Sunday, December 27, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year!

Yes, the most wonderful time of the year has finally arrived!!

Christmas is finally over and life can get right back to normal. No more running around to visit gads of people, no more having tons of fatty delicious foods taunting me and no more massive throngs of irritable irrational angry people crowding the stores with their happy Christmas spirit.

Ah, delightful.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

If I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

Sometimes I wonder if ignorance really is bliss. I have pondered this before, and may have even posted about it, but it came to mind again recently and so I got to pondering it all over again.

The thing that made me think of it was when a friend (you know who you are!) made a comment on a forum about the "safety police". Hehe. These are the helpful folks who creep out of the internet woodwork to tell you why the fun thing you are doing is horribly dangerous. Yes, they have your best interest at heart, usually, but they still manage to suck all the fun out of a good time. And sometimes it really isn't something worth sticking their nose in to.

The more I think about it the more I miss "the good old days"... the days when I didn't have visions of starved horses and inbred dogs in my head. The days when I didn't feel like ripping in to people who let their cats pop out random kittens left and right, etc. But by the same token I am glad I know these things.

On the other hand, there are things I miss about pre-internet days. I miss showing off a picture of my horse and not feeling obligated to explain it was two days before my trimmer was out, that is why their feet look a little long... or that I had their halters on just for the pictures and I don't turn them put in them. I miss being able to tell someone a silly story and not have the tell me how dangerous it is to ride on a sled pulled by my horse. I miss days when people didn't automatically assume the worst and immediately respond to you as if you must be moron who doesn't know better.

I get sick of hearing people ignore the point someone was trying to make because they are so busy telling them to wear a helmet or cut their horses grain or replace their fence.

Yes, I think I am a better person for the knowledge I have now that I did not have then... but sometimes I do miss that blissful ignorance.

Now I am going to go hand feed my overweight horses some sweet feed whilst wearing my Crocs. And I might even feed my dog an M&M.

Friday, December 18, 2009

May i have this dance?

Life is a dance. One and two and three and four and one and two and three and four....

Some days the dance is a massive sweeping ball room full of nattily dressed gents and full hooped skirts swishing and sweeping about the floor... some days it is a mosh pit with leather boots, studded belts and 4 foot long wallet chains set to music so driving and loud it disrupts your heart beat. Some days you dance this life with grace and beauty and some days you not only step on the other dancer's toes but you step on you own and end up, gasping, on the floor, wondering whether to laugh or cry. And sometimes, if you are very lucky, the dance is a sweet shuffling slow dance to music so gentle and warm that it allows two souls to sway together gently while the rest of the world disappears.

Sometimes we wish we hadn't danced, don't we? But think of the steps we have learned and the songs we have allowed to inspire us to sway. Every dance, no matter how triumphant or how tragic, teaches us new moves.

Dance like no one is watching, let your heart and soul move you. No regrets. Life is too short to miss a single step.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Movin' on up...


Leo has been a part of our family for, oh... 4 years or so now. He was a birthday gift for the kid the year we moved back here. She has been really good about taking care of him right up until this last few months when she has got to be a little scatter brained about it. Leo has a nice big cage outside by the barn with an enclosed house on one side and a cage on the other and a shingled roof over the top. In the summer I give him frozen 2 liter bottles to lay against to stay cool, and in the winter I pack his house with hay and water him twice a day (I water him mornings, kid waters him evenings).

Such has been the life of Leo the Lop until last week.

See, I was dreading the effort of caring for him through the winter, and I have never liked the idea of him being out there, alone. And we had bought that cage for the kittens earlier this year so it was just sitting there empty taking up room on the porch.... last week Leo the Lop moved on up.... and moved inside.


Just what we need, another animal in the house. (Don't let me fool you, I'd have the horses in here as well if I could do it without it being dangerous or gross).

