Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I've been one poor correspondent

Look at those adorable long bunny ears! Can you guess who they belong to?  Yes, they are the crazy long ears of one cute Found in the Fog as we headed out on our ride this morning.  I've been one poor correspondent and I've been too, too hard to find recently in the blogger world mainly because my real life has taken over my virtual life!  Riding three horses, petsitting our usual summer puppy friends, and mostly being Maizie's mommy has taken me away from the computer.  I can't say I am sorry though - summer is too short to miss!

These ears, above, are also from this morning, but these are Pie's ears. I rode him first.  Here he is, below, trying to touch the mailbox so I will give him a treat!

When Pie and Sovereign first came to our farm, they loved to head out through the fields on our rides and it was difficult to get them to go back to the barn.  Sometimes my rides stretched into two hour adventures because they just never had enough.  I loved that!  After a year or so, though, both horses were done with adventuring.  I ride them out each day happily, but they don't seem to want to go much farther than our borders.  Also, they walk back to the barn/pastures willingly, if not, quickly.  

Now that Foggy is with us and I am able to ride him, I am noticing the very same initial desire to go out far and I am having difficulties getting him back to the barn after we go out.  Does anyone know what causes this? 

Foggy is attached to Pie and Sovey.  He doesn't like to graze or be away from the barn if they are in the barn. He will call and rush back to the barn. Yet, when I ride him, he wants to leave and just keep going. He could care less about them. 

Today, I took him out much farther than I ever had before on the trails. When it was time to come home, he would not go forward in that direction. He wants to head east. If I trick him and take him another way, as soon as he spies the barn, he circles and tries to head away.  Pie and Sovey used to do the very same thing in the first year they were with us. I had to dismount sometimes to get them back to the barn.  Today, I had to dismount to get Foggy back home too. I am not really complaining - I love a horse that is willing to keep riding.  But, I know how this goes. It happened with the other two.  They just stopped wanting to go out far one day and now their homing device is set to the barn.  I used to think it was Philadelphia, where they all came from - east of us that was "calling" the horses home. Really though, it is any direction away from what they know. It is exactly like they want to see what is out there, but after a year, they don't care anymore.  I have to force Pie and Sovey to investigate uncharted land now, but for the first year, they pulled me to see more.  Now Foggy is in that stage.  I don't want it to end, but I wish I knew what was going on and why it happens like this. 

In addition, I am still riding Foggy bareback because he is built weird and skinny right now and I don't think my saddle fits him correctly. When Pie and Sovey were in their early investigation stage, at least I had a saddle and stirrups so I could lean forward and comfort them (myself) by patting (grabbing) mane. With Foggy, I am out there bareback and bitless and pretty much along for the ride as he happily walks around the farm. He is much smaller than the other two in height so I reassure myself that a fall won't hurt quite as much! I wish I could keep them all this interested in walking far away from the farm forever. I guess it is a good thing -  I probably wouldn't ever come home. 

Here is Foggy seeing a new neighboring field for the first time this morning.  The Pennsylvania Turnpike is on the other side and the loud trucks were racing. He could care less - he just kept moving forward away from the barn with a purpose. 

I adore this photo!!!!  Somehow, I captured Foggy's quick side glance at a scary object. A year from now, he will shy big at all this like Pie and Sovey do now when they see scary things. But, in this early stage, nothing is too frightening - a quick glance and then he keeps moving away from the barn.  What is this all about and why can't they stay like this?


We have had gorgeous sunsets every night here of pink and orange and blue. Too lovely for words. And, this second there are singing birds and fragrant Locust and Chinese Chestnuts trees wafting their evening scents all around. June 21st is sweet and sorrowful all at the same time. I can almost forget summer's bugs right now.

On Thursday, Maizie and Brian achieved their Jubilee Day goals of pull-ups (him 25) and flexed arm hang (her 76 seconds) and earned their Marine Corps t-shirts that say "Pain is weakness leaving the body". How funny is that? Here are videos of them!

Tonight I was rushing around trying to clean up after dinner and get Maizie to her tennis practice.  I glanced in the mirror and said, "Oh, my goodness...look at me!"  I still had on my barn clothes and my face was dirty and my hair was nutty. Maizie said sweetly, "I think you look pretty, Mama."  Then she added, "In an Albert Einstein sort of way."  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Every picture tells a story

Here is a hysterical picture of me on my sweet pony, Dimples, and my mom with a tail!!!!  (Click to enlarge.) How funny is that?  The date on the photo is January of 1971 but it must have been taken sometime in the summer of '71. I was four years old. Mom and I are sporting our favorite matching outfits - made out of old curtains.  I am not kidding - we have older photos of my mom from her high school days and those curtains are hanging in the living room window!

