The new year is off to a great start at Dunrovin! Our favorite colt has mostly healed from his bout with cellulitis and is back in the training round pen with Ashley under Brandon’s tutelage. Plans are in progress for this year’s ice sculpture if the weather cooperates with some freezing temperature. A new program with some great visiting presenters starts this month.
A New PROGRAM FOR A NEW YEAR
News from Hashknife Ranch
It happens in every young one’s life. The time to be weaned and begin to explore the world independently is a challenge for both mother and offspring. Shepherding their animals through that transition is an annual ritual for ranchers raising horses and cattle. Take a look in the video below as Brandon and his sons Calin and Bradon start the process for a young filly that was foaled late in the summer.
Hashkinfe's video from this week prompted SuzAnne and Brandon to chat about the challenges of training a horse for many contingencies and the importance of training the owner along with the horse. Horsemanship is truly a partnership. It works best when each party understands and respects the other. Consistency in training is critical for guest ranch operations which depend on the horses having a solid foundation to lead the way with inexperienced riders.
Both Oggy and Dunrovin Ranch wrangler Ashley had to get back in the groove of working in the round pen classroom. This session turned out to be a challenge for both. Kudos to Ashley for her willingness to learn in front of a livestream webcam for all the world to see both her successes and her struggles. Oggy was not interested in getting back into training and Brandon did an outstanding job of coaching Ashley through the resistance that Oggy presented. Ashley did an equally outstanding job of controlling her emotions and sticking through a difficult training situation. The truth is that real learning generally happens when things don’t go as planned. Adapting to and facing a situation in the moment profoundly impacts all concerned, including our viewers who seldom get to witness real horse training in real time. Thank you Ashley and Brandon for a great leading session.
Ashley followed up later in the week with a second session and got Oggy to reluctantly engage. They are building trust in one another. It will be fun to witness their progress as they continue with the goal of having Oggy pull a stone sled.
Travails of the Traveling Christmas Tree
This year we intentionally placed our tiny Christmas tree where animals could interact with it, and surprisingly it survived - mostly! The squirrels stole the pine cones with peanut butter, the birds ignored it altogether, and the horses alternated between passing it by, roughing it up, trying to eat it. It remains in good enough shape to be subjected to similar treatment next holiday. Hey! What about a traveling Valentine tree, with birdseed ornaments, dog biscuit hearts, popcorn garlands?? (You’re gonna love this, James!!)
The Dunrovin Ice Statue
It SHOULD be that time of year--but Ol’ Man Winter is not exactly cooperating. We need freezing temperatures at least part of the time to turn a collection of stacked junk into a dazzling ice sculpture. Last year was also rather warm, but we had enough sub-32-degree days to keep an ice magician, wizard or whatever name you want to give, able to do his/her *MAGIC*
Last season was James’s first in the world of backyard ice sculptures and I think his initial success may have encouraged his inner child to run amuck. He is now assembling a rather eclectic assortment of wooden rails, irrigation pipes, rubber tires, and chicken wire into something resembling an ice cave or teepee or ...your guess is as good as mine! Bring on the hard freeze!
Ranch Notes and Videos - by SuzAnne Miller
Goshawk! A juvenile northern goshawk appeared at both the osprey nest and the bench web cameras. His two stops at the osprey nest gave us opportunities to get some nice close-ups that showed off his (or her) beautiful plumage and fierce, attentive eyes. You can see behaviors distinctive to birds of prey in this video: the swishing of the tail while settling on the perch, and rotating the head to gain depth of vision in searching for prey.
Goshawk at the Ospreys' Nest
Goshawk Close-up Portraits
As you will see in this next video, the search for prey was successful at the bench when an unsuspecting pigeon met its demise. The goshawk suddenly appeared, grabbed the pigeon in mid-air, held it for several minutes on the ground, and took off with it.
Goshawk Kills a Pigeon at the Bench Bird Feeding Station
Mr. Kingfisher! Meanwhile at the river, SuzAnne’s obsession with Mr. and Mrs. Kingfisher and her placement of a cottonwood branch (for their use as a perch) is enriching us all. Recently Mr. Kingfisher treated us to over an hour of his presence after he caught a fish that was almost too big for him to swallow. Seriously, watch this video as he spends a long time contemplating how to get it down, using his entire body to move it down his throat, then cleaning up afterwards. We love having these birds frequenting the neighborhood and look forward to more videos.
Mr. Kingfishers Delights Us All with Breakfast on the Perch in View of the Webcam
A mere couple of day later, Mr. Kingfisher is back at the perch with yet another HUGE fish. This time he bangs the fish on the perch to break it spine and make it easier to swallow.
Mr. Kingfisher Scores Another BIG Fish
Intro to Animals as Helpers and Healers
We are very excited to get our new Monday Social Program launched this week. We anticipate taking the next few months to review and celebrate the many ways in which our animal partners, primarily horses and dogs, enrich our lives. They have been with us humans over the millennia and have profoundly impacted our evolution, allowing us to do things beyond our own senses and skills. Their roles in our societies are ever-changing and ever-present.
As we explained in last week’s blog post, we have assembled a great team of people to share their perspectives, their stories, their expertise, and their joy of working with horses in a variety of ways. This program will bring together personal descriptions of how horses are used in ranch work, in therapeutic work with people who have suffered trauma or loss, in art, and in the lives of all who live with or even dream about them. Additionally, we will discuss what science tells us about the psychological benefits and physical reactions that are felt by both humans and horses as they interact.
Here is the schedule for the individual sessions during the next month of the program which starts Monday, 1/11/21:
- 10:00AM - A Herd for Hugs with Lorraine Turner
- 11:00AM - Ranch Horses with Brandon Carpenter
- 2:00PM - Horse Storytelling with Lynn Baskfield
- 3:00PM - Anthrozoology with Anne Perkins
- 7:00PM - Equus International Film Festival selected films
All times are Mountain Standard Time (convert to your time zone here)
This Monday's Kickoff!
This Monday (January11) will be the program kickoff as we introduce each presenter and lay out what to expect in the following weeks. Two of the sessions invite all of you to participate directly:
- Visit Herd for Hugs to start gathering the materials (or ordering the kit) for an easy-to-sew huggable horse with live instructions by internationally known fabric artist Lorraine Turner so we can send a hug to people isolated during the pandemic.
- Send an email to [email protected] with a synopsis (100 word of less) of your own horse-related story and your written intent to participate in our online storytelling workshop with author Lynn Baskfield of Spirit Dance. She can assist you in crafting a richly textured narrative of your story. The workshops are held each Monday at 2:00Pm (Mountain Standard Time), and begin on January 18th. There will be 5 weekly sessions. Six participants will be selected, while others can follow along via the live broadcasts.
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