Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday wishes from Honeysuckle Faire!

Happy Holidays from everyone here at Honeysuckle Faire! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sunrise to Sunset - then sick!

Yesterday I saw the sun rise as I walked Maizie to the school bus and then saw the sun set as I ran in the slushy snow at the farm while the horses munched their evening hay in the pastures. 

At midday, I rode this little implet above, sweet Foggy boy. He is always perfect and he was yesterday, demanding to go through the neighborhood. One family banged on their bay window and waved, holding up their cute kitties to us. Another friend opened the gate for me to get back into our farm. Foggy loved all the Christmas decorations in the yards and on mailboxes. What a horse - what a ride!

It was a special day - one I must have lived to the fullest because last night as Maizie and I watched our perennial favorite, Barbie Nutcracker (VHS from the dark ages that we LOVE!), I felt body aches and fever coming on.

I haven't been sick in a long time - forgot how horrid it is! Thank you, Mom, for taking care of the boys for me today! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pie-Pie, you are something else!

Yesterday this snow bunny took me through the sunny, snow covered fields on the most fun ride ever!

As we crossed over the tennis court and down a hill, I leaned far forward to hug him up and he moved into the sweetest, light and airy trot. Pie is a good mover which means he looks good at the trot and canter, but he feels even better! My body was just transported across the snow without one jiggle or jolt!

He moved lightly the entire ride, lifting his feet out of the snow, effortlessly lilting into a trot every so often on his own. He was clearly having as much fun as me. What a perfect ride. I love this horse!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Listening to Sovey

Yesterday afternoon brought a snowstorm that was a little more fierce than the one I rode Pie in on my last post. This new storm had more aggressive pelting snow crystals and made me think it would not be fun for me or the horses to go for a ride.

I did bring the boys inside for a snack and some grooming. Pie was jumping straight up in the air like a spring before I brought him in and also inside his stall. He does this when a storm is in town. That is why I was so proud of him last post because he was good for our ride. 

Once, in a storm back in December of 2010, Pie got so wound up and springy and then he started rearing and walking on his back legs. My mom and I both saw him fall over in the deep snow backwards! I never saw anything like that before - I thought horses would die if they did that. He did not turn out to be a big rearing horse, luckily, so that was a one time snowstorm occurrence. But the springs straight up from a standstill are still his favorite move and he was springy yesterday!

It was Foggy's turn to go for a ride, but I just couldn't tell if the conditions were too bad. Foggy is such a sweet, kind horse that I can't trust him to tell me if he is unhappy. He would take me all over the farm even if he was uncomfortable. 

I really had no intention of riding. I told Brian earlier that I was just going to groom. But, I am seriously addicted to riding. I had my running clothes along and knew a run in the snow would be perfect (which I did later and it was so lovely!!!) but a quick ride might be fun too. So after I brought the boys inside, I looked at Sovey and asked if he wanted to go out for a ride. I told him the whole story. I explained, holding the bridle, that I thought it was pretty out and I would love to go for a ride. But, I didn't know if it was unpleasant for a horse. I promised to listen to him and if he didn't want to go at any point, even in the beginning as I was tacking up, he could just tell me. I know him well enough to know that even out on the trail, if he is unhappy he will make that clear straightaway. I like that about him.

He was all ears and eyes and definitely seemed like he was game. So I slipped on his bridle. No problems - no resistance. Next we made our way to the forebay. Still, no reaction. Then we went into the wagonshed to the mounting block and I slipped on. He took two steps forward and backed into the mounting block! 

I jumped off and checked his back legs - they were not cut - the mounting block is wooden and I was worried he banged them badly. He was fine. I dropped the reins and he just stood there in the snow like he wanted to go. I started to double think his behavior. Had he heard something that made him back up and I didn't hear it because of all my layers? Or was he saying "no ride"? 

I lined him up again at the mounting block and got on. This time he walked out of the wagonshed and around the corner. As soon as he got out in the snow and clear of all obstacles he slowly and methodically backed up and stopped and would not move forward. Of course, this is very unusual behavior.

"Ok, Sovey, I hear you. I promised to listen and I hear you loud and clear now. I am just a stupid human who didn't get it at first, but you do not want to go out in this horizontal pelting snow for a ride. Thank you for your patience with me."

I crack up reflecting on it this morning. He first backed up quickly, dramatically, exaggerating his emotions for me so I could understand, but instead I thought he might have meant something else (what a fool I am)! So then, he slowly backed up out in the clear, dragging each foot back ridiculously slow like he was pronouncing words s-l-o-w-l-y for a daft person. Which he was.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It'll be the perfect ending of a perfect day

Pie and I had a hysterical adventure bareback and bitless in a snowstorm this afternoon. It was 26 degrees and I didn't plan on riding but it was gorgeous and blinding and white - I just couldn't pass it up!

