Sunday, September 7, 2014

Iceland

A few weeks ago my daughter took a trip to Iceland.  She had a wonderful time and took lots of pictures.  The landscape there is amazing.  Waterfalls, canyons, rivers, glaciers, volcano's and of course adorable Icelandic horses. Now that I've seen how beautiful it is  I wouldn't mind taking a trip there myself.

Here a just a few of the pictures she took. 


That little black spot is a seal
My daughter was lucky enough to get to ride over the moors on an Icelandic

 Until next time

Quote for Today
 A little horseplay... the way best to enjoy a summer day!






Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mr. Blue





I haven’t really been riding as much as I’d like to, but I’ve managed a few rides a week at least. Dusty continues to be a great riding companion--when I can catch her.  She’s impossible to catch on some days; she'll walk three steps ahead of me around the entire field--just far enough out of reach that I eventually give up trying...   That’s okay; I know where she lives!

Blue, on the other hand, always saunters over to say hello.  He most likely thinks I’ve got carrots in my pockets. Unfortunately, there are never carrots in my pocket, but I am always sporting a lead to bring someone in with me. He doesn’t seem to mind. Unlike Dusty, Blue is a people horse and likes to be groomed and hang out with me.  So I’ve been tacking him up and riding him when I can. 

Our first ride didn’t go as well as I thought it would.  Blue turned 17 in March, has had some good training over the years, and is our Steady Eddie horse.  On the other hand Blue can be very lazy and his heart isn't always in it.  He'd rather be under a tree grazing or hanging out under his fan munching hay on a hot day.

This is what I’ve been dealing with lately.  Imagine my surprise when on our first ride together I discovered that he’d "forgotten" how to steer.  Seems he knows how to mosey around the arena but can’t keep it together for a circle or walking on a straight line down the rail. 

Granted he hadn’t been worked all winter but Blue and I both know he hasn’t forgotten all he’s learned up to this point.  It’s just his way of having fun at my expense.  That’s okay; we’re working on getting him back to where he was before his time off.  Lots of circles, figure eights and serpentines done at the walk.  Usually, by the end of the lesson, which I keep short, he’s a little more willing to cooperate.  We always end on a good note with loads of praise and rubs. Then it’s back to the barn for his carrot and Stud Muffin.

I know in my head that you have to ride the horse you have that day, but it does get a little frustrating when you know he’s already done all this before.  Riding is a test and hopefully I’ll pass his tests sooner than later and we can get on with moving forward together.

Quote for Today

There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humor and the other is patience.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Happy Birthday Dusty!



 
" Moon's Stardust "
It’s hard for me to believe that Dusty is 18 years old today.  I’ve had her since she was a frisky five year old and I can say she really hasn’t mellowed much over the years.  Dusty is still very opinionated and doesn’t take any guff from the boys in the herd or me for that matter!  Yet, she can be very sweet when it suits her purposes and I wouldn’t have her any other way.  Being her unique Dusty self is what makes her so special.

We’ve come a long way in our friendship and training and I hope we continue together for a long time to come. Happy Birthday my sweet girl.  I’m sure there might be a carrot or treat in your future today.

If anyone is interested I put together a slide show of Dusty for her birthday last year.  Here’s the link if you’d like to see it:

Quote for Today
Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark.
   
- Saying of the Claddagh Gypsies of Galway-

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Back In The Saddle






It sure took long enough but I’ve finally been able to catch a ride on Dusty.  While I was working getting her back up to speed in the fitness department she started to look a little “ouchy”.  When the vet came out for Spring shots I had her examined and x-rayed.  Seems she’s not having another attack of laminitis/founder but simply needed an adjustment in her shoeing.  Our vet and farrier work together so he sent the farrier her x-rays.  Seems all she needed were her toes shortened and he put her shoes a little further back for a better break over.  This did the trick and she was perfectly fine.  She still has a slight rotation but it’s not affecting her at all now.  Every Spring I get a tad paranoid that she will founder again but so far so good.  Dusty is still sporting her grazing muzzle and I think … no, I’m sure she still resents me for making her wear it.  Even if I tell her it’s for her own good!  I understand how she feels; I really used to hate it when my mother told me that, too.

