Friday, March 26, 2010


Dear, sweet Kacy at allhorsestuff and her mare, Washashe at TrailBossHoss, recently ordered a custom poster. "KK Girl" (Wa's nickname for her rider) rides in all weather and on all terrains. She and her Wa mare are an inspiration to me! Check out her latest post to read about their beach adventures with elk! Kacy calls Wa "her All-American Mare" and asked for a poster in Red, White and Blue. KK says she doesn't like empty spaces so we filled the negative space with a shadowed "MY JOY" because Wa certainly is her joy!
Next, Ariana, a family friend, is celebrating her "sweet 16" birthday in April. Ana speaks French and had the opportunity to visit Paris in springtime last year. I hope she doesn't read my blog because I want to surprise her with these two custom posters!

Monday, March 22, 2010

when in doubt, move on, no need to sort it out

Pie reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh sometimes. (No, Sovey hasn't bitten off his ear.) He is just very sensitive to energy currents. I like to tell my students that Van Gogh would paint the invisible air currents that flow around us all the time. He was particularly known to capture musical currents (Wagner), in his paintings. Pie doesn't paint or listen to Wagner(!), but he does react to weather currents like he can see things that I can't. Our sunny skies were replaced with rain today and Pie felt it coming. He was antsy when I was grooming him. I tacked up anyway and tried to calmly walk him around before getting on. Sovey was quiet and content in the paddock, but Pie was a Nervous Nelly. He pushes me with his head when he is upset. I walked him for a few minutes and it started to rain. We circled anyway. I thought I would just untack if it rained too hard. Then, Pie gave a calm, relaxed snort so I got on. He was wonderful as we headed out through the trails in the woods and I felt mad at myself for thinking he might be a handful. He visited his apple/barstool station and continued on. The next thing I knew he spied something very dangerous in the air. I am not sure what he saw because I saw nothing and it was on the path we had just been on, but he was certain something was there. I encouraged him to walk back that way to see that there was nothing. That was a mistake, I guess. We could have walked home easily, but I wanted him to see that it was ok. He started jumping straight up in the air (all four feet off the ground) and humping his back in little hops. At first, these jumps seemed naughty and playful, but when he would stop and stare, his heart was beating so loud and fast I could feel it. I felt so sorry for him, but I couldn't seem to reassure him and we were out in the middle of the field. I really didn't want to let him turn toward home because I thought that was a bad precedent. I pushed him forward toward the invisible monster. (That is a trick when you can't see what it is that is so scary!) He would walk and then try to turn toward home and then half-buck, half-rear. I kept my posture completely over his neck with my left hand and rein in his mane and my right rein down low on his neck as I stroked his neck. He responded well to this, almost as though I was protecting him. Actually, I was just trying to keep my weight forward. I did get him to retrace our path completely, and he stopped the antics, but he attempted to jig at the end. We walked a few minutes until the jigging stopped. He was still jumpy when I untacked and grazed. The air was full of grey mist and I really think he felt the rain storm approaching. Last spring, during a sudden thunderstorm, neither horse reacted, but today Pie sure seemed sensitive. After I turned him out, I was picking manure out of the pasture and Pie came over and loved me all up like he was trying to apologize. Poor honey, I wish I knew what he saw.

Friday, March 19, 2010

No sweeping exits or off stage lines

Sunshine is my excuse for not blogging for a week! We have had warm temperatures, sunny days, and many, many Pie and Sovereign rides. (Insert contented sigh.) I do have lovely new posters to share, fun stories about our new 24/7 turnout schedule, and a possible implementation of "wild horse pasture" ideas. I promise to catch up when I see the first rain drop!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

thank you for being a friend

Thursday was warm and sunny and it was Sovereign's turn to go for a ride. I groomed him while he grazed in the sunshine. He stands like a statue in the forebay when I tack him up, even though Pie is heckling him in the paddock beside us. Pie, understandably, does not like being left behind and he acts like a spoiled child, squealing and stamping his feet and bucking and racing and rearing. I keep the horse that is left behind in the small paddock with hay and water because they really can't get racing too much and I hope to avoid injury. When I ride Pie, Sovey stands quietly in the paddock and only whinnies once, when we return. When I ride Sovey, Pie throws a wing-ding. I know this is a difficult thing to overcome because it is their herding nature to stick together, and when I leave Pie behind his nature is telling him that he is vulnerable as a single unit. I hate to go against nature, but short of adopting a herd (which I am not ready to do yet!) I have to juggle two horses and their natures. I do think that Sovey is uneasy for some of our ride because of Pie's antics. This is something that has only developed recently. Sovey acts like he is getting buddy sour, but I am not sure that is it entirely. I rode a barn sour/buddy sour mare two years ago. I could "make" her walk quietly by circling, but she still was focused on getting home. Sovey seems more upset by Pie's worry than his own. He has long stretches on a loose rein when he is enjoying himself. Then, he will hear Pie squeal and he hurries. He will turn to look back at the paddock and if he sees that Pie is calm, he will face away and walk like he is ready to head out again. I wonder if my worry about Pie also influences Sovey's worry. A two horse herd is not natural, but that is where we are now. I hate to do anything that causes worry in a horse's life. I hope with consistent riding days two things will happen: a.) Pie will learn that he is safe and that Sovey will return, and b.) Sovey will see that Pie isn't too worried.
Sovey is a sensitive boy. He is a real helper to me. Last night the winds and the rains came. I went over after dark to bring the boys into the barn but they were in their shed. I am gradually going to transition them to living outside 24/7, but I am not ready just yet. They look at me like I am nuts because I am trying to take them out of their warm shed to walk them through the wind and rain to put them inside a barn! That is where their hay was for the night so I felt like I had to do it. I put Pie's halter on, but he would not budge. Sovey was behind Pie so I said, "Sovey, tell him to go." Sovey reach down and bit/nudged Pie on the butt. Thank you, Sovey! Pie walked in.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

