Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Stills

I am going to try some Sunday Stills. I hope I am doing this correctly. It looks like I just have to take some stills based on a topic. This week fruit.


I am so excited to have Kinsey at home. It was like I bought her today.

First of all. She loads so well. I love a horse that loads. There is nothing as horrible as thoughts of, will my horse get on the trailer or not. Kinsey was a champ. Like everything she needed a few seconds to check the trailer out and then she just hopped on.

As every good trailer ride should be, it was uneventful. I rode over there and back to show the way, and normally I am not very loquacious with people I don't know well. We talked about Ray Hunt, and a variety of other horsey topics and the trip went by quickly.

Once home she was a little jiggy. I was hoping that she would just walk like a nice girl. I still don't trust my wrist 100%. My barn is behind the house, no actual walkway, just head off through the snow. I walk this way a lot so the snow is a bit more packed down. In the back of the house is a large play construction that has been turned into a goat pen. As we rounded the back of the house and they goat came into view Kinsey stopped dead.

She started at those goats, who were bleating to me. Little black and white creatures making strange noises and leaping about. Kinsey stopped and looked, almost like a donkey, she thought about it for a moment and then tentatively walked past them. Good Girl!

Meanwhile out in the pasture there were 3 minis, 2 donkeys, and a big black horse wonder who the hell just came on their property. I have my property in two parts, a dry lot and behind that a larger pasture. Right now the pasture is covered in snow. Before I went to retrieve Kinsey I put all the other equines out in the pasture. Now those little ponies and one big black horse were prancing up and down the fence line. Let me tell you, Abby is really pretty when she prances.

Kinsey took all the sights and smells in time. Once in the paddock she ran to the fence. Squeals cantering down the fence line. Stop. Sniff. Squeal and canter up the fence line. Kinsey, who had not been turned out today, started prancing and cantering around the paddock. She is a beautiful mover when loose, just beautiful. There were a few moments I was worried about my fence as Abby spun and bucked, but it held up fine.

Finally after an hour or so, everyone went back to normal. Still a little fence play but nobody seems to hate anyone, that is always a good thing. I put Sophie, donkey, in with Kinsey.

What happens next? Well Kinsey and I are going to do some ground work. Then I may send her over to R. to be evaluated. If she looks like she is not the horse for me, I'll sell her. Same thing for Abby. Time will tell for right now.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mary Jane's Farm

I have been told that I was born in the wrong century. I love to sew, knit, and do other crafts. I adore gardening and making my own soap. I hate certain big box stores and lots of chemicals. So on that whim I wanted to share a magazine and group I belong too.

Mary Jane's Farm is a awesome magazine on organic country living. Mary Jane Butter's started the magazine and then started a chat room for like minded women to exchange ideas on living a more simple life. What grew out of all that was the the Farm Girl Sisterhood. My mom and I joined the sisterhood for kicks and we are starting our own chapter too.

The sisterhood is like Girl Scouts for grown ups. You even get to earn merit badges! Okay it sounds a little hokey, but it is fun. I earned my first merit badge in "Horse Dreams." It was not difficult to do for me, but it was still fun. I just did the beginner level. I need to get the book “The Soul of a Horse,” by Joe Camp for the next level. I got a little merit badge to sew on my jacket or purse or whatever. Other merit badges include "Know Your Food," "In the Garden," and "knitting."

I won't share all my merit badges on here. Ones that are related to food and gardening will be on my other blog, My Straw Bale Garden . But I really think it is a great group and wanted to share.

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Just an aside. . . . Kinsey is coming home today!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thinking Back

*warning: this post contains what some make conceive of as anthropomorphism, but I believe that as we get to know our animals we do have a sixth sense about what they are trying to tell us.*

After my fall I lay on the ground wondering if I broke my back. I did the mental check: legs, arms, back, head. Everything seemed okay until I tried to get up. Nausea washed over me. I laid down again. Where was Abby? I had no idea. Sitting up I realized my right arm hurt, it looked a little funny too. Damn it!

