The fall riding started with 4-J Big Piney in September. We had a fantastic time with our friends Tomina and Dennis; and this was Rudy's first camping trip. Then it was off to Ponderosa at the beginning of October. Once again we had fabulous weather and we also checked out Hobbs State Park - http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/hobbsstateparkconservationarea/ This park has nice groomed trails and also a very nice visitor center.
We also did numerous day trips near our home. We rode at La Cygne Lake and Rock Creek Park at the end of October and several times in November. Rock Creek Park trails are varied with lots of old stacked rock walls. I find those old rock walls fascinating and wonder how long it took the person to build them. Rock Creek Park also has a nice semi-primitive campground. Most of the trails can be ridden in a long weekend on gaited horses. We rode the entire east trail section and about 2/3rds of the west trails. We like the middle and top sections of the trails the best as the terrain is more hilly with nice overlooks of the lake.
In late October we put the sheep breeding groups together. I had planned on breeding Apollo to Heather, but she was adamant that he was not going to breed her. So, she was put back in with Heathcliffe and Apollo was a bachelor for 8 weeks. I did not breed my first winter ewes as I think the have a harder time fighting parasites in the early spring and summer not to mention the increased feed that is required to keep them in good flesh.
I also added a new ewe to the flock. She is a bred 7 year-old Leadersheep ewe named Daisy. She is black spotted and is very sweet natured. I can really see the Leadersheep qualities in her. She is very attentive in the pasture and is very good at determining if she should flee from a perceived danger. Another interesting thing about her is she has dense crimpy fleece. It is tightly curled and I will be interested to see how it spins.... might be very good for felting too. She is smart also- because she was not on pasture when I brought her home, I would limit the amount of time she was out on the grass increasing each day by a half hour or so. Most sheep would run if they were going to be placed in a paddock alone, but not her. She followed me every day from the sheep fold into the barn from one stall into the adjacent one. She did this every day for 12 days very calmly. Gotta love a smart and well behaved ewe.
My other sheep fleeces are looking fabulous! I really like being able to let them winter graze on the pasture we had fenced in this summer. This has really helped on the hay bill and they are in excellent body condition. I am so looking forward to spring lambs. I would really like a spotted ewe lamb and have two chances with Faith or Daisy. Another Badgerface would be nice too. Oh heck, I like all the patterns and colors!!
So all in all, 2011 was a pretty good year. I wish all of you a prosperous and blessed New Year.