Sunday, July 22, 2012

May I come along?

Here is the cute Pie-Pie boy yesterday afternoon. If you click the photo above you will see a short video of him being adorable and nodding when I ask him if he wants to go for a ride. Our heat wave was ushered out with a few days of storms and rain. I think the gang loved being out in the storms. They hadn't seen rain in weeks and now their coats and tails are so shiny! 

I ended up riding all three horses yesterday. I didn't ride them far because the bugs were bad, but to ride all three is still good for me. I usually run out of energy after two rides. I put them in the barn around 11 am. I do this each day so the two horses that I don't ride can rest and munch hay and regroup. Most days, Foggy snuggles down in his stall for these rest times. 

I rode Pie first with his saddle. It was cool and I knew we could trot a little. Here is his map and data.

I love this info! I have to remember to use it though. I've had a couple of rides when I had my phone with me but forgot to set the app to track the ride. Pie's rides are slow and we stopped to talk to neighbors many times. Pie is very social!

Here is Sovey's head from my next ride. If you click the photo above you can see some video of the ride. When I returned with Pie, Foggy was sleeping and Sovey gave me the quiet nicker that means, "Is it my turn?" so out we went bareback. Here is his map and data below:

When Sovereign and I returned, Foggy was awake and eager. I started grooming him and thought that would be enough, but his little doe eyes looked to me like he wanted to do more, so I slipped on the bridle and rode out bareback. He wanted to cross over to the church, his new favorite haunt. It had just rained, but I tested his footprints. He is the dainty one who never makes a mark so we went over. We were not there long and I thought we could ride more on our own property. I had to dismount to cross the street on the way home because there were a million cars for some reason. After we got back over, I just walked him back to the barn. You can see from his map and data that Foggy walks twice as fast as Sovereign and twice as fast as Pie trots!

What a fun day on the boys. I think today I am only going to ride one. I am big into quality and riding all three in the summer is just a little rushed because I always have my Maizie girl waiting at home for me. She finished up her USTA season on Wednesday with some great matches at Sectionals. Here is a photo of her in action.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Follow my way

Above is a screen shot of the ride I had today on Pie. This was captured from the Endomondo app that I learned about from Kristen at Sweet Horse's Breath. Thanks Kristen!!!! She had done a post about this technology back in March and I was drooling. I could not believe how cool that was, but I didn't have any way to do that with my antiquated phone. I still haven't figured out how to transfer the info to the blog correctly so I just took a screen shot. If you click on the link above you can see the real info of our ride.  

Until recently, my family had been hopelessly left behind when it came to cell phone and smart phone technology. My husband, Brian, doesn't like cell phones so he doesn't own one. His argument, which I can totally understand, is that cell phones interrupt real life at every turn.  A decade or so ago my father asked us what we would do if we ever had an emergency while traveling. Brian held up his running shoes as his answer. When our van broke down on I-95 soon after and we all had to hoof it to the nearest town to phone AAA, my parents could take no more so they bought me a cell phone. It was a flip phone and did have a camera. I've used that trusty device for most of the photos on my blog of the horses and our rides. 

My father passed away in 2009 and my mom and I never updated our phones. Recently, though, we both started to see and hear about all the great things smart phones can do. My mom's friends all had one and I was completely blown away by the photos and videos I was seeing on horse blogs, not to mention apps like the one above on Kristen's blog. And, dear, sweet, quiet Maizie has never had a cell or texting capabilities with her friends. So, after much research we settled on three iPhones for mom, Maizie, and me. 

We got Otterbox Defender covers for our time with the horses and then we started shooting videos and taking a zillion photos. It has been great! Today's ride was my first attempt at using this GPS app. And, obviously, if you study the data above, you will know that something is amiss. Yes, cutie Pie-Pie did take me 2.15 miles, but there would be no way that our max speed was 24.3 mph!!!!! We trotted, but come on! I don't think Pie could go that fast at a gallop. He shied once and it happened around the time it says we hit that speed, but would a shy actually register as that fast? Whatever the case, I love that it maps our route and keeps track of the distance. 

I also have been practicing shooting some videos. If you click the photo, above, you can see the boys racing in the pasture the other day. This was taken in the afternoon of the day I rode Pie in his halter. You can see how silly they get when they play. At one point, Sovereign jumps straight up in the air. The audio had my mom and Maizie talking about him being a "Bucking Bronco" but it didn't sound like they were saying "Bucking" (you can imagine what it sounded like) so I added music - Lightnin' Hopkins. YouTube puts ads on before it starts, so just click "skip ad" (this little advice is for my mom).

And if you click the photo, above, of Foggy, you can see a video of him nestled down napping, complete with my annoying baby talk. I know the serious horse world is anti-baby talk, but when I get around horses it just flies out of mouth. Sorry. 

After my ride this morning I came home for lunch and then Brian had to go to the barn to work on the farmhouse a little. I tagged along and snuck in a grooming session with Foggy and a bareback ride on Sovey. Sovereign positioned himself under an apple tree with me aboard. I picked apples and he gobbled. It was great fun on a 97 degree day!

