before he could, I actually managed to get ahold of his bridle and steer him into the sheep paddock and shut him in. Thank goodness I’m a hefty gal, because pivoting a 400 pound pony that is starting to get his feet under him for a good chase takes a good sized woman as the counter weight. It was SHEER luck that I was in the right spot at the right time. I did not want him running the flock after they had just did some running back and forth. They are still full of wool and not exactly long distant runners. Domingo paced and snorted, but I figured it was safer for everyone to have a little rest, including me! Escaped livestock is something that gives me a chill, especially after the whole sheep incident of last summer.

After everyone had had a good rest and Domingo was busy munching some hay and calm, I finally let him out and stood back to watch. He was more interested, thank goodness, in checking out what Cody was up to and they started to graze. The sheep were off in a little shady corner, resting and chewing their morning’s cud. I was pleased, but hesitant. And sure enough, as the ponies grazed closer to the flock, that little goof decided he would step up to a little trot and scatter the sheep. I think the one saving grace is that there are eight of them and one of him. Pretty quick, they were gone and he stopped. Watching them and deciding if it was worth the effort or not. He went back to grazing.

I caught him several times that afternoon, doing those little burst to a trot and chase things, but the sheep really quickly learned that he was no fun and would put the full distant of the yard between them and he. I suspect that after a while, it will become less fun and less often. Only once, in the later evening did he sustain a chase for longer than I liked and I intervened, causing the fun to be less, well, fun. I’ve got to get that back pasture perfectly safe. It’s got to be a priority because I can see that my paradigm here has shifted considerably. I really don’t want Domingo chasing the sheep too much, the little ones are no match for a big striding pony with ornery fun on his mind. I’ve read about sheep being injured or even killed by chasing horses. I don’t want my flock to become pony shy and skittish. And we can accomplish that by just keeping everyone separate for the most part. We’ve actually got the space to make 5 separate pastures for rotation. It’s just that the fencing is not complete in all five sections. Right now, I need to make sure I have two. That will make life a lot easier. Ponies in one, sheep in the other and they can swap back and forth here and there.

So Jessy lent me a hand and we managed to get almost complete with the main pallet fence in the back. Over 100 feet of strung together heavy pallets. It’s pretty impressive! We ran out of pallets… need about 6 or 7 more and I’ll get those tomorrow. Also need a few more heavy posts to keep it all secure. There are two spots in the hedgerow that are too open, so I’m going to get some roll fencing to get those secure. I hope by Wednesday afternoon, we have the place locked down and safe. It’s a good goal. Fencing is the worse and most expensive thing we have consistently encountered in this whole rural living transition. Whoever said that good fences make for good neighbors, they were SO right on the money. If I had an extra grand, I would be putting 75% into fencing. It’s that important. We’re getting there. Once I get this western back pasture done, then I can work on the eastern side, where the wood lot is and where I’d like a pond some day. It’s much rougher in there, but there is a big 20 foot gap in the hedgerow and that is huge and dangerous. It’s priority number 2 on the fence list. Once that is done, it will be nice, because I can let the ponies into the western side and the sheep in to the scrubby eastern side to start cleaning it up. They love to nibble down weird grasses and little volunteer bushes and such. Less to have to try and mow!

That is the one really nice thing… my middle yard? Looks like a golf course, it’s all so nicely mowed down and eaten by everyone. My front yard is wild and needs to be mowed… but the middle, nice. If I could figure out how to fence in the front better, I would. It’s in my plans but right now, pretty low on the list. Thank goodness, we’re not talking a big area so it will be easy to keep up on with the push mower. But I plan on bagging all that lovely green gold and giving it to the cooped chickens to play with. They love grass!

Well, that’s the story for tonight. Lots of little changes in routine and that’s okay, just have to figure it all out. Tonight, the ponies got their oats up and started to do laps in the middle yard. Cody does this often in the evening, and we love to watch him kick up heels and blow off the dust with a lap or three. But tonight? Domingo upped the ante to about 23 laps and poor Cody was blowing hard to keep up after 4 or 5. But he didn’t give up. I considered stopping him, afraid he’d have a heart attack, but then I thought, he’s a smart boy and he’ll stop when he needs to. He was just having such a good time, playing and running like a little herd of wild mustangs. Domingo ran himself ragged as well, and they both stopped, heaving sides and happy little pony grins on their faces when they were done. Cody promptly took a nap for a bit and Domingo rolled and rolled in the grass, finally settling down for a nap himself. My yard looks like a herd of buffalo went through… lots of little hoof prints in the damp grass! They are in pony heaven at the moment, just as happy as can be. It’s going to be a while before our new routines are established, but it will work out. I’m sure of it.

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Cody has a new pony…

What’s the number one way to tell if you are spoiling your pony?

You buy him another pony.