It looks to me like it is Maizie on Dimples. She really looked like that when she was four. Sadly, Maizie is terribly allergic to horses, but she does help me graze now and then. I had her take riding lessons last summer to learn basic horse safety, but her allergies made her face and eyes swell and kept her sneezing through the whole lesson. Fortunately, she did learn some important horse handling skills which came in handy last week when Foggy and Sovey got loose! I was leading Pie out of the ring gate and because it was so buggy and hot, Foggy decided he was leaving too. He slipped through the gate on the off side of Pie.  Sovey hesitated a moment while I was reacting and he also slipped out!  Both brothers were completely loose and without halters.  Maizie calmly walked up to the horses as they headed toward the barn and detained Sovey while Foggy investigated the wagonshed thoroughly.  Meanwhile, I was freaking out like a chicken with my head cut off trying to figure out what to do with Pie.  He was very cooperative and allowed me to stick him back in the pasture.  I ran up and grabbed two halters. Maizie put one on Sovey and I got Foggy.  She really saved the day with her calm demeanor and quick thinking - unlike me!  

I am struggling to find the perfect time of day to ride now that Maizie is home all day. I tried evenings for two nights. The honeysuckle smell has been heavenly and I love the soft pink evening light, but the bugs are just too bad.  Last evening Pie went crazy even though I sprayed him thoroughly. I thought he was going to buck me off because his belly was getting bit. Tonight's ride on Sovey was exactly the same - not pleasant because of the flies and gnats. I was bareback and poor Sovey shook so many times and his skin was flicking and twitching the whole time. 

I bring the horses into their stalls if it is 90 degrees or above during the day and they really don't want to go back outside in the evening because of the bugs. I am probably going to go back to morning rides and hope that makes a difference. I give the horses garlic, spray them with different products, and use fly masks, but this year nothing is working. Tonight while I was putting the bridle on Sovey in the forebay, he pushed the screen door open and walked back into the barn before our ride. Talk about giving me a complex! My horse disappears and hides in his stall when it is time to go riding. Ugh! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crazy Janey and her mission man

Looking back on the week before Memorial Day and all through that holiday weekend we had humid and terribly hot days.  On June 2nd the temperatures dropped and the pressure rose and we had 5 glorious days!  Can you guess what I was doing everyday? Riding my boys - mostly two a day! The heat is coming back tomorrow - yuck.  

Today is June 7th! I love that date. There is something so summer-y and end-of-school-like about saying June 7th. (Although, Maizie's school doesn't end until this Thursday!)  I remember on January 7th dreaming about what I might be doing on June 7th.

I got to the barn early today and tacked up the Pie.  You can see his silly ear as we headed out past the tennis court.  He has been an exceptional horse the last few weeks.  Last Thursday, a road crew was working in front of our farm and Pie demanded to visit the stop-sign-turning-guy.  In fact, the man crossed us over to the church and back again on our way home!  It was auto-auction day with traffic and loud speakers but my good Pie wanted to investigate off our property.  I just adore him!

These two are from this morning's ride.

And this one, below, is also from this morning, but I am on the Foggy-boy.  He is eating apples out of a tub so I can sneak on bareback!  I ride him in the ring with a saddle and he is a perfect angel.  Rings just aren't my thing, though, so recently I have been climbing on while he grazes in the evening. A few nights ago, I was on him and he was munching happily in Sovey's bridle (the one without a throat latch criss-cross) and he somehow stepped out of it and there we were - no bridle, no saddle - just a fly mask!!!  I think I could hold Foggy in the palm of my hand though, so I wasn't too worried.  He is gaining weight with his happy beet pulp snack. 

I love when horses groom and "hug" each other.  I especially love it when the brothers do it.  I never was on a horse before when the hugging started, but this morning Foggy and Sovey included me in their snuggling.  I was a little scared of the alligator Sovey having his teeth so close to my knee, but the little naughty decided to grab hold of my right rein and play with it and tug it around.  I reached down and got it from him and guided Foggy away from the paddock!

And in more "summer is coming" news, my Crazy Maizie Jane-(y) and her mission man daddy, Brian, have been keeping us all busy with serious athletic events.  This past Saturday morning, Maizie jumped 8 feet 1/2 inch in the standing long jump and won our local meet!  Last year she was third in the state, but this was her best jump ever in a meet.  (Got to love the sign, above.  No Sunflower Seeds!)

She and Brian have also been training each evening to do pull-ups at Jubilee Day this year.  The Marines set up a bar and challenge men to do 20 pull-ups and women to hang with bent arms for 70 seconds.  Maizie and Brian are determined to earn a tee shirt(!) so they have been practicing.

I am not usually as competition happy as those two.  This year, however, I have committed to running the Harrisburg Mile in July.  I have always been a runner, but the words, "Runners take your mark" make me nauseous. Then, in the middle of May we received the Harrisburg Mile application form in the mail.

Brian was on the front cover!!!!!!!!

I decided that must be some kind of sign that I am supposed to race too this year!  Everything I do has ulterior motives that all lead back to horses and riding.  I figure that my race training will make me lighter for little Foggy-boy's rides!