Friday, November 22, 2013

So I hit the road and made my getaway

Pie was exceptional today! Most days are really good, but today was an extra special one. Pie was interested in going off the property and our first stop was to the printing press next door. There we met a woman who was clearly HORSE CRAZY. She practically melted in the parking lot with nearly visible love hearts floating up off her head. She couldn't even talk because she was so smitten with the big boy. I asked him to walk up and I gave her a treat to hand him. She was just giggling and almost crying about how glad she was that she decided to go to the printer's today. I've been there - we all have - just completely in love with horses and one appears out in public where you least expect it. I turn to mush and this woman did too. Pie was enjoying the hugs and near weeping. He knows that he is a giant, beautiful breath of loveliness.

Next, we wound through our woods. The sky was grey and pink and yellow and rainy and not rainy and actually warmish at 49 degrees today so it was amazingly pretty in there for a dreary day. Then he turned left and marched off through the neighborhood. I think his brush with that person made him seek out more humans. We didn't find any, but it still was fun walking through the streets on a sleepy Friday.

I dismounted to open a gate and then I couldn't find a suitable place to get back on. I spied a white, five gallon bucket in "George Corner's" yard and borrowed that. (George lives at the corner and has an awfully long last name so we put him in our phones as George Corner and it just stuck.) Fortunately I was trying out Pie's new "roomy" girth so I had a saddle and was able to (barely) get my foot up high enough to reach the stirrup. 

We lingered around there for a bit then up a hill and around the loud turnpike loop. Pie was strutting because he knew he was such a good boy. Earlier I had worked with him on the "ears up Mother Brodie" command using clicker. Kate over at A Year With Horses wisely reminded me to try clicker with Foggy. Lately, Pie has been making nasty faces when I brush his foretop. I am sure this is from all the dreaded burr extractions. So while grooming, I clicked and treated "ears up" and then got it from him over and over before our ride. My "good boys" verbal proclamations were many and hearty so Pie was feeling robust and happy before we even headed out. The meeting with the horse-nutty woman and the good standing for my remounting had him on cloud nine. He was obviously extremely proud of himself today and he really stepped out looking this way and that walking very tall and intentional. I was equally proud, with a face full of smiley, moon-faced love when we got back to the barn. Horses can just turn your whole world inside-out! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

But a different world to sing upon

Little Foggy took me out through the fields today. It was chilly but clear and he was perfect as usual. 

If you click the photo above, you can see a quick video of us riding from our farm over to a neighbor's field.

He is so tiny compared to the other boys. When I dismount, I forget how short he is and I expect to keep falling and then I hit the ground so soon!

He's my sweet little boy who allowed me to pick the burrs out of his ear before our ride! Hooray!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Frustrated Incorporated

Oh, I am so mad at myself right now. Today was supposed to be a fun day and I blew it. Nothing super bad resulted, but I could have done much better with Foggy.

Today was rainy, misty, and dark - very dark. The clouds were depressingly thick which made it seem like it was evening all day. But the temperatures were warm and when I brought the horses into the barn around 2pm I envisioned a good ride or maybe even two.

Pie had a foretop full of burdock burrs which annoyed me because of the time it takes to extract them. I had worked through a tough bunch at the same location yesterday and today he was waiting with more. Grrrr. But, then I saw Foggy. He had a huge blob of burrs in the sweet, long hairs that stick out of his left ear. Oh no - poor honey!

I got to work right away on Pie and allowed Foggy to relax in his stall. Pie's burrs took 20 minutes to remove but he was fairly good about the process. I ended up taking him outside to graze to get the last wad of burrs that were buried deep under the first. He deserved the grazing after all my tugging on the ratty knots and at least I could work on the worst part while he nibbled.

Then I started in on Foggy and that's when I totally messed up. Right from the start Foggy was having none of it. I thought this was unusual because he is the most patient horse I have. He stands for anything and allows me to treat wounds and burrs anywhere, but not that ear. I brush his ears out each day with zero difficulty. 

A few weeks ago he had burrs in his foretop that were driving him nuts and he allowed me to slowly extract each one. But today he was determined that this ear was off limits! The burrs weren't that deep but he twisted and turned and avoided my help over and over. I tried everything but nothing worked. 

Foggy doesn't actually bite or get nasty to defend himself but his displeasure was more than apparent. He gnaws his teeth in nervous gestures - not at me - at the air. Then he turned his neck to avoid my fingers. I soon realized that it was because it was this ear. The left one. I don't know if Foggy was twitched at the track but this would be the ear they would use if he was. 

