Saturday, May 29, 2010

Throwing shadows on our eyes

Today our bunny-rabbit-Sovey-Boy and I snuck away from Pie-Pie for a ride around the church and trails. Pie was happily nibbling his Uncle Jimmy's that I hang for him in the paddock. I don't think he noticed that we left! I used a saddle since I was going off our property and I am still recovering from our bareback ride the other day - ouch. Sovey's back isn't at all like the soft waterbed Pie. First we stopped for carrots from Maizie and my mom. Next, we headed across the street and into new church territory. He was all ears in the new place. When Sovey is bored, his ears go down like he is a mad bunny, but when he is interested in something new, they stand up and look so pretty. Today was like that. We circled around and then headed back into our honeysuckle woods. Wow. It is pungent and yummy in there. We saw a crow attack a huge owl! That was something to see. Also, some neighbors were golfing into a "golf tent" and Sovey wasn't sure about that, but like a true trouper, he held it together. Someone ate our apples before we got to the barstool (piggy wildlife - deer?) so I allowed him to nibble some hay from the field. Then back home for hosing off and grazing. Happy horsey day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

glory beyond our reach

I believe that horses are excellent indicators of their rider's mood. On days when I am happy and relaxed, the horses are too. Today I woke up cranky and stiff from a speed workout I did with Brian on the track yesterday. I just couldn't get out of my funk. There was hope for me in the early morning because the sun was gorgeous and the temperatures were mild. Then, boom, at 9 o'clock, out of nowhere came overcast skies and wet, dreary, damp air. It was chilly and miserable and I felt awful. I went to the barn to see the boys because being around them usually cheers me right up. I groomed and grazed them, but because of my perspective, they seemed cranky too. Pie was so rushed about everything. He kept walking up to the barn to get tacked up like he was in a big hurry. I put him in the cross-ties and slowly re-groomed him just to get us both in a better place. After that, I put the horses back out in the pasture and decided to go home and run to loosen up and get warm! Just then, my mother walked around the corner with a huge smile on her face and her half-chaps swinging in her hand. "Are we going riding?" she asked. I have a hard time saying no to riding. I honestly can't ride enough, and when the horses go out together, I know they enjoy it so I tacked them both up. The photo at the top is of us heading out.

This one is so cute of Sovey and Mom - happy as two larks. Pie and I were a completely different kettle of fish. Pie was jumpy and antsy and wanted to only follow Sovey for the entire ride. We tried to go to the cemetery, but Pie was having none of a tree trimming outfit working in the neighborhood. His poor heart was beating through my body. So we went home and walked and trotted the trails around the farm. Mom and Sovey seemed to really enjoy themselves. Poor Pie-Pie. His rider was a sad sack of sore muscles.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

give her a feather, she's a Cherokee

Sovey's little ears and the tennis court irises yesterday morning.

Action shot of me getting on Pie yesterday with a saddle. Pie went so well in the woods. He is very interested in trotting lately. Lots of praise for him on our Monday ride so now he wants to trot at every turn. Silly boy.

After my ride on Pie, I jumped on Sovey bareback. He was wonderful. The state road crew made a new bumpy culvert on the road right behind us. Grrrr. Trucks and trailers make such loud noises when they go over it. Pie did a few leaps and twists for me, but Sovey never flinched.

Who is this new little rider with a western saddle and English bridle? It is Maizie taking her third riding lesson on a sweet liver chestnut mare, Serenade.

Learning to post. Right after this she had to post without stirrups. Oh, the memories!

Pink cotton candy clouds. If you could only smell the honeysuckle! It is extra fragrant this year.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

you're my blue sky, you're my sunny day

Here is a silly Sovey face standing quietly in the forebay while I tack him up. What a cute, good boy he is. Yesterday was sunny and 70 degrees. Perfect for a riding adventure into new territory.

Here is another snap of Sovey (and my mom holding him). I tack up Pie in the cross-ties in the barn. I enjoy quietly spending that time with him. Ol' Sovey, though, is worried that Pie is getting loving (or treats) that he might be missing, so he and my mom keep wandering back up to the barn. Yesterday, Sovey flung the screen door (yes, our barn has screen doors!) open and kept peeking his funny face inside. He had me laughing so much. I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and my billets ended up looking like this! (I know some people criss-cross their billets when their girth is too long - with Pie's pleasantly plump barrel we don't have to worry about that!)

After getting my tack fixed properly, we got on and headed out across the street to the church field. I promptly dropped my cell phone while trying to take photos. Ugh! Pie was kind enough, however, to leave a manure "gift" on our ride that required me to retrace all our steps later. I took all these photos on that manure-pick-up-run.