count all the bees in the hive

This afternoon was mild with a warm breeze and sunshine and bursting with the promise of spring. I think the most difficult thing in the world is to love two horses. Who do you choose to ride on a day like today? It was Pie's turn so I rode him, but I think I saw a glimmer of sadness in my little Sovey's eyes when we headed out. I need to learn to pony the boys. Then no one will be left behind.
Pie was very calm and curious about everything. Now that the snow has melted, all our trails look different to him, I think. He really seems interested in taking it all in.
At one corner of our property, the neighbors whip dog poop into our field. Yuck! Pie is so funny there. He always has to leave a manure pile right in the middle of the dog stuff. Of course, my head gets filled with the song, "The Horse at Pooh Corner" - lol.
The boys had their vet check and shots yesterday. All is well and they walked in perfectly. The last time the vet was out they would not walk into the barn without balking. This time, they were so good and I was very proud. I am filled with love for them!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

that's the way I've always heard it should be

Yesterday was warm and sunny so I coerced Brian to ride with me! I have been riding the boys everyday so I knew they would be good. I apologize in advance for the quality of these photos. I have said before that I don't know how you bloggers are able to ride and take pictures. Pie will not stand still and our scenery is very brown this time of year. I am not complaining - at this point, brown is better than white!
Brian looks like he is on a tiny little horse in this photo. Sovey is over 16 hands, but I am high up on a tall building taking this photo - ha! I am high up on a tall Pie-Pie!

Here is a shot of our (brown) trails and Pie's muddy mane and ears!

This one of Pie's head makes him look all ratty and wild. I do keep his mane and foretop long, but this is too funny! All those years of showing and having a perfectly clipped and bathed horse has made me go too much in the other direction. There is no bridle path and long whiskers. I brush out both boys' manes and foretop everyday, but they were so muddy when we went to tack up that it took us a long time just to find a place to put the saddle! I forgot to brush Pie's mane! Every time we would brush them, a dust cloud would puff up - Brian said Pie was like "Pig Pen" with the dust cloud following him!

This one would have been so great if I hadn't smeared the lens up trying to wrestle the camera out of my pocket! This is right after Brian had to re-mount! He had an unscheduled dismount - no he didn't fall off! Pie was leading the way and we came to a branch that was too low to get under. Pie started backing up to turn around, but little Sovereign boy would not back up! He just plowed through the trail to another side trail. The branches were too low over there. I told Brian to dismount. Of course, Pie was acting like there was a huge monster over there even though we could clearly see it was Brian and Sovey! Brian has no problem getting back on because his stirrups are so long. (I can never re-mount in the woods because my stirrups are way up high on the saddle like I am a lead-line pony rider.) We continued on and had a fantastic ride. As we were grazing after our ride I tried to explain to Brian how lucky we are to be able to just hop on these boys and go for a great ride on March 7th. I don't think Brian understands that Thoroughbreds have a reputation of being nutty. We are very spoiled and our luck is not lost on me!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Custom Horse Posters!

Hooray!!! I am so proud and excited to unveil my new Custom Horse Posters! I have always loved vintage posters. My favorites are ski posters and circus posters. The vibrant colors, the foreign phrases, the fonts! I took this love and combined it with my love of horses...and voila...introducing Honeysuckle Faire Custom Horse Posters! The lovely Lilly, of Bay State Brumby, and the courageous Lazarus, of Sweet Horse's Breath, kindly shared their equine beauty so I could practice designing a few posters. And...their sweet and amazingly helpful owners critiqued my work and allowed me to mail them samples so I could get their opinions on packaging, poster paper/cardstock weight, colors, etc.

Here are the results! Above, you see the adorable Lilly. I made the photograph into a flat poster image. I chose a pink border because I know that pink is a Bay State Brumby favorite color. I added the name of the farm where Lilly lives, her name, and her blog name. The French phrase "douceur de vivre" (sweetness of life) completed the 11" x 17" poster!

Next we have Kristen and Laz. These two are bravely facing a difficult battle, but there is so much good news in Kristen's recent posts! I used Kristen's blog background color, blog name, Sweet Horse's Breath, and Lazarus' birthday to design the sweet boy's poster, above.

This time I picked a pink (fuchsia) for Lilly, and a fun circus font! The poster has Lilly's registered name and her parents' (dam and sire) names too. If you click on any of the posters, they will enlarge, and you can see that the photo is no longer a photograph, but a flat image.

Here Kristen is riding Lazarus, her "joie de vivre" (joy of life)!

I was feeling a little Breakfast at Tiffany's when I designed this one of Lilly.

Lazarus, the brave boy.

That indefinable something of dear Lilly!

Below is a screen shot of Honeysuckle Faire Custom Posters.

And a screen shot of my new etsy shop, Honeysuckle Faire.

I am offering custom horse posters on my Honeysuckle Faire website and in my new etsy shop. Both sites explain how to have an 11" x 17" poster made of your horse or pony using your favorite photograph, favorite colors, fun phrases and dates.