Of course I never yank at his halter or slap or yell at him - no worries there, but I just would not give up. Ugh. That is what makes me so mad now. I was calm and quiet and slow and patient, but I was stupidly so determined. I tried this chair, this ladder, outside grazing, inside eating. Nothing worked and all I did was worry him. 

I pride myself that I listen to my horses. I am quiet and slow with them, but so what? Enough was enough early on and I kept on trying. I just was so sure that he was annoyed by the burrs and I was equally sure that my kindness would prevail. 

Foggy didn't notice my kindness, my quiet voice, my patience. Sometimes you just have to stop even when you believe you are doing all the right things. But it took me too long to get that message.

Finally, I turned them all back out. No ride. I cried frustrated tears and said every choice word I know back in the barn out of earshot of Pie and Foggy. (Mom and I joke that Sovey can handle colorful language but Pie and Foggy are too innocent for such indelicate speech. Naturally, we would never swear at Sovey but he is "old" enough to hear an occasional rant about world injustices.)

Today is November 17th. I met dear Foggy three years ago today at the racetrack. I have such vivid, special memories of that day and I think that is why I was so stupidly tenacious about trying to get those burrs out. I wanted to ride, I wanted to help him, I wanted to show him how much I love him - today of all days! But, the bottom line is that just letting him be after my initial attempt would have been so much more loving, more meaningful. 

So the burrs remain. I guess I have to find the patience over the next few weeks to allow his real mother, good ol' Mother Nature, to take them out in her time.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Any way the wind blows

Three little pigs. Well, just one really. Poor Pie got a new girth in the mail today because his former one, size 54" was, ahem, a bit snug. Oh no. I hardly ever use a saddle with him, but with winter approaching I thought it might be smart to get one that fits his adorable roundness.

The last three days have been spent riding around the farm and buildings while workers ripped down and re-roofed a house on the property. I am so proud and happy to report that everyone kept their heads and my rides have been effortless throughout the loud nail guns, metal ladders, and blaring radios. 

The first day a roofer wanted to discuss shingle color with me. I was grazing Foggy after our ride and the man waved his arms and motioned for me to come over where he had samples assembled on the driveway. Foggy in tow, we trudged through deep, crunchy leaves, then across the tennis court and finally through ladders beside a loud compressor to the shingle area. Foggy walked with me on a loose lead, like he is a human companion or a well-behaved dog, never hesitating a second. As the man described the options, Foggy followed his arm gestures and listened intently as if he, too, was taking it all in. The roofer would occasionally bend down and point to specific shingles and Foggy would get in closer with his eyes and nose to study the shingle sample in question. The combined nonchalance of the man and Foggy was really quite poignant. Neither acted as if the other's presence was unusual in any way. 

I guess I don't get out much. Maybe horses are always part of daily conversations. Oh, I am just crazy in love with my boys! They are unbelievably sensible - and cute too.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A new day, a new way, I knew I should see it along...

Amazing ride today on Sovereign. I had vowed not to go to the barn at all. Overhead-powerline-men were there on Tuesday gleefully, aggressively cutting down trees. Ugh. After last spring's assault on our woods from the pipeline people, I could not take the sound of chainsaws and decided to spare myself the anguish altogether today.

But mom told me at noon that the coast was clear - they had finished. The day was warm (65 degrees!) and gorgeous and rain is eminent so I quickly dropped everything and rushed to the barn. Sovereign was the very boy to lift my spirits with a brilliant yellow-leafed bareback ramble that went on forever. 

Mom walked along and we three had great fun. We (the humans) had a tough week at Honeysuckle Faire so we needed fun!

C,S,N,Y was singing "Carry On" in the car on the way to ride. Would our horses bring us happiness? Yes!!!!

Sovey and I hide our feet in the deep leaf carpet after our ride. While we were out on the trail my mom told me a hysterical story of a recent adventure she had and we laughed full belly laughs till we cried. Much needed! Fresh air, horses, golden leaves - that is all it takes to make it all go right. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

la la la

This morning the leaves are falling like snowflakes - yellow and red and gold. Yesterday morning Foggy took me out on a typically fabulous ride. He is a sweet boy who never cares if I am using the camera. I drop the reins and fiddle away with the video. If you click the photo above you can see a small clip of our ride.

November has been as lovely as October. We've been saying around our house lately, "Shout out to God!" Who could complain? The scenery is just magnificent.

Here's some brotherly love last evening in the pastures. Click photo for more.