Haha… ahem.

Well, as all the readers of the blog know, we love and cherish Cody Pony.  He’s our big lap dog of a Shetland Island Pony.  He has blossomed into a wonderful little guy, the very best pony in the whole universe, of course.  And he is spoiled and loved and just generally has it made in the shade.  He’s even getting a line of pony snax named after him!  (But that’s another story)

But Cody is a little lonely for another equine in his life.  He had a horse buddy at his own home and when he moved here, I think he thought, hmmm.  Ohio has no horses.  So he just resigned himself to that.

However, that one chance meeting back in the Fall, with that young lady and her horse, well, it changed him some.  He was so excited to find horses in Ohio.  But then, as quickly as he discovered this, they were gone.  He was heartbroken.  He whinnied and cried for an hour after they left.  He paced around, he considered the fences, he was just so dejected that the horse left.  And we watched with broken hearts.  We knew what we must do.  Cody needed a friend.   A herdmate.  A pony herd of two.

Now, I didn’t want a mare.  I didn’t want to have to deal with the whole breeding issue, because the world is FULL of ponies that need good forever homes.  Some people love ponies, some people hate ponies and there isn’t a lot of in between space.  I for one, love ponies.  And I love snotty little crabby ponies the best!  I have come to see that it’s just a front, it’s a learned behavior and it makes sense to me.  In this world of too much entertainment, hobbies and such, a pony has a hard time competing.  It has to be trained and brushed and fed and watered and exercised and ridden and such, and that is a lot of work for most kids.  So the ponies get kind of left behind for the new Zelda game or ATVs or other way cool, easier hobbies.  Horses take a lot of work.  So do ponies.  And I think, unless you have just a super duper pony crazy kid, they just don’t hold the attention of modern kids as much as they did in the old days.

I wanted a pony so bad as a kid, oh my goodness, it hurt.  I read everything I could on horses and ponies, I collected Breyer horses, I played horse with my friends.  I remember nearly breaking my neck with the neighbor girl, jumping over bushes and pretending we were Grand Prix horses.  I wrote horse stories.  I just love them.  But ponies are not really the common girl accessories where I grew up and so as a result, I just didn’t get that chance.  It’s cool, lots of pony crazy kids didn’t.

I did get a chance as a teenager to work at a riding stable and I learned a TON that summer.  How to handle tough horses, down on their luck horses and I also learned to ride, at least the basics.  Nothing fancy, but it was just wonderful.  I spent nearly all my earnings on ride time.  Yeah, pretty sad, eh?

One of my most favorite memories of living in San Diego, California was going to the nature preserve on the Pacific Ocean, just a wee bit north of Mexico and trail riding through the marsh flats and then hitting the beach.  It was magical.  Riding through the waves like those cigarette commercials!  Hooves pounding in the spray, the salty air whipping through your hair.  Oh my gosh, it was like a dream.  We did it often, just my hubby and I, pre-kids.  I’m pretty sure he was just along for the ride, so to speak, but for me, it was nirvana.

So, flash forward…  my oldest kid is nearly 22 and I finally HAVE A PONY!!!   Cody Pony was just a dream come true to me, I just love every stinking bit of him.  I finally have an equine in my life that I can hang with, and smell his sweet pony smell and touch his velvety muzzle and give treats to and groom…  he is just the sweetest dude, and I love him to bits.  And now, Cody has his own pony friend!  I hope he still loves me too…  but for awhile I think I’m going to be second fiddle to a brown and white piebald pony I have name Domingo.

Like all good horse crazed pre-teens, I read all of Margarette Henry’s books… and one of my favorites was Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion.  And in that book, the horse was named San Domingo.  Now, I know, my little Domingo is not a Medicine Hat horse… for those are mostly white with just sorrel markings and generally, horses.  But he’s kind of close.  Sorta.  He’s white and brown?  His name before was Amigo and he started life with a Mexican family.  So it all kind of fits.  And I like the sound, since Cody is named after Wild Bill Cody and he had a brown and white medicine hat stallion and so… ah… well,  I just like the sound.  And the girls agree.  My second choice was either Whiskey or maybe Frisco.  I dunno.  Yeah, we all liked Domingo a lot better.  I thought the neighbors might think I’m a little off if I’m out there yelling… “Whiskey!!!   WhiskeeeeeeyyyyyY!!!”

So, how does one go from thinking they would like a pony and then HAVING a pony delivered????

Craigslist.

Yeah.   Of course.

My buddy Bill told me, ponies are always needing good homes.  And that it’s usually not too hard to find a pony if you’re looking.  So, that in mind, I said, here are my requirements.  A gelding.  A flashy pony, so that if we get to the point of taking kid pictures with ponies… somthing Jessy wants to do, he would fit in and have a job.  Not too old, but not too young.  It would be nice if he was broke to ride.  Or drive.  A sound pony.  And lastly, a pony that we could afford.

