December 11, 2023

Covering Outdoor Garden Containers and Birdbaths with Burlap for the Winter

You know winter is near when various ornamental vessels around my Bedford, New York farm are covered in burlap.

As many of you know, I've been covering shrubs and hedges with burlap for many years to protect them from splaying and breaking from the weight of snow and ice. I have shared posts showing our annual process. I feel it is equally important to protect my outdoor garden ornaments from the harsh winter elements. A winter freeze, alternating with thaws, could crack or crumble any kind of stone or cement, especially if it is antique. During this time, all my outdoor planters, birdbaths, stanchions, etc., are covered in the same burlap used for my live specimens. This year, we started with the giant containers and birdbaths in my cobblestone stable courtyard.

Here are some photos, enjoy.

December 9, 2023

A World Master Farrier Visits My Farm

My horses are all moving better and feeling more comfortable with their new shoes.

My Friesians, Fell pony, and other shod horses, usually get new shoes every six to eight weeks. Horseshoes are generally made of metal, such as steel or aluminum, and are designed to support and protect the horse’s hooves from wear, but they must be fitted properly in order to prevent other health and mobility issues from developing. Earlier this week, I invited Mike Wildenstein, to visit my Bedford, New York farm and evaluate all the horses in my stable. Mike is one of only three individuals worldwide to have passed the distinguished Fellow of the Worshipful Com­pany of Farriers examination in the United Kingdom with an “Honors” designation. For many years, Mike worked as the adjunct associate professor of Farrier Medicine and Surgery in the Department of Clinical Sciences of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. And now he travels across the country and around the world sharing his wealth of knowledge and expertise. While here, Mike spent two days assessing my equines, consulting with my veterinarian, Dr. Elizbeth Kilgannon from Miller & Associates, offering tips and advice to my farrier, Marc Hill, and his associates, and making custom horseshoes for my herd.

Enjoy these photos.

December 8, 2023

Caring for My Donkeys' Hooves

There's a lot of activity going on in my stable - it's time to trim the donkeys' hooves.

Every six to eight weeks, my farrier Marc Hill comes by the farm to check the donkeys' hooves and give them a good trim. Compared to the horse, a donkey's hooves are smaller, more upright, and more resistant, but like all equines, their hooves are constantly growing. Hooves support the entire weight of an animal's body, so if left unmaintained they can split or get too long causing uneven strides and soreness. Marc is an expert in equine hoof care; it doesn't take long for him to get all five of my Sicilian donkeys done.

Here are some photos, enjoy.