Friday, February 22, 2013

Dusty and Longeing

"It's your choice, give me a treat or...

I attack the hay cart!"

Yesterday I decided since the sun was making an appearance and the sky was actually blue and not gray it was a good day to start getting the horses in shape.  I prefer to ease them back into work with short sessions and then increase gradually.  Dusty was the first victim on my to- do list. 

She was treated to a thorough grooming and I came out of the session resembling a Yeti. I was covered head to toe in horsehair.  Horse Tip 101- Do Not wear chap stick or anything remotely close to fleece! Spring must be around the corner because she was shedding quite a bit. 

After I finished spitting hair out of my mouth and trying unsuccessfully to brush my clothing off we headed for the indoor.  Getting down there was no easy feat. It’s situated down a hill that hasn’t been plowed.  There was a frozen somewhat slippery shell covering the snow but we soldiered on and crunched through. Note to self: don’t forget to plow the road to the indoor.

Once inside we discovered that our newly resident hawk had been very busy with the pigeons.  There were at least five piles of feathers so I assume he’s a proficient hunter and isn’t going hungry.  Dusty decided a thorough investigation of the feather piles was mandatory.  I only wish I had a camera because when she picked her head up her nose was covered in feathers.  She’s always wanted her own feather boa but the location was a bit off.

Even though the wind was howling and the temperature was colder than I like – (21 F/-6C) - she followed me around like a puppy while I kicked sand piles back under the walls.  We have foxes and cats and who knows what else that likes to hunt for mice under the walls. In order to do this they have to dig out the sand and they make quite a mess.  So each time before we ride we have to walk the perimeter and replace the sand.  I’m afraid one of the horses will trip in the holes.

I only planned to work with Dusty for about 20 minutes so I put her on the longe and asked for a walk.  Which she immediately translated in her mind to mean trot like a maniac.  Walk – Trot sounds similar right?  We tried this a few times until we got it right.  When she was going at a nice pace I asked for the Halt which again translated to Canter at Mach 10 with a couple of impressive bucks thrown in for good measure.  Truthfully, I didn’t know she could buck that high.  Once I got her under control we walked and halted and switched directions.  Not perfect but better than the beginning so we ended with that.

The thing that gets me is she knows her voice commands and what’s expected.  I guess the cold and wind and not being ridden for a few weeks made her feel like cutting loose a little.  I’m hoping the next time is less eventful.

Until next time
Quote for Today

In training there is always the tendency to proceed too rapidly, go slowly with careful, cautious steps. Make frequent demands; be content with little; be lavish in rewards.
    - General Faverot de Kerbrech


  1. I wore chapstick when grooming Lily - who grows a very fine, yak-like winter coat - in the spring - once! Yuck is all I can saw about that . . .

  2. I had a mouthful of hair just this afternoon. :D We generated six full sized hair waffles. Good job getting Miss Sassy Pants into the arena. Spring can't be too far off...

  3. That feather picture would have been great!

    My goodness, she was full of beans. Canter instead of halt? Dusty is a funny girl and brave about the tackroom apparently.

    I agree that taking it slow is a good way to start after the off-season.

  4. Adorable Dusty begging for a treat and threatening the hay cart! Wish I could have seen her feather boa face - hilarious!

  5. I made the mistake of wearing chapstick down to the barn today, groomed Winston, and spent the rest of the time wiping hair off my lips. Yuck.

  6. At least she is feeling good! I have two shedding madly and two just starting up. The donkeys won't start for awhile - they like to hang onto their winter coats until summertime hits. :)

  7. Rather an entertaining day. *lol*

    When I clipped my horses I would wear a totally nylon outfit with a hood and tight cuffs--jacket and pants. It was the only solution to avoid being totally covered in horse hair.

  8. Ha ha ha....I can't get the image of you as a Yeti out of my mind...ha ha! I love Miss Dusty's attitude. :-) Perhaps spring is in the air???

  9. I've always said I want to live in your barn, and seeing those pictures of the inside just confirms it. The horses are full of themselves this time of year, that's for sure--cold or not. Mine are getting sassy, too.


  10. Haha !
    I dunno,a feather boa for the indoor may be catching! Too funny. So glad you didn't see those catches, it shocked me to read of his hunting ground, but I'm happy to know there are less pigeons.

    If I told the same storey, with Wa mare in Dusty's place, it would be terrifying. Love the way you tell time I lunge Wa, I'm linking to this post! Tee hehe.

    Good start, nice to hear, even though it is still -very wintry- there, the shedding has begun. It is a sign nature wants to cheer us all...though it's rather hairy.

  11. That quote -'be content with little" - seems to be the watchwords for this time of year. Good for you for calming Dusty down after her bucking performance. I know I'm supposed to stay cool and unruffled when my horses do that, but it still makes my heart start thumping. I think Dusty is just letting you know how much she wishes it was Spring already. This melting during the day and freezing again at night is making it really treacherous - please be careful!

  12. Ha! Been there done that with the chapstick and clothes. I sure wish my herd would start shedding, I'm beyond ready for Spring to get here. Maybe Dusty was doing a 'Spring Dance' to help it get here sooner! ;)

  13. Just checking in. Found your blog in an architecture google search somehow. Being a horse lover I had to follow it up. thanks for reflections on riding and reading. I love Paul Belasik's books, mostly recently "Dressage for the 21st Century". Hard to find, expensive to buy, but a joy to read and surely a classic. He is such a scholarly, artistic and thorough guy.

  14. Hay there, you won my giveaway. I'm not sure if you even wanted to win it, but you did! Congratulations. It's the music from the 7 Clinics with Buck Brannaman CD by Templeton Thompson and her husband, Sam Gay.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Well thanks so much! I can't believe I won! I'm very excited I think her music is really very good. She's very talented.

  15. Ha! Enjoy the "spring spirit" as hot summer will be here before we know it and they will be all about the "whoa". And I had to learn the hard way about chap stick and fleece too....

  16. Right now I'd e happy to see some Spring regarding the weather. It's actually snowing right now. It won't stick but enough is enough with this weather.


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