Burch Farm Blog

The National Celebration: Pony Edition

At this years Celebration, the ponies were certainly the starts of the show. In the leadline class alone were 4 ponies that we had raised, trained, or came from our bloodlines. One of them, in fact, was Little Jimmy Dickens's grandfather . . . or would that be grandpony . . 

Either way, we LOVED it. But the greatest showing of all had to be in the weanling class. Georgia and her father Chis purchased Mud Pie, a black filly out of Mud Doll (by Mud Slide Slim) only a few short weeks before the show; they quickly got her in tip top shape for the youth weanling class and claimed 5th! If you haven't been to the Celebration, 5th is a big deal. Not only did we see one of our best ponies go to a great home, but we got to see her do well in the show ring!

It's difficult to explain these ponies to those who have never heard of them or seen them in person. But after this years Championship Show, I think people are starting to realize . . .

They're not just cute or smooth gaited or sensible or fun or AWESOME . . They're ALL of those things, which is a rare combination. Life is always more fun with a pony, and I think both Georgia and Mud Pie would agree. 

Happy April Foals Day!

I'll start with the photo because we all know that's the most important thing. I mean look at this handsome guy!

 

 

 

Now for the story: 

First of all, who would have thought that a Walking Horse farm's first foal of the year would be a Thoroughbred! This mare, Vitalia, is by Awesome Again and was bred to the great Einstein to produce this big guy. Both mama and baby are owned by College Grove's own Walter Ogilvie, owner of Peacock Hill Farms. 

Now, we always take special care of our mares before foaling, but this year we got our first stall camera and "foal alert" system. Basically you attach a sensor on the mare's halter and when she lays down (theoretically to have her colt), the beeper that we keep on hand BEEPS, and if you have your camera set up, you can turn on your TV to see if the beeping was actually foaling. So for the last week and a half, literally, this thing has been beeping every single night, and more than once. Unfortunately, we only got our camera set up the morning after this foal was born. So of course when we hear a beep, we rush to the barn to hopefully see the new foal only to find that the mare munching on her hay, no baby in sight. 

This is frustrating, as you can imagine. Many times, a mare will act as though she will foal that night, but could go on carrying for another month. In fact, one of our favorite ponies, Tater, was carried exactly a year and one day (compared to the typical 11 month gestation). So with this mare only a couple of days past her due date, we started giving up hope of seeing a baby anytime soon.  But late last night we just had a feeling, and when we went down to check on Vitalia at about 2am, the colt had already been born. 

Funny thing is, the foal alert beeper NEVER EVEN BEEPED. Moral of the story, don't trust a foal alert, trust your gut. But when all else fails, get a stall camera. And now that ours is working properly, we're ready for baby number 2!

Bouncing Baby Girl

It never fails that as soon as we go out of town, SOMEONE decides to have their foal. This time it was sister. And, luckily, this time only my mother and I went out of town. So Webby was able to find the mom and daughter quickly and get them indoors.

This is by far one of the most beautiful foals we've ever raised (sorry Puddle). And interestingly enough, Jimmy Dickens's last THREE foals have been sorrel and white. Coincidence? Perhaps he's just on a roll? Whatever it is, it's okay with us because these gorgeous spotted foals are so much fun!

Thirteen Sold to a Family of Eleven

This past weekend was a busy one for the Byler family, but thankfully they made time to stop by our farm and check out the ponies. The Bylers are an Amish family of eleven from Kentucky where they have their own horse farm, and the children are just as integral to the training process as the parents. They picked Bet on Thirteen, a registered stallion pony, to make the trip home with them. He will be used as their breeding stallion and to pull their buggies. We have no doubt that the nine Byler children will have him broke by the end of the month and we are so grateful that he is getting a loving home where he will be used on a daily basis. These ponies are nice to look at, but it's satisfying to see one used for their original purpose. Hopefully we will be seeing Thirteen's babies on the ground by 2015!

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Taken to the Trail

So after a long summer of (not) showing, we decided to unwind with a relaxing trail ride at the Moon's farm in College Grove. There was quite a crowd as we prepared to depart with the entire Burch family (including Webb, the notorious non-rider) plus our good friends Denise, David, and Brent. 

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The day was perfect and so was the trail. Aside from a few yellow jacket stings, some sore bums, and a couple rowdy moments, all went well. And following the ride was one of the better meals I've had in my life. 

It's nice to become one with nature and animal on occasion, but I think I'll stay in the training barn for now. It's where I belong; well there and with Goatee. :) 

Then and Now

When I was about ten, my dad finally decided it was time to get me a "real" show horse. So we found Money in America: a four year old mare that would carry me into the world of performance horse showing. And that she did. She was the first horse I rode in the outdoor ring at the National Celebration and I loved her.  

 

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But a couple years passed and it came time for me to step up in the world and get a better horse. MIA was sold to some friends of our family who, after showing her a few times, took her home to be a retired lady. Fast forward seven years and a friend of mine is snooping craigslist and stumbles upon a rescued former show mare. She sends me the email and it's MIA, all skin and bone. So Dad and I made our way to Clarksville, TN to pick her up.  

It took an entire summer to get weight back on her. But I continued to ride her and enjoy her. Soon though, the Blackwells came alone. A family comparable to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. We've bought hay from them for numerous years and they had, of late, become in need of a trusty steed. We had just the one. Charles and Debbie Blackwell came and rode MIA with their two grandsons and it was true love.  

 

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Then, she taught me how to show, now she teaches them how to ride, respect, and love a horse. MIA will never be just a horse to me or likely the Blackwells either. She will no doubt have a forever home with these boys and always have a place in the heart of Burch Farm. 

Two in One Week!?

As luck would have it, two of our pony mares foaled in the same week! Mud Doll foaled a spotted stud colt on Tuesday and Bet, a black filly on Wednesday. Needless to say, we're excited. They're both very healthy babies and so far, haven't been named. Excuse the rudimentary photography, but when one finds oneself face to face with new babies, it's difficult to worry about silly lighting and resolution. Enough jibber jabber, you want to see pictures!

Also, please *like* if you like pony babies! 

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