When I tacked her up and brought her into the arena she was as good as gold.  There was no drama at the mounting block to start.  Then we proceeded to do a nice walk on a long rein.  Then a few huge circles in each direction with a nice even bend.  After we were warmed up we did an easy trot.  Not her normal rushing speed, but on a loose rein.  I couldn’t believe how brilliantly she was behaving.  My daughter even commented on how she’d never seen her go around so well on a loose rein.  And I’ll tell you that’s quite a compliment coming from her.  She’s a very tough taskmaster.  She went so well in the one direction that I didn’t even try the other direction and got off.  I always want to end on a good note, and since the ride was perfect up until that point I figured why push it our first ride back after a break?  Dusty got lots of praise and hopefully she’ll remember how much easier it is to be good than not. 

Who knows, maybe she missed working and was happy to get back to doing something productive?  Or maybe she just needed a long lay off to get her head straight.  Whatever it was I’ll take a ride like that anytime.

Until next time
Quote for Today

When riding my horse I no longer have my heart in my chest, but between my knees.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Back To Work

 





Sorry kids, but the party is over and so is your retirement.  It’s back to work for everyone.  This past weekend was time to get started working on a program with Dusty and Blue to get them in shape…me too. 

The day began with a thorough grooming session for each horse that took quite a while due to a considerable amount of shedding.  They are very hairy still but soon enough they will be sleek and muscled up properly.  I decided to start them on a longeing program for as long as they need it.  Unfortunately, they have been not moving around much in the catch pen but chowing down on hay nets all day.  This past winter was one of the worst I can remember between the huge amounts of snow and frigid temperatures so they couldn’t have gone walking the pastures as usual if they wanted to.

Dusty was the first candidate for a refresher course.  We stayed at a walk in each direction for about ten minutes.  Twenty minutes total was enough for the first day.  Blue got the same treatment.

I realize that there are different schools of thought about longeing, some being for it and some being against it.  I’m all for it because if it’s done properly I feel it’s very beneficial.  My horses haven’t been ridden in months because of winter woes.  By longeing them to get them moving and in better shape I feel it puts less stress on their backs, legs and minds.  Once they are built up enough to support a rider I will mount up.  Do I want to simply jump on and ride…yes I do.  However, I feel it wouldn’t be fair to them until they can comfortably cart me around and we can then move on to more strenuous lessons.

In my opinion longeing also helps the horses and me get on the same page so to speak.  They get a refresher course in verbal messages and body language.  They can understand what I want from the way I position my body and the tone in my voice lets me communicate my wishes to them.  Also, I feel it forms a bond of understanding, guidance and improves our relationship, which is something that is sorely needed after a long winter of missed opportunities for riding and interaction. I don't feel it would be right--it might even be downright rude!--to jump right on without getting reacquainted with my horses, spending some time watching them move, re-acclimating them to the idea of working, and just interacting with them in a relaxed but purposeful way until we're both back up to speed. It just seems like the most sensible re-introduction for us. We keep it light, stress-free (mostly ;-) and trust that the right time to climb back in the saddle will present itself clearly. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan!

Until next time
Quote for Today
Correction does much for the horse, but encouragement does more.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Just For Fun

So I said to Blue  "can you make a silly face for me?"
And he said " how's this"
 That's good but have you got a sillier face?
"You mean like this"
 " Come on Blue keep trying, I know you can give me a sillier face"
" I think this is pretty good"
 " Good but not quite there yet"
" Okay, this is my last try, take it or leave it"
 " Perfect and thank you for being such a good sport"
"Okay, I'm done amusing you for the day, how about a treat"
 Until next time

Quote for Today

Closeness, friendship, affection: keeping your own horse means all these things.
    - Bertrand Leclair

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Spring!



Happy first day of Spring everyone!  Even though we still have snow on the ground and the temperatures are below normal for this time of year Spring is officially here according to the calendar. 

We had a visitor to the barn that caused quite a stir to say the least.  Meet Pepe Le Pew.  He was discovered under Blue’s hay net during daily muck out in the morning.  Needless to say the barn was not finished until he decided there wasn’t much to do in a deserted barn. 

No matter how much Blue begged to have his own pet he was turned down.  He’s just not mature enough to take responsibility for a pet of his own.  Sorry Blue but Pepe had to go.

Until next time


Quote for Today
What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.
- Abraham Lincoln-