I managed to get to my feet and keep my cookies down. Abby stood calmly eating grass across the street. Please. . . please just stay there, I thought to myself as I walked across the street to get her. I tried to grab the reins with my right arm and pain streaked up my arm again. Damn it, she broke her reins. I really liked these reins too. Obviously I am not thinking too clearly. Leading Abby, I just kept hoping that she was going to be good.

Back at the barn I put her right in the paddock. I grabbed the bridle and tried to figure out how to get the throat latch off, screw the nose band. Too many buckles and my right arm was becoming more and more useless. Again, not thinking clearly, I had the bridle in my hand and the saddle still on Abby. She is in the paddock loose, luckily she sticks close to me. I had to figure out how to take off the saddle. I managed and throw it on the ground. Abby spooked a few steps. Easy girl, but she runs off to join the minis. No matter she is safe, now I can figure out what to do with my arm.

When I finally got back to the house, I knew there was something wrong and my arm hurt like hell. Keeping myself from passing out or throwing up was getting harder.

We made it to the hospital. X rays, questions, "Was this an accident?" I sure hope my horse didn't plan this. "Do you feel safe at home?" Not from my horse. At least I still had a sense of humor, not a good one, but it was there. Finally drugs. That was the best part. After a cast was put on and we went home I had my ride drive me around to the barn. After all I still had to feed the critters.

The next morning I went out to feed. Abby was being her normal self, pawing at the gate for hay. I stood back and looked at her. "You hurt me. You did this Abby." I pointed at my arm and looked right at her. "You hurt me." Abby look right back. She backed away from the gate and put her head down. Awww, now how could I still be mad at her after she said she was sorry.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Driving Lesson # 3 and getting ready for Kinsey

My driving lesson was a week ago, but it was a good one. I harnessed Bill up. It went really well. Then we did some ground driving exercises. Getting to know Bill is so much fun. He is sort of a grumpy old man.

I was able to do all the harnessing myself. I really was worried about that as my wrist is still sore sometimes and I really have a hard time twisting it back to put the bit in. Bill was a good boy though and took the bit really well. I remembered where all the rest of the straps went too!

Bill apparently prefers to be worked in his halter, but was fine in the bridle. Apparently Bill was one of those unfortunate souls who was just putting into a harsher and harsher bit while he continued to be difficult. Luckily for him R. has him back in a snaffle again and going very well. We actually practiced pulling some stuff too. I know that I will need another person to do with with Ike and I just need to find a nice teen aged girl to come over and help me out.

After the lesson R was showing me some of the stuff he has been working on with Bill. R. put Bill in the middle of the arena, told him to stay. Then R. climbed up on a railing and called Bill over. Bill came up to the rail and cozied up to the rail, close enough that if you wanted to you could climb on board you could. It was really quite impressive. I would have loved to have Hope do that when I was a kid.
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Kinsey will be coming home soon. I have been getting ready for her. I am enclosing an area so she will be separate from the rest of the herd for awhile. Let them get to know each other over the fence. I got another load of hay, happiness is knowing you have enough hay. Oh and I bought lottery tickets last night to be able to afford to care for her and send her to training. lol I'll let you know how that works out for us.

It will be really nice having Kinsey at home. I just have to call the guy that is going to haul her for me and get that all taken care of too. Soon!!

Friday, February 12, 2010


"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving" Albert Einstein

Life for me for the past few years has brought me to understand that balance is so important. Balance not just on the horse horse, but off the horse as well. I am sure I am not the only one. We all have to balance working, playing, family, friends, and our health and well being. I don't know about you but I suck at juggling.

I got a little off balance for a few weeks. I did, I was about to fall off the horse. I was so bummed about Kinsey, I was not sticking to exercise or what I was eating. I was not sure, still am not sure what I am gong to do about all these horses. I was looking at the ground. We all know what happens if we are looking at the ground while we ride. . . that is where we end up?