I love this old gate post on the church property. This grove of trees is where my mom's friends boarded their horses in the 1950's.

The cross to the left has a cache at the bottom that Maizie has found and logged. She loves to show her "new-to-geocaching-friends" this one because it is a micro and so well-hidden. The cross is up on a high bluff. To the right of this picture is a steep drop-off because the area is above a limekiln. We can't take the horses down to the limekiln because it actually is in a private yard.

Since I was on foot, I snuck down for a photo of the limekiln. Sorry it is blurry. I was rushing because I was sneaking around their backyard!

Here is a view from the church field looking back toward our farm. I can't believe they mow all this weekly. Pie and Sovey think they should employ some ex-racers to gobble all the grass. We surely could adopt at least six more boys to eat all this! I'll tell the church people my idea - I wonder what they will think!

Here is some laundry that Sovey was not keen about. We knew he didn't like it because when he sees any laundry he puts his head up like a giraffe. That is the only way you know that Sovey is scared of something. My mom likes to start talking about the laundry that Sovey is staring at. I think she is trying to calm him, but it really cracks me up. She starts editorializing all about the laundry - like yesterday's discussion when she saw this view was, "I wonder where she got those cute camisoles. I'd like to get some like that. Boy, they sure have a lot of laundry. Are there only two of them in that house? How do they get that much laundry?" Sovey likes her comments, but I am so embarrassed. I hope no one hears her.

This is a view down the street we tackled. Pie and Sovey had not been here before and there is a large dog tied up that barks all the time. We knew that it might be a tricky business. The dog waits until you are right there and then it darts out barking. It is attached with a chain and the chain scrapes the wooden door and it sounds like a loud tiger. Pie and Sovey skittered their back feet the first time we walked by the dog on the way out. On the way back home, I told mom to sing louder than the chain. She was belting out Tammy by Debbie Reynolds from 1957 only she changed the lyrics to "Sovey, Sovey, Sovey's in love" and I was singing Blue Sky for Pie. It worked! The boys were perfect angels.

Here is a manhole cover that gives Pie some trouble. He doesn't mind the normal covers, but the ones with the pictures are terribly s-c-a-r-y! Isn't that funny that he can tell the difference?

Back in our own woods, Pie wanted to take a path to the right and I wanted him to take the path to the left. He was determined, but so was I. We circled and then he was a good boy and went to the left.

This is what I wanted him to see - lovely purple phlox!!

Here are our "noxious" roses. They are wild, and the state of Pennsylvania hates them because they are invasive, but they smell heavenly. Their scent combines with the soon-to-bloom Honeysuckle to make the most amazing fragrance. Sigh.

Here is one of the paths I cut through the hayfield. I am sure our farmer doesn't appreciate my path-making, but Pie and Sovey sure do! They have all these secret paths for walking with nice hay nibbles on either side. Yummy!

Here are the two sleepy boys after their long ride!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

fear is the lock and laughter the key

Saturday morning was sunny but very windy. After grooming and grazing the boys, I got a crazy idea to ride Pie without a bridle or saddle. This photo above is from my third ride on Pie yesterday. I could not handle a camera during my first ride without a bridle. I had read Bay State Brumby's post Of Pigs and Superheroes while drinking my coffee in the morning, and I was very inspired to ride Pie without anything. Click here if you didn't watch the videos. I ride Pie bareback and bitless all of the time, but I really want to work toward riding him without anything. Even though it was windy, he was being all lovey-dovey and I could tell he would be a good boy. I had my mom hold him in his halter and lead so I could get on. She was reciting a continual litany about how crazy I was, and how bad they (the horses) were in the early morning, playing and racing around and that I was nuts. I do think the comedy of my mom and I together is understood by Pie. He is relaxed through all our antics because we don't take ourselves too seriously. Finally, I got on and unhooked the lead. He still had his halter on, but I had nothing attached to it so I held on to his mane. At first, he stood by the gate completely baffled about the whole setup. I don't ride him in the pastures very often and he wanted to go out. I squeezed very gently, and he walked on. We walked down and around a second pasture. Some low flying loud military planes (Blue Angels?) went over, but Pie held it together. I wasn't able to get him to bend as well as I imagined, but he still responded amazingly well to some of my signals. It was a super beginning. I kept smiling and laughing the whole time because I dream of riding him without a bridle or saddle and I was that much closer. I hope I can get some photos of our next "naked" (him - not me!) ride.
Next, I put on Pie's bridle and rode him around the farm until mom was ready to ride. Then, I tacked up Sovey-boy and we all headed out for a perfect May ride in the wind and sun. We had a ball!
Sovey spies a baseball game at the church.