It's been nice having him inside. The cats like to lay on top of his cage and reach in to pat him on the face. he comes up to the side of the cage and sniffs them and nibbles at their toes. Sure, every other day I have to strip out his cage completely but I use the loose chaff from the horse's hay as bedding so his cage smells of grassy hay. It takes 5 minutes to pull out the yucky chaff, wipe down the cage with disinfectant, put in fresh hay and be done with it.

The nice thing is that Tiff has been taking him out of his cage and letting him hang out with her while she watches TV or plays on her computer.


The other nice thing is that i no longer have creepy nightmares about forgetting he is out there and finding him dead because i forgot to water him on the weekends... because now if his water gets low he raises a ruckus to remind me. And I think he likes it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter finally arrived.

It slipped in over night on tiny feet of freezing rain, pattering along the window sills, bouncing off the panes, rolling down from the peak of the roof to form tiny icicle teeth along the eaves. It may have arrived quietly under the cloak of darkness, but before long it abandoned it's charade and unleashed on us with a bone chilling delight. Rain slowly turned to sleet, then quickly turned to snow... and then the winds came with a vengeance.

The horses huddled inside the barn, peeking out now and then, calling to me from the relative shelter of their run in. Mary stood in the doorway with her hair all on end looking like nothing so much as an over stuffed toy. Sparrow didn't even approach the door. He kept his rump aimed toward the door and his head tucked down toward his chest. Before Brego came the little ones would stand outside beside the big barn, tails tucked tight against their backsides as they stood rump to the wind. Even if their feed was placed inside the barn they would eat then head back out into the weather no matter how bitter.

But Brego has shown them a better way. When the wind starts he heads into the barn and there he stays. Because they are his little minions they stay with him. And I, thankful for the knowledge that they will stay inside, can rest a little easier.

A few of the bales of hay I bought this time were full of a dry weed that the horses don't eat. They look fine from the outside but once opened it is clear that the horses won't want but maybe 10% of the bale. These I set aside to use as bedding. As the wind picked up and began to howl I bedded the entire run in down in hay and filled their hay bags with the good stuff. The barn smelled of the sugary sweet scent of the poor quality hay (it has a slight scent of maple syrup, as odd as that may sound).

On the second day there was not a single hoof print in the snow outside the barn. As I went out to feed Brego's nose poked out through the door and quickly and silently pulled back inside. You could see where they had spent the night curled up in the hay. They were all warm, and still had hay to eat.

On the third day they were restless. Brego came out of the barn looking annoyed, wiggling his lip until the little dirty snowballs in his mustache clinked together.


I chased them out of the barn to get them moving a bit, since their tempers were getting foul and they were starting to annoy each other. They pranced and snorted and kicked up their heels.


Mary even threw in a buck or two and tossed her head, fanning her mane out dancing through the snow.



For a moment Brego even lowered his head and with a snort ran full out, kicking up his heels and tossing his head.


And then as quickly as it started their burst of energy was over and they were ready to head back to the barn.



As night fell on the third day the wind slowed and by dawn the next day all was calm. The horses were back outside, sunning themselves. Their coats seemed to have thickened and grown in just the few days since it turned cold and windy, though they had never seemed cold or uncomfortable.

Winter arrived, with teeth bared, but today we had enough of a reprieve that i was able to refill the water tank without having a frozen hose.

Monday, December 7, 2009

There is just something about a horse laying down...

... that makes me want to go up and cuddle them. of course most horses jump their feet as soon as they see you coming toward them, and even if they don't getting within leg range when they might leap up suddenly can be dangerous if not deadly...

I've helped care for easily over two hundred horses in my life, if not more. In all that time I've known only a small handful of horses who would let you walk up tot them while they were lying down. Even then they might let you close but too close and up they would go. Even my pony, Jamie, who was the love of my life for many years, would only let me pet his nose and if I got closer *pop* up he went.