Part of me would love a Haflinger.  But the decent ones are pretty pricey and I’m not sure we have the right facilities and such for a larger horse, to be honest.  One might think that we are willy nilly about animal acquisition, but trust me, no.  I have already thought hard and long about things like cow and pigs and larger animals… and I learned from the goat experience.  Nope, I want something that I can deal with, in our capacity, and makes sense for us.  Perhaps in the future, who knows.  But right now, I will admit, I thought another Shetland might be the perfect hitch.

And then, hey, don’t you think a little team of Shetlands would be the bomb?  haha…   They are pretty close in size, it would be so cool to train them to drive a little wagon or rig.  That’s a goal.  We’ll see how that unfolds.

So anyway…  one of the things I knew was that when the time was right, the right pony would come before us and we would make it work.  And Saturday night, I found the ad and the photo of this little guy.  Talked it over with the girls and we hmmmed and hwwwwed a bit.  Money is tight.  Still got to get our well fixed.  I know.  Just bought a ram.  Yep.  So I said, well, lets at least write and see.  Perhaps we can work something out.  You just never know until you ask.  He might already be gone, that happens a lot on Craigslist.  We can only ask.

And well, we managed to strike a deal and it was a good one.  So we took a little drive north,, just over the border of Michigan, and went to meet him and see what we thought.  I have a fair understanding with my girls.  When we go to look at an animal, if any of us feel it’s a wrong match, then we’re done.  I want everyone on board.  It’s only fair.

When we got to their farm, the first thing we encountered with a cute pair of lab puppies!  They were wrassling and playing, just as darling as could be.

Domingo had a donkey friend named Seven.  He was a cutie.   I like donkeys but I dunno…  I think I’ve learned that I really love my sheep and my ponies and Jessy loves her bunnies and Maggie, her chickens… and that is enough species for the farm.  Works for us.

I am beginning to think that the Lord keeps putting cattle in my pathway to teach me that I don’t want cattle. Yep. I think they are awesome and all, but they are HUGE!!!! My gosh, they had three of them in this lot and my gosh, one especially was giant! I just don’t think we are set up or ready for such a beast in our midst. We hardly go through a gallon of milk in a week. I think the very best thing for me for my butter and cheese making is to find a local dairy and just pay the price for good stuff now and then. Don’t you agree? Thank you Lord!!! I was actually considering a small milk cow AGAIN after seeing this awesome book about the family milk cow and so once again, I am slapped in the face with reality and the reality is, they are huge! And I just don’t think we have the space or the time or the need for such a beast. Thank goodness, even a calf is at least $300 or more. And then it’s like 2 years of commitment until your first drop. That’s a lot of time and money just for milk. No, I think we definitely need to research the family dairy I read about in Defiance… Yep.

Once again, it was such a pleasure to meet Todd and his family. More members of the choir! Yes, homeschoolers, work at homers, homesteading folks. Love their big property and all the things they had going on. Maggie said she thought it would be the best place for any kid to grow up! Swimming lake and ATV track and woods and animals and all… yeah, she’s right! And just nice folks. I hope their little daughters enjoy their new bunny… we found a great home for Fye, the rescue bunny that was found on the side of the road! He’s going to go live there and be a pet for their little daughters! I know they will love that big white bunny boy! He deserves a chance to be someone’s special pet. And it was super nice of Todd to bring Domingo out for us! I know that sometime in the future, we really need to get a little stock trailer. Of course, a little truck would be nice too, but we have that in the works and we’ll see how that pans out!!! (Thanks Larry!!!)

We went home to get ready for Domingo’s arrival. Maggie and I mucked out the pony barn and laid down a nice new layer of fresh straw. It wasn’t bad, put it just seemed to be a great way to burn off a little nervous energy and to make it nice and ready for the boys. Cody, of course, was in the action as likes to watch us tidy up his room. After we were done, I continued the ongoing grooming session that we have been working on… spring cleanup! I think that pony has shed out at LEAST a pony and a half of hair since the weather has been turning nice!!! He loves to be brushed and groomed. I put him out in the back pasture tall grass for an hour and then brought him back into the middle yard for a little lead practice. Since I don’t really need to put him on a lead much, I try to do it anyway once or twice a week, just to keep him mindful of being a good boy on the lead. We just walk around and practice stopping and standing on the lead, things like that. I think its good for even a pony without much of a job, to keep those good boy manners in check. The more I learn and read about ponies, the more I know that Cody is a real gem. He’s really got no bad manners! Okay, well, he DOES like to poop right in front of the sheep paddock and I believe that is a statement towards the sheep, haha…. but other than that, he’s a real gem.