Update!  Kristen helped me add the smaller images from the ride today with the stats. Thanks Kristen!

Friday, July 13, 2012

everything of beauty that you see

Yesterday morning I decided to ride Pie in just his halter. Here he is in the barn before we headed out. I hooked two green leadlines to his halter and then tied them together. I ride Sovereign like this a lot, but I usually use the bitless bridle with Pie. Pie did not want to go out of the barn like he was telling me that I forgot to put his bridle on him.

Pie was very good for our ride. I knew he would be. He is a super sweet horse. He is very serious about trying to do his best at all the times. We stayed on the property but we rode through the woods and around the big field. I really don't feel like I am lacking control in the halter, but we only walked. I will have to try to trot next time. (Pie is getting a little plump so a few minutes of trotting might be in order anyway.) As far as side to side movement, though, Pie responds to my seat and legs so I don't need the bitless bridle for that.

Here he is getting a well-deserved carrot bite. Good boy, Pie! Next, I rode Sovey in his halter too. He was equally good, but he always is perfect to ride. I rode him to my mother's house and she was talking with her hands like she was conducting an orchestra. Sovey was following the movement with his head and making the cutest faces!

Today is Foggy's turn for a ride. He is a little bird. Of my three boys, Foggy is the easiest to ride and handle. Foggy is the type of horse that allows you to fool yourself. If I owned him first, I would have thought I was such an accomplished horsewoman without really knowing anything. He does everything you ask right away and without any problems. Riding him is like riding a bike. It takes Pie and Sovey to bring me back down to earth and remind me daily that I will always have something to learn from horses!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Little one

Last evening I joined the boys in their favorite pasture. Click the photo above to see the video. This morning Foggy and I had a perfect ride. Sigh. The flies are horrific, but summer is still...well, you know, fleeting.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pie goes to church!

Foggy, making me laugh in the pasture

Our farm is directly across from a busy, gigantic church and a loud auto auction. The auction used to be a limestone Howard Johnson's restaurant that served turnpike travelers and the church used to be a lovely cornfield. Both were sold in the 1980's and our bucolic existence was forever altered.

Before the monsoon year we had in 2011, I'd often ride Pie and Sovereign over to the church and across their big field to a small township road. My boys are barefoot and I only ride if it is dry. I am also careful to return to pick up manure if necessary. I never got to ride Foggy over there mainly because of the rain and because I rarely ride him with a saddle. I don't really like going off the property when I am on bareback. Last week, though, I was on bareback and there was little traffic so he and I popped over there for a long outing heading west. He was his typical perfect "Foggy doggy" boy. It is like riding a large, sweet dog - no shies, no silly behavior - only happy fast, forward walking with sincere interest and palpable enjoyment by him. His investigative habits are adorable. I think all horses love seeing knew things and Foggy's thrill is apparent (especially when I have to pull him back home at the end of the ride).

The auto auction uses the church grounds on Thursdays to park cars and obviously the church parking lot and grass is full on Sundays. The other days of the week the field is empty so I try to time our trips across for those days. The only problem with this system is that I invariably never know what day of the week it is. I have a serious wiftiness about the days of the week. I always know the date - numbers are my friends, but the actual days allude me. Therefore, I just look to see if there are any cars over there before I ride.

I threw on Pie's bridle a few days ago and we headed out toward our woods bareback. We usually stop at my mom's house so she can give Pie apples and carrots (because, you know, he is so svelte, ahem, and needs sustenance for his long journey). For some reason, my mom didn't see us arrive and Pie started looking around and walking west like he wanted to go over to the church. He hasn't been there in a long time, but there weren't any cars parked so Pie and I crossed the road. The weirdest thing is that Pie chose to walk on the exact same route as Foggy had taken like they had "discussed" Foggy's adventure! I thought that was funny. 

As we were heading back home I walked Pie up to a high ridge near the church entrance so we could safely see the entire road to cross back over to our farm. Just then, a long line of cars started lining up on the road to turn into the church! I could not believe it. I could see the passengers clearly and they were all dressed up. Oh, no. It was Sunday morning! I must have come to the barn so early to avoid the heat that I unknowingly beat the church crowd. But, now, here we were, BIG as you please, right at the entrance of their church. Pie has to stare into each car which makes me giggle, but also added to the uncomfortable impertinence of our act. I saw amused men at the wheel and kids in the backseat with mouths open wide. The only people who actually looked annoyed were the women. Most gave me a sour glare. I told myself that they were just feeling a little confined in their nylons when their inner girl was screaming for them to ride too.

As we stood there on the grass by the only entrance, I felt like Pie and I were one of those gigantic statues on a battlefield. I prayed he wouldn't lift his tail and deposit a manure offering. Finally, the cars stopped coming and we were able to cross back over. I rode Foggy next and he attempted to pull me over to the church, but I said NO WAY!