Now last year I had an amazing thing happen. I was standing in the barn door with the sun on my face, Mary and Sparrow were dozing (this was in the pre-Brego era) and the sun was shining in the barn door and Sparrow just flopped himself down in front of me and leaned himself back against my legs. I spent a good half hour rubbing his tummy while he dosed. I ended up sitting down and leaning against his back so I could rub his tummy more comfortably and he drifted off to a deep enough sleep to start snoring, lol.

I was really blown away, as I had never ever had a horse do something like that with me before.

Now right after Brego got here, like the very next day after he arrived, my father in law stopped by and brego was laying down for a nap. He let us both walk right up to him as long as we stayed by his face. He had never even seen my FIL before and he was like, "Meh, whatever." lol. That is his reaction to most things, to be honest. But twice now since then he has been laying down and has just let me come up and rub his tummy and lean on him and cuddle him and doesn't even try to stand up until i walk away, then he gets up to follow me. I just can't resist the urge to go give them hugs and cuddles when they are laying down.

Mary, on the other hand... if she notices anyone look in her direction she is up on her feet, lol.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dear Santa,

Dear Santa,

Hello again, It's me, Pony.

I know that you already know what I am going to ask for, it's the exact same thing I have asked for every Christmas since my first letter to you. I know last year I got a bit testy about it, what with it being 38 Christmases and you STILL not having given me the ONE thing I had been asking for...

But this year instead of asking for a horse I just wanted to drop you a line and tell you... never mind. I'm good. I got sick of waiting for you to come through for me and took matters into my own hands. *raspberry*


Thursday, December 3, 2009

If I had $5 for every time...


*Brego's feather, dragging the ground by 2 inches before I trimmed it level with the ground so he wouldn't step on it*

If I had $5 for every time someone says it must take me a lot of time, effort and/or money to keep up Brego's feather i would have enough money to buy myself a nice wooden Meadowbrook cart. It's horse people, usually, saying how they don't understand why anyone would want a feathered horse because they would rather DO something with their horse than spend all their time wasting it on grooming.

So I thought I would make a post explaining the expensive and time consuming process of caring for feather that I go through daily.

First: Product! My "expensive" products that I use to keep his feather and the skin under it healthy? All but one item I purchase at the dollar store for.... A DOLLAR. A bottle of the dollar store version of Listerine, tube of triple antibiotic, tube of athletes foot meds, bottle of hair conditioner. Do the math, that is $4. FOUR DOLLARS! Wow! How DO I manage to swing that kind of expense?? lol. Then I buy a gallon of mineral oil from Tractor Supply, $14. But I could just get dollar store baby oil... if I didn't hate having my horse smell like baby. Ick. The mineral oil lasts me a LONG time, though.

Next: Most days my routine is... nothing special. I run a slicker brush over his short hair to knock off mud clumps (much to his disgust) and a hair brush over any place that has long hair. Mane, tail and feather. It takes me about 4 minutes longer to do my daily groom on Brego than it takes me to do Sparrow or Mary. Dead serious. I run my hands over all three of them, head to toe. It takes longer on Brego because he is physically bigger, not because he has that feather.

If the weather is wet I use the Mouth Wash more often, just on his heels where he tends to get scurfy in wet weather. Then once the mouth wash is dry I squirt some mineral oil under the feather to protect the skin from the wet. This takes me maybe 2 minutes a foot. "SQUIRT! RUB RUB RUB! DONE! next foot!" It probably took longer to type that than it takes to do it. Then I do my normal daily grooming. Cleaning the oil off of my hands takes me longer than the actual application, lol.