Same off the horse. I just realized I was walking around with my head down, my shoulders slumped. As an old riding instructor used to tell me, look where you are going. If you are looking at the ground, that is where you will go. I was looking at the items in life that were not working instead of looking where I want to go.

Don' t worry, I got my eyes off the ground and straight between the horses ears again. I have lost weight again, I am exercises again, and I am getting ideas of what to do with the horses. So much is looking up I really have no reason to complain.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Diving lesson #2

I have not talked that much about fear lately and what I am doing to over come it. I have been frustrated by recent developments and even entertained thoughts of not riding. I am not going to let these little set backs stop me though. I will ride again. When? Well that depends on a few factors.

One of these factors is a new fear that has cropped up due to the recent . In Jane Savoie's book, It's Not Just About the Ribbons, she talks about reasonable fear. I mean we are climbing abroad a 1,000 lb animal. We have realistic fears and unrealistic fears. For most of us, fearing that we can not hold on to the reins is not realistic. Most of us have no difficulty grabbing the reins and holding on. With my wrist this has moved from an unrealistic fear to a realistic one. I can not make a full tight fist with my right hand. If the horse really wants to pull the rein out of my hand, I can't keep a tight enough grip.

My fear that a horse could pull the reins out of my hands came true during this past driving lesson. Bill got a little fresh and the reins kept slipping through my right hand. I had to reach over with my left hand and hold them. As I could only really hold with the left hand, Bill stated turning left. It may not sound difficult but grabbing the right rein with the left hand and pulling the horse around is a little more difficult that it sounds. I should add here that Bill was in a rope halter so I didn't have the added benefit of a bit on my side. R. showed me a different way to hold the reins so I had more control.

( will insert picture here)

After I was able to hold the reins in a manner that gave me more control R. complemented me on my hands. I have had trainers tell me in the past that I have good hands, and also a good seat, so isn't it ironic that I am still fearful of riding? After explaining the whole sordid tale of my decline from fearless rider to fearful one, R. told me he had a confidence building horse that is used with riders that have issues. If I took riding lessons with him I would ride that horse. Score! I have a horse to ride.

When I start out the lesson this week. I was just happy that I had found a driving instructor to help me learn to drive safely. Thoughts were spinning around that I might just drive from now on. Now I have possibilities again. I have a horse to get my confidence back on. I am getting my little guy ready to drive. All in all things are starting to look up again!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Those cute things horses do!

I stopped out to see Kinsey today. I have not gotten out in the past two days so it was really needed. It was a very nice day, bright, if not sunny. The temperatures are in that comfortable range, well comfortable if you are used to the Midwest.

I walked in to the barn as the stalls were being cleaned. The crew at the barn is very friendly and always up for a good chat. We greeted each other cheerily. "Oh look who's little ears just pricked up." I looked over to Kisney's stalls. Her little ears were just pricked and look very happy to see me. Those few words, those warm eyes, those furry little pricked ears; it just warmed my heart.

For some reason Kinsey's purple plaid halter looks really nice on her red dun face. Why? I don't know, I know that red heads don't normally look good in purple but I think she is stunning. Anyway I put her purple halter on, and lead her out into the not sunny, but very bright, day. One of the people who work at the barn, I'll call her Fran, was coiling up hose. It doesn't lay flat on the ground, I am always so nervous that Kinsey is going to snag a toe on it and spook. I have her step across it so carefully, one step at a time. Linda Tellington~Jones would be proud.

Fran was in a talkative mood and we chatted about horses, showing, Kinsey's conformation, and various stuff like that. We chatted it up for at least 5 minutes. What was Kinsey doing during all this time. Standing there. Just standing like an ol' cow horse after working a herd. She was doing me quite proud.