So, I was out there, sitting on a spool and braiding his forelock when Todd showed up with the truck and trailer. At first, Cody was at the alert, puzzling over the noise. He was nearly falling asleep as I brushed him and played with his mane, but now he was all attention. I lead him over to the courtyard fence and Domingo made some sort of horsey noise and all the sudden, Cody let out with a squeal of PURE PONY DELIGHT. I quickly unhooked him from the lead because he began to dance about and I was afraid it would be nearly impossible to do so if I waited! He was just so excited. He was calling out and prancing the fence, just trembling with excitement as Domingo entered the courtyard for a little brief sniff and greet session. He almost stumbled on this dumb pile of rocks we have out there… (Note to self… MOVE ROCKS) and Domingo was busy looking around and trying to figure out what was up. When it was apparent that they were not mortal enemies, we let Domingo into the middle with Cody and got outta the way!

Of course, there was a lot of sniffing and pony noise for a moment, each checking the other out in excitement. But then they turned and took a little quick trot alongside each other and then back past us, running and just excited. It nearly made me cry, Cody was SOOOOO excited. They were adorable, Domingo is just a little taller than Cody, maybe half a hand? 3 inches? Other than that, they are nearly a little matched pair. They could be siblings, easily. Both are stocky old world Shetlands, traditional little dudes. Not the taller, thinner American Shetland ponies. At one point they trotted past, side by side, and all I could think was how super keen they would look as a team, pulling a little rig!!!

We gave them time to just get to know each other. Of course, Domingo was totally geeked about the yard and the grass and the space to run about. He didn’t have a lot of that back home, so he was really thrilled with it. Cody just shadowed him all over the place, and showed him his barn and the chicken coop and the shady part of the yard, just pretty much being his guide to the Windhaven ark. We took Todd on a little tour of the homestead and our neighbors came down to see the new boy too! Jessy took a few pictures, but it was getting a little dark, so the official photo shoot will have to wait until tomorrow!

Later that evening, Jessy and got them both to their barn and settled down. I had an old halter and managed to get it on Domingo with a little bother. He was too excited to just be too laid back with me, but I did it. A little time and patience and we’ll have him comfortable with our ways.

He’s a nipper, and we’re going to be working on that right away. It’s probably one of the main reasons that he was sold, with young children around, that’s a dangerous bad habit. I’ve been reading a bunch tonight on some strategies to start curbing that behavior and I was surprised to learn that there are a million and one tips for it out there! Obviously, a fairly common trait! And with horses and ponies alike. I like the one where you basically growl, roar and throw up your arms every time to comes in for a pinch. It sounds like a winner in my book. I know that smacking him in the head or snout is not really going to do the job and likely to make him head shy. But the growl/noise sudden big monster loud reaction is easy to do, and should startle him enough to make him think twice about it after a few encounters with scary person. There are lots of other tips that include something in your hand, a short whip, a nail, a toothpick, a wire brush and so on, but that seems that you have to be ready and set up with that “prop” to be effective. It’s like punishing a dog 15 minutes after a bad behavior… horses interact with each other with lightening fast response. If I have to carry around something and remember to use it, it’s going to be hard. And then Maggie or Jessy has to be ready as well to be consistent with the training. So, we will try out the scary distraction method first. Seems like it would be pretty effective.

I also want to watch him carefully when he does this. The couple times I saw him get ready, he was not laying back his ears or acting fearful, it was definitely more of a I’m Boss, sort of thing, almost playful. That’s a great sign, because he’s just being ornery and that apparently is much easier to work out, then say, a fearful, past experience sort of reaction. My plan is to just not be in the way of his mouth for a good while, react sharply and loudly when he does, then ignore and treats only when he behaves. Cody will get treats, but he will not, if he’s going to be nippy. Hopefully by example and some consistent response, we can start to work that from his bag of tricks! If it doesn’t work, I’ll check with some of my horse friends and we’ll figure out a new strategy. I’m not worried at all.

Always an exciting time, here at the old homestead! That’s for SURE… I promised the girls, we are not taking on any new projects until our to do cards are down by 50%. That means nearly 40 cards need to get finished! I’m fine with that, we’ve already had a very busy start to the spring! Got to get the garden ready for a big year, still got some clean up and yard work to get finished and we have half a dozen little things in the works that need to get finished up.

Gideon is doing fantastic! He’s settled in nicely to the flock and everyone is calm and content with his presence. I think animals like have complete family units. I think roosters have a place with their hens, and I think that sheep like a ram in their midst. I have noticed that they seem more friendly and more calm with him around. Both my little wethers have relaxed a lot… I think it was a big burden on their little yearling shoulders to have to be the men of the flock. Now, they can be silly lambs again and they have been particularly silly the last day or two. Even Momma Noel seems to be calmer. All is good with the world.

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