Catching Up

The minis have been with us now for over a year, having arrived in October 2015. I’m aware that I had great intentions of keeping this blog active at least once a week and have not kept anywhere close to that schedule. For my followers, sorry about that. I’ll try to do better this year.

So I just thought I’d take a minute and catch up on what we’ve learned and experienced in the past year and a half with some updates on horse-related projects on the farm. First, the horses themselves. At just shy of two years old, they’re still enchanting on a daily basis. They do everything big horses do, but more quietly, more easily, more cheaply. A big plus for owning minis. If you don’t need or can’t ride, but still need to be around horses, they’re the perfect solution.

Mr. Peaberry, the stud, is now closing in on 33 inches tall and maintains weight around 195 pounds. He still has his magnificent spots and black stockings. Java, the mare, is just a hair under 30 inches and maintains weight around 165.

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Java’s color changes a little month by month. I try to keep both of the horses clipped to make it easier to groom them so they can stay a little cleaner. Fungal skin infections are a problem in this island environment, so good skin care is a must.

 

Her overall dark bay has become a sort of bay roan with a spotted blanket over her hips. I expect she will end up being mostly white with some nice, but small Appy spots. Their feeding regimen includes timothy hay pellets in the morning, a light serving of alfalfa cubes in the afternoon, and orchard grass hay in the evening, along with free access to plenty of water and a salt/trace mineral block. Depending on how their overall body condition looks, I might skip the alfalfa cubes for a few days or trade out alfalfa cubes for the hay on some days – they seem to pretty flexible about that, as long as they get their timothy pellets in the morning. There’s nothing sadder than their little faces if you try to switch that out on them. With a daily supplement of Vitamin E, and regular (every two to three months) deworming, their hair coats, manes, and tails, look great. Because their pen is fairly rocky, their hooves stay trimmed with only occasional filing needed. All in all, we’ve had no major injuries or illnesses, so knocking on wood that stays the norm.

Fencing of their roughly 2400 square foot pen has required a little shoring up. Though it seems to be a good size for them and they get up a good gallop in there, once the vegetable garden went in adjacent to the north side fence, Mr. Peaberry figured out just how long it would take to worry the fence wire enough to make a hole big enough to poke his nose into the garden. We’re taking steps to strengthen that fence and to move the accessible plants a little further away. But overall, it’s worked out well. We are also improving the little shed where their food, grooming tools, and tack are kept to allow easier access and more storage. Hay bales are bigger and less accessible here than they were in Colorado, so I didn’t allow enough room to store more than one bale. Because we’re never sure exactly when new hay will come in on the boat (it all has to be shipped here from the mainland), it’s become regular routine to keep at least two of everything in storage, just in case.

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We have enough 6-foot lightweight panels to create a flexible space of about 216 square feet (12’x18′) maximum or stretch an extra wall across their pen or enclose their loafing shed if we need to isolate one or the other. These came in very handy when I had to put Java on stall rest for a few days, so that Peaberry couldn’t entice┬áher into running around the pen.

The temporary fence panels we put together out of PVC pipe (see previous posts) have come in handy for keeping them confined when we’re working on a project in their pen or allowing limited grazing in other places on the farm, but we learned that the bungees with little balls on the end are just too much fun for Peaberry to pop off (even though they sometimes pop him in the face). I have to secure each panel with at least three or four bungees to make sure they stay secure.

Training wise, they halter and lead pretty nicely and love to stand for thorough brushing and fussing. We are converting a Windstar van to a transportation system for them, and I guess when it’s ready, we’ll find out just how well they halter and lead in strange situations. We’ve had a new county facility with an arena go in just a few minutes down the road where I will be able to reserve time for me (and other local mini owners) to use the arena for training. I’ve bought harness and now that they’re two and ready to think, I will start ground work to prepare for cart driving with them.

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Tim with Mr. Peaberry decked out in his Christmas parade outfit that we didn’t end up debuting this year. Java has a green blanket and halter with red sequined poinsettias. We’ll try for the 2017 parade.

I had hoped to put them in their first event in December (the Christmas parade), but a few days before the parade, Java had a little bout of lameness (a bruise, apparently, cured by a few days of stall rest). Since this would have been their first public outing, I decided not to stress the situation. We’ll try for the Kamehameha Day parade in June instead.

We’re planning to expand their space a bit . . . after a year and a half of living here, we’ve realized the quonset hut greenhouse that came with the property is going to be more useful as a stallion refuge/foaling pen. The plan is to convert its 600+ square feet into a completely covered area where I can move Peaberry when needed, or separate a mare about to foal. We’re hoping to add one or two more mares to our little herd, so that we have one or two foals per year for sale. The market for them seems to be pretty good on the island (and on neighbor islands) but there’s not a lot of breeding going on, so I think we won’t flood the market with that approach.

I’ve started a Facebook page for people on Hawaii Island to share information about their minis (Hawaii Island Miniature Horses), and we’ve had people from some of the other islands and even a few mainlanders join in on there.

So overall, things are going well. I’ll try to do more posting of the cute things they do and photos because they’re just fun, along with documenting the van transformation.

A hui hou.