As we talked I reached over and pet Kinsey. Then the most miraculous thing happened. Some of Kinsey's hair came off. I grabbed a little and tugged, it pulled out with ease. "Look at this," I spoke to Fran, "she's shedding, spring is coming!" It was just a second happy surprise.

Finally I pulled Kinsey away and we headed to the indoor. I let the girl lose and she took off like a rocket. I mean, as soon as she was lose she took off bucking and a farting. I am not normally into bathroom humor but bucking farting horses just make me laugh. I guess it is because they are just so full of themselves they explode. She ripped around the arena like nobody's business, doing her best Arab impersonation with her tail stuck straight up in the air. That was the third cute thing she did. I was just so happy to watch her run and buck.

I came home and ground drive Ike. We have been working on steering, whoa, and stand. Ike is broke to drive but has not done it in awhile so we are just reviewing the basics.

Ike has to stand. It is so very important that a driving horse stands when he is told to stand. Don't want your horse running off as you are getting in the cart! So here is Ike standing, next to a lot of hay, his dinner actually. I was so proud that he was able to do this with out much fuss. I'm not saying that he didn't need some reminding to not eat the hay, but all in all he stood like he should.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime

A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime: A poem

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or
a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you
will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . It is
usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have
come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you
with guidance and support, to aid you physically,
emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a
godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason
you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an
inconvenient time, this person will say or do something
to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our
desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you
sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON . . .
Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount
of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things
you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional
foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the
person, and put what you have learned to use in all
other relationships and areas of your life. It is said
that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Author Unknown

I wonder if the same could be said of horses too? I think so.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Goals

Last week:
1) lost 2 more pounds. Nope! Not even close. We all have these weeks :)
2) start How to Get Along with Difficult People. I am a people pleaser and I am trying to be more assertive. I find it hard to stand up for my rights and not let others control me. So hopefully I will get some tips. Great book, but more on that later.
3) ground drive Ike 4 times this week. It is cold out there darn it, but I am trying. Three times! It got cold a few days and I got lazy a few other days.
4) come up with some ideas to help poor Kinsey. She is a tormented soul. Kinsey and I actually had a good week. I got to see her three times and we had some good play! She actually targeted a plastic bag, one of her fearful objects. I am finding that any new object scare Kinsey. Today it was a purple box. Okay a very large purple box that was in front of her stall and had not been in front of her stall before.

This week:
1) Get back on track with Weight Watchers.
2) This month I am ready to read: For the Good of the Horse by Mary Wanless. So for this week my goal is to read 1/4 of it.
3) Have driving lesson and drive Ike 4 times.
4) Get Kinsey to target reliably. She has few other things I am working on also.

I went out to see Kinsey. She was very happy to get out, except for seeing the aforementioned big purple tack box. Brave girl eventually targeted it, along with a plastic bag on it. That was much later.

First we did a little grooming and then headed to the indoor. Unfortunately that was occupied. Someone was getting a lesson and they were doing some small jumps, really didn't want to lunge in the middle of that. It was a nice day so we went for a walk around the hay field.

Kinsey is very well behaved on the lead, obviously taught to stay out of the human's space. I worry about how she was taught that though. She is very nervous if you are at her side or anywhere except for in front of her. I find these horses that must face you no matter what really annoying. I should be able to stand at my horse's side without her fearing that I am going to hit her in the butt with a rope ya know?

Anyway, we walked and talked. Had a good conversation too. Down along the road Kinsey startled. Ears pricked, didn't pull on me though, I will give her that. I think if I was on top we would have been half way across the field in the blink of an eye though. I looked across the road and saw nothing. We walked on. Kinsey was very good about walking on. As she kept her eyes across the road, I kept my eyes on, her waiting for her to relax. She did and as I was telling her how silly she was, I saw what she had seen. Two coyotes running through the field. On long legs, galloping silently over the snow and into the woods beyond.

It was a beautiful sight.