Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November News



"Dusty and Nate"

Thought it was about time I checked in with everyone.  There’s not much going on around here so there really isn’t much to write about.  The horses are all fat and hairy in anticipation of the coming winter.  They’ve also been staying out a few nights a week since the weather is cooler and the bugs are a memory.  I don’t mind if they think they are a wild herd except they have all found the burr patch on the property and forelocks, manes and tails are a mess.  It took me quite some time to get them out of Dusty’s tail Saturday. 

All the horses are healthy, except for Nate who was lame last week.  Dusty has been banished to the small paddock with him for company until he gets better.  He’s doing well and is almost able to be reunited with the herd.  I hate mystery lameness.  He must have hurt himself one night when they refused to come in.  They’ve been heard galloping around in the dark so anything is possible to explain his injury.  He’s not the most careful horse on the farm.  If there’s a way to get hurt Nate will find it.

I haven’t ridden since the beginning of October.  Not that I haven’t wanted to.  This is my favorite season to ride.  Like the horses I enjoy the cooler temps and no bugs.  Seems I developed what’s called a Baker’s Cyst behind my knee.  It’s a build up of fluid and I’m here to tell you it’s very painful. I was hunched over doing my best impersonation of Quasimodo, using a cane and dragging my leg along.  Anybody who might have said “rung any bells lately” would definitely have gotten a swat with the cane.  So I took the anti-inflammatory meds for a while and they helped but it takes a long time to heal.  The leg is just starting to feel better now.  I’m hoping to start back riding again this weekend.

Until next time
Quote for Today
I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Finally, A Ride






Well sort of a ride.  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to saddle up a horse and actually get some time in the saddle.  Dusty got a thorough grooming which she seemed to enjoy.  Took quite a while to release all the burrs from her mega tail and mane and forelock.  She was even sporting a braided tail by the end of her session. 

As we walked outside and were making our way to the ring we noticed a group of people standing at the fence on the street. Well, what could we do, we had to go over and let them meet Miss Dusty.  It turned out it was our neighbors from diagonally across the street; a very nice man, his son and his father.  He had his toddler grandson with him and the little guy enjoyed meeting Dusty but wouldn’t touch her.  That’s understandable as she is much bigger than a dog or cat.  You could tell he wanted to pet her, but in his mind, better safe than sorry.

Then with an audience I proceeded to mount up figuring she’d most likely give me a hard time and make me look silly.  Wonders never cease and she was as good as gold, again, at the mounting block.  She’s starting to scare me with how well behaved she’s been lately.  Maybe she’s just figured out it’s easier to be good than difficult?  I hope so.

Dusty and I started walking down the long side and she didn’t feel right.  So after a few turns of direction and some small circles we concluded it was her left hind.  She’s a little lame and her ankle is a bit swollen.  We’ll see how she’s doing tomorrow. 

So even though I had a very short ride it was still great to be able to sit in a saddle and spend some time with her.  She may think this was a mounting lesson, which she passed with flying colors and was rewarded with carrots, apple slices and stud muffins.  That’s fine as long as we always end on a good note.

Until next time
Quote for Today

May the horse be with you.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Goodbye Sweet Boy

Murphy



Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our sweet boy Murphy this week. Murphy was a twelve-year-old Australian Shepherd who was loved by everyone who knew him and who he loved in return.  It’s hard to say goodbye to a best friend but it was the kindest thing we could do for him.  Murphy had problems with his legs and hips as many older dogs do.  We tried to help him with acupuncture and laser treatments but even with his treatments supplemented with anti-inflammatories and pain pills he was still suffering.

Murphy used to love to run and play and chase deer and turkeys but he couldn’t get up by himself anymore and walking was painful.  We used a harness that he wore all day so we could lift him up and down the steps to go out and just help him to stand.  He had to eat his food lying down and you could just tell he was unhappy with his situation and wasn’t enjoying his life anymore.  It’s very hard but there comes a time when we had to do what was right for him no matter how hard the decision was to make. We miss him terribly. 

There are so many good memories of Murphy over the years. We will never forget this wonderful dog.  He would meet us all with a shoe whenever we came home and present it with a lot of pride and butt wiggles. But if I had to pick a favorite goofy antic, it would be how he would hide his dry food all over the house when he was younger and no one was home. Murphy’s hiding places took a lot of forethought and planning.  He would lift the cushion of a chair or couch and place the food under the cushion and then put it back down so you wouldn’t know it was there.  I thought this was a pretty clever way to hide his food from his little sister Maggie, who was a bit of a food stealer.  Another favorite place was in a riding or paddock boot. Murphy was a unique character.

I’ve put together a little slideshow with music of  “The Murph” as a tribute to my sweet boy:
video




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.