Now the only time it gets to be time consuming is the rare occasion he shows signs of scratches or starts to get a little scurfy under his hair. Which, because I take the 10 minutes or less each day to check under his feather and do the wet weather treatment as needed, has only happened ONCE (and that was after i was in the hospital having a sudden unplanned gall bladder removal so was unable to do my usual care). When that happens I mix equal parts of the dollar store antibiotic cream and athletes foot cream, with about 6 parts mineral oil, and I shake it until it is fairly well blended. I make sure his skin is dry, then use a cheap dollar store mustard bottle like you would use on a picnic to squirt it under his feather onto the skin. THAT is not the time consuming part, the rubbing it in is what takes time because I am trying to make sure i didn't miss any skin AND gently work loose the crusties so the meds get all the way to the skin. Plus I do it as often as the skin loses the oily feel, which can be daily or sometimes twice a day. This lengthy process takes about 5 minutes a leg instead of 2.

Here is the thing though... I do the SAME thing with the legs of the mini horses!! I've used baby oil on them for YEARS because it keeps them from getting snowball or mud buildup on their little tiny tufts of fluff they have on the back of their legs.

Oh, the conditioner. You may have noticed i never mentioned what I do with that. I mix it half and half with the mineral oil and use it as a mane/tail/feather detangler. Especially on the ends of the tail hair during winter. To prevent snowballing.

Now sure, if you only really groom your horses once a week this daily care that I do (which, BTW, not all feathered horse owners do or need to do, even I don;t REALLY need to do this much) probably seems like I waste a lot of time on crap that is a chore instead of doing fun stuff. And if this is the way you feel than it's pretty clear a feathered breed... not for you! And that is FINE!

But i would be doing this ANYWAY, and I enjoy it. Here is a secret, sometimes I go out and run my fingers through his feather just because i like the way it feels. His front feather is as soft and silky as baby hair, his back feather is thicker and wavey. I play with Sparrows little tiny "feathers" too... because I like them. they delight me. For me caring for my horses is FUN. usually even more fun than *gasp* riding! yes, i admit it! I am more interested in hanging out with my ponies than i am in actually DOING something with them! THE HORROR!!! I DO want to be able to "do something" with them. But that is just a bonus side benefit for me. If Brego were, heaven forbid, to come up as only pasture sound and not riding sound would I be disappointed? OF COURSE! But would it prevent me from enjoying him just as much as i do now? Absolutely not! For me chilling with my ponies IS doing something.

I just spent a week mourning a pony that died three years ago who was NEVER actually sound enough for work in the entire time I owned him. When i was living here I fussed with him as much daily as i do with the ones i have now. When i wasn't living here he did just fine getting a good grooming once every two weeks (if that) instead of every day.

So yeah, it does take more time and effort to make sure the feather and the skin under it is kept in good condition, but not nearly as much as many people think... and I enjoy the care it takes. And as long as I keep shopping at the dollar store it doesn't cost me much of anything.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More rain on the way???

I better top off the water tank, oil the big guy's legs and get in any training i want to do before this afternoon and save my indoor work for after the rain starts. I have a ton of stuff i want to do like get the indoor cage set up in the front room for the rabbit (not sure if having him in here will work or not, more daily chores for me but I hate having him outside during the winter. It is too hard to keep him properly watered out there).

I'm having a hard time getting in touch with my hay guy to have him bring over the rest of my hay. I may have to run up to the little store on the corner where his wife works and talk to her.

I started Brego on some alfalfa cubes as a supplement this week. There is some research that suggests the lysine in alfalfa helps keep the feathered breeds from developing skin problems on their legs. It also gives him extra long fiber in his diet that the mini horses don't need without me having to soak it like the beet pulp. I've cut back on his hard feed to compensate for some of the added calores since he is getting pudgy, lol.

"Are you looking at my bum? You bum looker!!"


His mustache and goat beard are getting so long. The 'stache cracks me up...


I took a video with our digital camera of the faces he makes when i scratch his butt. *giggle* The licking and chewing motion is part fo what he does every time I scratch his butt... lol.

Brego's notes: SO SCARY!!!

Brego's note from yesterday:

Last night i had the worst time EVER. I was just hanging out with Mary and Sparrow munching our hay out of the bags in the trees when this HORRIBLE sound started coming from the barn where that crabby old mare lives next door. It TOTALLY freaked me out.

