Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You can't let one precious day slip by

Here is my muddy Foggy boy grazing last evening at sunset.  All these mud speckles and this is after I groomed him!  

I have been taking my time with Foggy.  Not that I didn't take my time with Pie and Sovey, but it is different this time around.  I am just more relaxed with Foggy.  

Every day when I walk in the barn I see their snack bowls lined up on the stairs and I get the giggles and  think that they are "my three sons".  I've heard parents of multiple children say that they were more relaxed with the younger kids. I am definitely seeing that with my retraining of Foggy.  Pie and Sovey were in the barn together at night back when they arrived in February of 2009. Each morning, I would work on cross-tie practice with one of the horses and the other horse was right there, in his stall looking on. Foggy is alone so his program has been a little different, and, a little less structured.   

This is a rough outline of our schedule:

Pie and Sovey are outside and Foggy is in his stall all night.  My mom feeds all the horses hay at 7am and Foggy gets a little grain too.

I arrive around 8:30 am if the weather is nice and pick up manure in all the pastures to warm up.  Pie and Sovey usually help me when they are finished with their hay.  I bring Foggy outside.  I haven't tried him in the cross-ties yet because he is anxious to get out and see his friends.  I practice leading him around the farm. He leads very well.  He rushes a little if the other horses get out of his sight, but not too bad.  He grazes and I groom him.  Then I stick him into a small ring pasture with water and hay and more grain.

I put Pie and/or Sovey in a nearby paddock depending on who I am not riding that day. The horse in the paddock has hay and water.  I hope to one day leave the two horses that I am not riding out together, but for now I am trying to fatten Foggy up and he has some grain and rich hay out with him.  

I groom and tack up the horse du jour and off we go on our cross-country trek.  I rode Sovey on Sunday bareback and Pie yesterday with a saddle (it rained Monday).  Pie is screaming much less when I ride Sovey so that is great that he knows he has Foggy "with him".

Yesterday, when I rode Pie, he wanted to investigate a neighboring field east of our property.  I let him decide how far out he wants to go.  He was very willing to keep going which makes me happy.  Someday I am going to just keep going and never stop.

After my ride there is post-ride grazing and grooming/massage. This is the best part for the horse and can be nice for me in the sunshine.  Usually it is freezing though!  We had some considerable shedding from Pie yesterday - much relief that spring has sprung.

I put the horse I rode in the big pastures and add the paddock horse.  Then, I bring Foggy in to be with everyone. They all seem happy.  

I leave them out all day with more hay.  I used to have to clean Foggy's stall, but now my wonderful farm helper, Melanie, is doing his stall and buckets so I go home.  Melanie feeds hay in 8 separate piles at 4:30pm.  I come back around 6 or 7 pm and put Foggy in the barn for the night.  Removing him from the pasture at night seems cruel to me and I don't know why he lets me do it, but he doesn't have enough winter coat or fat to stay out all night. Around mid-March, I should be able to leave him out with the boys 24/7.  He walks into the barn and his stall willingly.  Last evening, when I got him out, I grazed and groomed him.  This was surely a terrible mistake.  I doubt he will forget - and now I'll be expected to do that every night!  

I have moments when I panic and think that I am not "doing" anything with Foggy.  I see when I go back and read my blog from 2009 that I was further ahead with Pie and Sovey at this point (they arrived February 22nd) than I am with Foggy.  Pie and Sovey had been at a Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation farm for 3 months before they came to us.  Foggy came straight from the track. He isn't showing any signs of nervousness or worry, but it just feels right to let him relax and fatten up and "do nothing" for a while.  


  1. Remember that quote on my blog? "I have time." You have all the time in the world, so no need to rush things at all - your quiet calm approach is great and just what he needs - that in itself is building a good foundation.

    I still love it that you have a Pie too!

  2. Kate - Thanks! For some reason, your comment just made my heart sing. Relief that going slow is ok - "I have time" and also that we share the love of our sweet Pies! Thank you! I am smiling as I head off to the barn.

  3. The baby of 3 right here! I can relate to Foggy... and it's an interesting point that you bring. I do think that like people, the birth (or herd) order affects one's character. With that in mind, plus your practice of projecting good energy (read calm energy here), I think Foggy is gonna be one mellow fellow! It's interesting too, what you said in your last post about energy... In my hand grazing sessions I have never thought about the possibility of something going wrong or something bad happening. And you guessed it, nothing bad ever has happened. I didn't realize until reading your last post, that my neutral energy was helping to create positive outcome! Look at you, teaching me stuff again! :)

  4. No hurry right? It's all in the journey and not the destination anyway. It seems to me that he's pretty dang happy just doing what you're doing.

  5. I agree with all the earlier posts. When you bring a new horse into a new setting it's better to err on the side of taking too much time than rushing the process. It will pay off in the long run.


  6. HI YOU!
    I just posted about your last "Colorful Emotions" post, that I have no even commented on as I savor them first, then reply. This time I marinated the thoughts while at the barn and actually during the drive~

    Love your ritual of the Grazing/ Groomer. A fav for the mare and I as well. Your Foggy is Found to be very sootted by all the routines- He knows Jules...Just as mine was- ultra calm- rightoff the bat, when I moived her finally to this place we are in. HE does he know- he reads your soothing colors well-he Forever Home.
    And, there is NO-TIMELINE in a horses mind. Save~feeding time , and loving the familar routine of it all. He is living the life, and you are too...I adore the "My Three Sons" comparison! HA!!

    I have recently revisited my childhood with a oldie and goodie. Commercial form.
    Levi's 70's commercial. I probably was in-crush with the boy in the tv commercial...he was slightly older than me.

    "Good Morning world, I'm ready for you..oou oou oou a oou oou..I'm wearing' my Levi's.LEEHEHEHE VIS!! Ha-Ha!".
    You Tube is so great!

    Well, I digress(imagine that) YOU and your Foggy will be finding out about each other soon enough, Spring is in two weeks(clock springing ahead) and maybee....maybee, somedayee ...Heee will be the one to take you to the farthest fields, that you do not stop and keep on going~

    will be your horsey to take you

  7. I'm a big fan of slow and steady. Hard to be sure whether it's more for for Val's sake or mine, but it's working for us too. Love the happy post :)

  8. haha I remember that show, "My Three Sons."

    Everything I have read about a horse right off the track says let them come down and be a horse with weeks-months of time for this.

    I was wondering, how much grazing time after a ride do you think has been just the right # (of minutes?)

    Dream paws the grass after a ride to make sure I don't forget!

    I could be out there a while (remembering last year, now-- haven't seen grass, or ground, since fall 2010, you know...) :-)

    Too long could make it too much of the focus for him? Too short, an insult?

  9. Allison - I do time my grazing sessions with a watch. I make sure that it is a good amount of time (20 minutes or more) if I had an exceptionally long or great ride. I also watch the grass. I choose dry, less lush grass for fat Pie. I am extra careful in the spring.

  10. There is much training in what you are doing now for Foggy. It will make his transition from his old job to his new job so much easier. Patience is so key with these sensitives. He's lucky to not be rushed. :)

  11. Juliette, I love hearing about your routines with your horses. And you are so consistent and reliable- they must thrive with that. It sounds, too, like you are doing something quite significant with Foggy: giving him time, time and more time to learn, adapt, get to know you, get to know how reliable you are, and how kind you are, and to get to know his new surroundings, and the new routines, and the other new horses. You are letting him learn and soak it in, in his time. Sounds like a wonderful plan, and you are right on schedule :).


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