Pie munches yummy clover after his good-boy ride.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pie's 5th Birthday!

Friday, May 7th was Pie's 5th birthday. Now he is a big five year old boy! This picture of him, above, was taken on his birthday. He is a big giant boy standing with our dear neighbors, Winnie and Ralph. Winnie is 91 years old and Ralph is 93 and they live independently in the house across the street from our house, Nutmeg Cottage.
Friday was sunny with perfect 68 degree temperatures and no wind. I was just going to ride the birthday boy around the farm, but after I groomed Sovey, old Sovey decided he would park himself under the forebay and not budge. This is where I tack him up, so I knew he was asking to go too. I phoned my mom and told her that her boy was demanding a ride so she hustled over and off we all went for a fantastic ride around the farm. We celebrated Pie's birthday last year with a ride too. You can read that post here. This year, there was some commotion in the sleepy development beside our farm so we popped out through the woods to investigate.

It was a neighborhood yard sale. There were cars and people and tents and umbrellas everywhere. Definitely a Thoroughbred nightmare. Pie was interested, though. Usually, when this street is empty, I can't get Pie to investigate it. He shies at basketball hoops and fire hydrants. With Sovey by his side and all the laughter and sunshine and good energy he was not afraid in the least. Early on, a motorcycle rode right beside us as we slowly made our way up the street. They were the very best of boys!

Halfway up the street I spied my neighbors, Winnie and Ralph, who live across the street from me, 3 miles away! They were helping at this yard sale so we stopped and visited and I asked them to come over to the barn later so I could get a picture of Pie with them. Winnie is so tiny and Pie-Pie is so big - I thought it would make a good photo.

The horses were amazing through the entire morning. I like to expose them to many new sights and sounds. Sovey is afraid of nothing and Pie is always willing to ask, "Should I be afraid?" before just freaking out. He is a blank canvas and he kindly allows Sovey or me to answer (and he listens) when we tell him that he is safe.

Above, Sovereign stands while Mom is untacking. At this point, she is complaining that she doesn't have a groom! Ha! And, below, Sovey watches as Mom performs a pretty fancy "half-chaps-removal-maneuver". She thinks she is a ballerina apparently.

I think Pie enjoyed his birthday ride. Poor Sovey was foaled on January 19th, so his special day is usually chilly. At least he got to have a fun ride on Pie's special day.

Above is my favorite view out my kitchen window. Throughout the summer and early fall, Winnie washes Ralph's hats. She dries them by putting them on milk jugs that are on rebar posts in the yard. The wind twirls the jugs around on the posts, and because of the placement of the milk jug's handles, the entire set-up is priceless! It looks like three faces twirling in the wind.

Winnie and Ralph are the kindest, sweetest people on the planet. Winnie bakes and cooks food all day and shares with her church and the local senior organization. She doesn't drive, but Ralph drives her everywhere. They celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary this year! Isn't that amazing?!

On September 11, 2001, it was a sunny day here in Pennsylvania and Winnie was drying Ralph's hats on the poles. I remember standing in the middle of the street watching the hats slowly twirl around. Ralph came outside and we just shook our heads. He said, in his old-fashioned way, "What kind of trick were they pulling?"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

a fanfare blowing to the sun

Tonight we celebrated our own little Derby. The Pennsyltucky Derby. Brian and I rode the boys and Maizie graciously photographed for us. It had been miserable hot all day and it only cooled down to 79 degrees for our ride, but there was a slight breeze which made it really nice. Also, the sky was gorgeous with wispy clouds and a yellow-pink sunset. Here is Brian bonding with Sovey before the ride. Hysterically, we ended up wearing matching jeans and navy t-shirts. Unplanned, but funny since our horses are twins too.
Here we are making sure Brian and Sovey are doing ok while still safe inside the pastures. Sovey's real name is Suave Lord. His father, Suave Prospect, raced in the 1995 Kentucky Derby! Brian and I kept to the walk for our little Derby.

Entering the woods.

Brian and Sovey.

Poor Pie's eyes caught in the flash.

We are in an open area in the woods.
Here comes two hungry horsies heading toward two juicy apples!

This is a great shot of our kind apple-sharing neighbors!!! We are so lucky. And, how about our matching outfits - Team Blue Shirts! Hilarious! Pie and Sovey munch some grass happily as we talk. No bits so they can enjoy a few nibbles. They are good about only munching if we are talking, but the funniest thing is that they know all the neighbors who we like to chat with and they immediately head to those homes for a nibble/conversation! Naughty nibblers.

Amazing sky.

Pie's stinky face.

Darkness in the woods.

Our sweet photobug.