It wouldn't have been so bad if it just happened once but it kept GOING and GOING! I never heard anything like that before, it sounded like something was either VERY mad or getting killed by something! It was so stinkin' scary. I was running around because it was freaking me out and when i ran past the barn I tried to stop but the ground was muddy and i started sliding toward the fence! Oh man, I was SO freaked out!!! I slid RIGHT into the fence and next thing I knew I was getting zapped and i was all tangled up in the fence tape and scrambling across the thing that the humans drive their cars on to get to their barn! Well, I just took off out into the yard until i was away from that fence tape stuff.

Mary and Sparrow were still inside because somehow I only busted through the top part of the fence. That horrible noise was still going on but i was farther away from it and... well, now i was surrounded by grass. hehehehe. So even though I was still totally freaked out i grabbed a few bites of grass to settle myself down. That was when Pony's guy came outside and I heard him say, "Um, we have a Brego in the front yard."

Next thing I know Pony is outside with me checking the fence and Tracy (I think she keeps him as a house pet like she does that funny looking little dog) was walking around me toward the road. Mary started fussin' and I was starting to feel freaked out again so i ran over to the fence. Tracy kept following me and Pony went to get my Stupid Halter. She whistled when she came back out of the barn and I went over to her, which seemed to make her VERY happy (she gets stupidly happy when i come when she whistles. Not sure why, I just know that most of the time a whistle means food, so of course i come over to her when she does it, hehehe).

Anyway, tracy was trying to get Mary and Sparrow in to their stall while Pony held on to my lead rope. That horrible noise was going AGAIN, and freaking me out, but it wasn't as scary with Pony there. Sparrow followed tracy really good, but mary kept coming back over to stand inside the fence right by me. Pony had to explain to tracy how to put a neck rope on her and lead her in to the stall. He had tried some grain first, and she would follow him for a while but then come back over to me because, you know, she loves me even if she is crabby and tries to be bossy. I was kind of surprised by that because she usually prefers food over anything else, but I guess she really does like me a lot after all.

Once they were in their stall she took me back into the barn lot. I was kinda fidgetty because that horrible sound wouldn't stop. Pony said something about "Sandy must have bought some pigs" and something about slaughtering (what ever that means, doesn't sound good), but then she said "You don't have to be killing a pig for it to sound like you are killing it."

Tracy seemed annoyed and said maybe they should tell sandy to warn them next time. He was working on the fence while Pony stayed by me and kept hold of my rope, which made me feel better. That horrible noise finally stopped. I was still really jumpy but not as bad. Pony saw the slide marks and figured out how i had slid through the fence. She put a bunch of hay in the barn to keep our minds off of the scary stuff, then let Mary and Sparrow back out of their stall. I felt a lot better once they had come out to take care of things. She has been coming out to check on us all night, and came over to give me a hug and some scritches while i was laying down to sleep. I think the whole thing freaked her out as much as it did me.

She was really complaining more about how muddy the ground was than anything else. I think all this rain is making her crabby. But once she knew I was OK she seemed to cheer up.

Boy oh boy, was that noise scary, though!! I hope that doesn't happen very often. Pigs must be horrible, terrifying creatures to make noises like THAT!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I had the weirdest dream.

Well, not entirely true, I have had MUCH weirder dreams but this one was weird.

(OK, English language, why do you mess with my head. If the rule is "I before E except after C" how do you explain the word "weird"? I always have to write it three or four times then check the dictionary to make sure I have it right. Listen here, language, stop having "rules" that are more like "suggestions"!!)