I didn't get to the barn till 2pm after spending the entire morning in a chair in the living room opposite Maizie. We were decadently lingering over multiple cups of coffee as I worked on our Christmas card design (very late this year!) and Maizie worked on homework. Brian was on a long mountain run that normally would include Maizie, but she twisted her ankle at tennis practice on Thursday night so the weekend has been sadly one of no running for her. 

More than anything, she and I were happily enjoying our little house dressed up for Christmas. We bought and decorated our tree last night and this morning we weren't too eager to leave. 

After lunch with the holiday card design (finally) off to the printer and Maizie's homework done, we headed over to the barn. Maizie planned to help decorate my mom's tree and I was going to just groom inside the barn since a small snowstorm was churning out a few wet inches. But, when I got there, the snow was so lovely and Pie seemed eager to go, pawing as usual since it was "his turn". 

I took these photos when I was collecting the boys to go inside. I wasn't able to take any pictures on the ride - I didn't even take the phone along. Pie isn't the best horse usually in storms - he feels the change in weather conditions more than the other two horses. 

I knew he needed the exercise - he needs a ride every other day to be fully calm. It seemed to make more sense to ride bareback than with a saddle because of the snow on his back, but I knew that picture taking was out of the question. 

This one of Sovey and Foggy shows how the snow was falling fast and furiously when I arrived. 

Pie and I made our way around the farm with little problems. I talked to him the whole way. He was a tiny bit more spooky than on a perfectly sunny day, but way better than I expected. I made sure to keep my mind empty, prattling on to him with stories about Christmases past. I also relaxed my legs which was difficult because my winter riding pants have a faux leather full seat for extra grip which is amazing in a saddle, but kind of weird bareback. It grips a little too well and feels like I am attached to the horse with Stickum. I know, what am I complaining about?!! It's just that my legs have trouble moving naturally.

We wondered around through the woods and I was beaming the whole time. The snowflakes were coming horizontal - one hit me square in the back of my throat and I started coughing which made him shy! Still, it was like riding in a snow globe. Last winter I finally got all the proper riding gear so I was warm as toast and able to look around and enjoy a snowy ride without freezing! The woods were quiet, allowing us to observe many woodland creatures running here and there - it was amazing. The cardinals were darting on branches with their red incredibly vibrant in the snow. 

Then I saw footprints and first thought they were my mother's from earlier today. But, they went on trails I knew she wouldn't take. My next guess was that they belonged to our neighbor, Chris, who seems to live in our woods. He is the leprechaun-esque guy I mentioned last May who wanders around out there and is completely harmless in a woodland sprite/Stevie Winwood in Traffic/Canned Heat Goin' Up The Country sort of way. 

At the end of one trail I spied a figure standing in the brush and I yelled, "Chris" but the person just bent down, as if to hide. Even though it clearly wasn't Chris I started laughing because there is little foliage this time of year and with the snow, I could see the person perfectly well. Pie could too and in typical "I'm going to look in your windows" Pie fashion, my horse started marching right toward the crouched figure. 

I called out a warning in case he thought he was actually hiding from us - "I can totally see you!" I yelled, taking a line from one of my favorite commercials EVER. The kid stood up and walked out. He didn't have anything with him and looked scared to death as Pie frisked him by completely nuzzling him up from top to bottom. 

He said he was tracking a fox. Of course, my horrible hearing from years of too loud music through headphones made me hear, "I am trapping a fox." I went nutty, screaming about how we don't harm animals! "No one can harm animals!" I repeat fanatically. My fury made it completely clear that I would have little problem harming him, but nobody better harm animals. Just then he whispered, "I said, I was tracking a fox. I'm really interested in photography." "Oh...Nevermind," I said in my sweetest Emily Litella voice.

Pie was so involved in the conversation that he never shied or acted silly throughout the entire exchange, proving once again that your horse is always perfect when your mind is on something other than how your horse is going to fling you off. 

I rode back to the barn with the stupidest grin on my face. I doubt I will see that boy in the woods again, but I sure gave him a story to tell of the kooky lady who lives on the farm. I did learn where he lives and I've met his parents before so I'm not too worried. Poor kid seemed nice enough after I stopped screaming at him.

