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-

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wild Kingdom

It's not news that we've had lots of snow here in the East and it's been hanging around for a long time because of the low temps.  Last week I threw some stale bread out for the birds and it was gone in minutes. So I threw out more...gone in a flash. They must be starving after this winter. I've never actually bought seed and put it out for them because the truth is I never thought of it.  Figuring that most of the birds head south for the winter I assumed they weren't around except for the crows that are usually feasting on roadkill. To make a long story shorter while I was in Agway picking up dog food they had wild bird seed on sale so I grabbed a few bags.  Here's the results:

The birds came first

The squirrels showed up next

Then came the fox

 The fox is not interested in the bird seed.  His game is to sneak up on the birds and squirrels and see if he can snag a hot lunch or dinner.  So far, the birds and squirrels just know he's there and take off before a disaster happens.  Mr. Foxy isn't as sly as he thinks he is even if he does peek around the back of the garage wall first and then take a flying run at his potential food. 

And finally we have the deer

So you tell two friends and I'll tell two friends...

The quality of the pictures are not great because I took them through the kitchen window with my iPhone.  Luckily, the snow is gradually melting with some days of warmer temps so I won't have to put out feed anymore and they're back to being on their own as soon as I finish up the seed. 

Until next time

Saturday, March 1, 2014

An Amusing Incident

Poor Nate
Or not, depending on your perspective.  The horses were fed this morning and left in their stalls while my daughter went to fill the hay nets outside for the day.  When she got back to the barn Nate was crashing his feed tub rather violently with his nose and dumping grain onto the floor then eating it.  Now that’s not a usual behavior for Nate so she thought it best to investigate. 
Seems there were poop balls in his feed tub and he was trying to get his grain out and onto the floor because it was too gross to try and eat around it.  Nate has never once pooped in his bucket or water so it was a safe bet this wasn’t his doing.  Upon further inspection of the area it was discovered that there was in fact some squished manure in the metal bars separating the stalls.  Seems O’Grady decided to gift Nate with a morning surprise.

We’re fairly sure this was not a random accident because Grady really had to angle himself just so to get aligned with the ‘sweet’ spot in the corner above Nate’s bucket.  Grady is usually the sweetest horse in the world and would never challenge Nate in the pasture but who knows what goes on once the lights are turned out.

O'Grady  (The culprit)
Our best guess is that Nate was up all night coughing with his respiratory condition and interrupted Grady’s beauty sleep. This morning in front of Nate’s stall there was a wad of green snot, so he may have a cold.
Memo to Mr. O’Grady: cranky and tired is still no reason to poop in a friend’s breakfast. 
"I'm sorry Nate, I won't do it again"
Poor Nate, I heard he looked so sad and down this morning as if to say “ I’m having a really bad day and it’s only morning!”

Until next time

Quote for Today 
The grass is always greener on the other side…until a horse comes and poops on it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

These Work

We’ve been having a lot of water problems lately due to the freezing temps and have had to resort to using water buckets in three of the stalls.  Dusty, Nate and Sami don’t mind at all as long as it doesn’t freeze by morning. We found these insulated water bucket covers and decided to give them a try. 

I’m happy to report that they work quite well.  We fill the buckets with hot water and by morning the water is not frozen into a solid block of ice.  So even though we only have a few more weeks of this miserable winter left (fingers crossed) if your water buckets are freezing solid you might want to give them a try.  I figure it's good to keep them on hand because you never know what’s going to happen with the weather or the pipes.

Short “Dusty” Story
A few weeks ago after all the horses were in and fed it was time for lights out and good night.  Dusty usually ignores everyone at night.  Her normal routine is basically: gobble down food as fast as possible, pin ears at anyone in the vicinity if necessary, take a drink of water and start chowing down on her hay net.  Well, this one night she hung her head out her door and was very vocal with lots of neighing and head tossing calling us to her stall.  “Yoo Hoo, um, excuse me, I have a complaint for management!”

When we got to her stall she stood over her waterer and banged it with her nose a few times. On further inspection it appeared her automatic waterer wasn’t working and she was alerting the minions of her displeasure with this objectionable situation.  She got a full bucket of water for that night and we’re working on getting it fixed.  Seems if you leave the door open on her end of the barn during the day the waterer freezes up. The plumber is going to take the bottom half apart and wrap the base with better insulation. 

Once she got her bucket and took a drink she turned around in her usual huff of annoyance gave us a “look” and started eating her hay.  Her attitude sort of reminded me of the famous line from an old movie of Bette Davis’s  “What a dump!”

Until next time

Quote for Today
The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.
    - Sharon Ralls Lemon

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thank You

I’ve recently been honored with a shout out on one of my favorite blogs: The Equestrian Vagabond.

Thank you Merri for including me in your newly formed Equestrian Vagabond newsletter. 

If you aren’t already a big fan of this blog check it out.  Merri is a talented writer who has a new book coming out soon, Soul Deep in Horses: Memoir of an Equestrian Vagabond.  Her blog is very interesting as well as having stunning horse photography.  There’s so much this gal has done and is currently doing that I wouldn’t do it justice here. Her profile says it all.  Happy reading!

Until next time
Quote for Today
May the horse be with you.