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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: Big Man

There is nothing like a new round bale. The horse and pony are always happy to see one. There is now no limiting their passion for eating 24/7.

Round Bale

When only square bales are available, they don’t have constant access. Square bales (they are actually rectangular) are much smaller and easier to manage/store, but the round bales are less expensive and once we get one out of the back of the pickup, we don’t have to bother with hay for 3 weeks.

We have a limited amount of pasture and need to supplement with hay, even in the warm weather. There are a few farmers that sell hay. And, kind of like a convenience store, the Feed n’ Seed store sells hay (at a higher price).

In the pic, our horse, Big Man, is blocked by the large bale. This gives you and idea of just how big it is. They have an average size of 4′ x 5′ and weigh in at 750 lbs.

Yes, horses, even small ones eat a lot. They also get grain once a day this time of year, twice in the Winter. Horses can positively eat you out of house and home, so these two will be our limit unless we hit the lottery. They are so lovely though. To get up in the morning and look out at them in the field is positively priceless.

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Honestly, we are not horse trainers. We are learning in conjunction with our blind horse, “The Big Man Dakota”. Our volunteer helper, J. Gates, has experience with horses that have issues. She has helped immensely by trying out different methods to discover the best responses from him.

We have been taking a common sense approach. That direction has been geared towards gaining trust, since fear is really the only thing challenging this horse’s progress.

With every session, Big Man improves by leaps and bounds. He enjoys petting and treats and assuring voices. Getting Dakota used to the feel and smell of different objects also assists in his training.

When he is having an energetic day, walking is a common activity. He is quickly learning that he is being led, carefully, into safe territory only.

Sometimes he takes advantage and plays around, so he cannot be babied too much. He has learned to respond to a firm vocal “Stand”, which means that he needs to stand still immediately. As long as you can get a horse to stop (whatever they are doing), your experience with them will be much safer. Sometimes we even stop for a nap.


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Well, I can’t really go any farther with this Blog without introducing “The Big Man Dakota”. Lovingly referred to as “Big Man”, he is the pride and joy of Farmette 1769. His greatest contributions are shear beauty and a shining example of resilience.

Big Man has been here with us since September 2008. He is 6 years old and 95% blind. He is completely healthy. It is just that he was either accidentally splashed or purposely sprayed in the face with some type of strong chemical, the latter being more likely. His arrival can best be described as the reaction of a cat when you are trying to put it in a tub full of water. It took until last month to get tack on him.

Semi-Tacked Big Man

We were both covered with mud by the time the saddle made it onto the out of place blanket with the bridle dangling on the brink of failure. He was quite surprised with the new feel, but may have had some training, since there was no kick or buck involved. There was just a well orchestrated dance to keep the saddle from settling in a solidly parked state.

It took approximately 45 minutes to get the bit in, which he objected to with much head tossing and tongue action. Since he is very sensitive, a light bit was used. But, that reaction made me wonder just how much he’d been worked with.

Facing only fear with absolutely no aggression was positively the incentive to transform him from pasture ornament to riding partner. On the third tacked session with him, the bit took a minute to get in, and I carefully steered him around the pasture and up the driveway using both reins separately (instead of the normal one handed Western style neck reining).

Big Man is such a gift. And surprisingly, now has his very own transportation job on the Farmette.

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