Here is a photo of the boys when I turned them back out after our ride. The snow had stopped but was followed by sleet. Just this second we got a text message from the school - two hour delay tomorrow!!!! Yippee!!!!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

peace on earth

Or at least peace at Honeysuckle Faire. The commingling of Instagram and Blogger was a fail so to keep the peace and the fun horsey posts on this blog readable, for now I will observe the separation of church and state, um, Blogger and Instagram.

Last night Brian, Maizie, and I started to decorate for Christmas in our house. We are usually in Florida for Christmas (we are planning to go a little later this year) so our Pennsylvania decorations haven't been pulled out for seven years! 

This one above is my favorite. I bought this horsey door jingle bell ringer at a tack shop during the time I didn't have horses. Like now, I was crazy, horse obsessed, but I just didn't have time to be a horse person because Maizie was little and needed a good mommy (as opposed to one who is only thinking about how to get to the barn to ride her horsey boys). This purchase was my promise to myself that I would have horses again one day and every jingle made me smile with the dream that I am actually living right now! (Insert happy shriek!) 

Our sweet Schpanken Danken kitty cat, who is now in peaceful kitty cat heaven, used to ring this ornament every time she wanted outside during the holidays. I kept it on the front door long after Christmas just for her. 

Happy December holiday bustling! I am living proof that the the sweet sugar plum horsey visions that dance in your head during this season really do come to be! Just look at my adorable Sovey Plum Fairy.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Something new!

As we head into the holiday season, happily hurried with all the bustling around, I am commingling my blog posts and my Instagram feed. I think this might simplify life a little while still sharing all the photos and fun! But this change is going to totally wig out my mom so...time out for instructions for her:  Mom, look up above this photo - see the cute little "Instagram" in retro font? If you hover over that it will say "view on Instagram" click and then you can pop on over and read the photo descriptions. Or, if you really want to see all the photos - horsey and otherwise just click on the blue "julietteober" at the top left of this photo. After you see all the photos as a group you can click on any of them and they will enlarge. Enjoy! (Love you Mom!)

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Sovereign reluctantly endures my hug, shooting a sideways glance at my mom as she snaps our photo on Saturday's ride. Poor Sovey despises being touched but allows affection when I am on his back. He would completely flatten me if I attempted to love him up from the ground. His silent motto is "I love you. Don't touch me!"

This one is of Foggy grazing on Black Friday after our ride. The day was as sunny as Foggy's disposition. I can hug and kiss him without any worry. He is a happy, free spirit full of fun and mischief.

My shadow in this picture cracks me up because I look like a Pilgrim! My winter riding gear is so perfect and warm so I am not complaining one bit but the shadow outline reminds me of the Pilgrim women we had to color in elementary school around this time of year. Oh, what a joyful Black Friday! I am a lucky Pilgrim in the fresh air and sunshine after a great horsey ride!

Finding both of these photos in my phone this evening made me laugh out loud and also reminded me of something Maizie told us on a run recently.

Brian and I run with Maizie on days she has off school. Our family conversations are diverse. We discuss anything that pops in our heads - politics, sports, music, spirituality, school subjects, and philosophy. On one run a few days ago Maizie told us that she's been listening to a song by David Bowie and the lyrics remind her of Brian and me as parents. She started by saying that the song is similar to Crackerbox Palace, but Bowie's lyrics are more to the point. 

When we got back to the van she played the song for us. The song title is "Kooks" so, of course, she had our attention. When your 15 year old daughter tells you that a song called Kooks reminds her of you, you sit up and take notice. Click photo above for song.

I don't consider myself a "kook" really at all, but I do think some of the philosophies I share with Brian might be unusual now - or not necessarily popular - YET! But stay tuned...

That is at the heart of what propels me forward in my horse life with this blog and the horse writing I've been doing lately. I feel an urgency to celebrate this style which safely allows the daily rides and hopefully inspires others to find their horsey bliss. Too many times I meet women with a faraway look in their eyes because the horsey love they imagined is not what is happening in reality. 

I spent some time talking to "traditional riders" over the holiday and I realized midway through my description of my Thanksgiving morning ride that nothing I am doing with horses is understood or in any way respected. I attempted to share how funny Pie was when a neighbor threw open her upstairs bathroom window, water dripping off her showered hair, to yell "Happy Thanksgiving!" at 8:30 Thursday morning. Pie was determined to figure out which window she was in. I told my listeners of his unwillingness to budge as he studied each window in the rear of their house till he looked up and finally saw her waving. His need to find her was just adorable and something I will remember forever but it sounds like a stupid juvenile story to "serious" riders.

Their own Thanksgiving morning ride was called off because the schooling ring was too frozen and hard.

Oh, I am so grateful to be a kook!