So in the dream: I went out to feed the horses and brego was standing next to the barn with NORMAL HAIR ON HIS LEGS!!! ALL his feather was just GONE (he was still GORGEOUS, though). I was freaking out wondering who had been messing with my horse. I was less worried about the loss of leg hair than about what other horrible dangerous thing they might have done to my baby boy. Then I realized that "Brego" had BLACK LEGS. And was about 4 inches shorter and twice as wide. I freaked OUT, ran into the barn and there was the actual Brego, munching hay, but with no long hair on his legs either. I was so relieved to see him there that i didn't even wonder why someone would shave a Gypsy Horse's legs and stick him in my pasture... but I did suddenly realize that Sparrow and Mary were nowhere to be seen.

After freaking out again I found the two of them in Sparrow's "stud stall" munching hay with a weanling. Not a mini weanling but what looked like a very nice blood bay colt that was almost all long delicate legs and long arching neck. No white on it anywhere. I'm not sure what breed it was but it looked very Thoroughbredish which is weird because I do not and never have had any desire to own a TB. EVER. Maybe it was just an exceptionally handsome Standardbred. lol.

That was when I woke up. I had finally wondered why in the world anyone would sneak extra horses into my barn and shave my horse's feather off and i guess questioning the logic of the dream woke me up. lol.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brego's Notes: Humans are weird!

Brego's notes from his facebook page:

Humans Are Weird

Yup. They are weird.

So for the last several months Pony has been putting my Stupid Halter on me and using these long lines hooked to the sides to tell me what to do while she stands around. *rolls eyes* Sometimes she tries walking behind me but man do I hate that. I can't see her back there! I mean, what is she doing back there when I can't SEE her? Anyway, a few weeks ago she put this thing on me she called a "bridle". It is sort of like my Stupid Halter, only it has this thing that goes in my mouth that she calls a "bit". Mine is minty flavored!

I won't say i like it, and i won't say i don't like it... it is just..... weird. But until now she has put the thing on me and just let me wander around with it in my mouth. But th other day she actually hooked the long lines to the bit and told me to walk on. When we got to the corner she started pulling on it and i was like, "HEY? What is up with this? First you stick the Stupid halter on me and make me figure out what you want and now you change the rules and use THIS thingie??" But the nice thing is that it works just like the Stupid Halter! I mean i totally understood what she wanted, and I could tell what she wanted sooo much easier than with the Stupid Halter.

I wasn't too sure about this "bit" stuff at first. It feels WEIRD.

Pony was really happy. She scratched my butt again (I LOVE that) because she was so proud of me for doing so good. I'm really not sure about all this silly weird foolishness she wants me to do but I sure do like it when she is proud of me.

Today she was acting weirder than usual. I think she is sad. Sparrow told me it's because she misses her old friend Jamie, who died when Sparrow was just a baby. It was really rainy today, and she came out to bring us our lunch and she stood by me while i munched and leaned her face on my neck. She seemed to feel better when she went back up to her barn, but she has been out to visit us several times today. I hope she feels better soon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I still miss you.

Another long year has passed, and as I sit and wait for the anniversary of your passing i realize that I still miss you as much today as I did the day I kissed your warm gentle forehead for the last time. This past year has been amazing. I finally got the horse of my dreams. I wrap my arms around his big solid neck and think how very much you would have loved him. Having him has made the pain of loosing you so much more bearable, but it has not made me miss you any less. It hasn't made the hurt when i think of you any less painful.

Jamie, summer 2006.

He has your playful spirit. He and Sparrow will play with me, together, and it reminds me so much of you. He has Trooper's gentle loving nature, your playful spirit, Penny's rubber lips and talkativeness and a special little spark all his own. He is like the best of each of you who I have loved so much rolled into the most amazing hairy little package.


But there is still a raw open wound there in my heart, the place where you used to be. In some ways this year seems worse. Maybe it is because the weather reminds me of that year, or maybe it is because of having the barn full of horses when for so many years it was just you out there. Or maybe it is this recent talk of possibly moving away some years in the future when Tiff is grown, and the thought of leaving your grave behind.

But even though it still hurts, even though I still can't look at a single picture of you without shedding a tear... I would not trade a single moment of the time I had you in my life to make the hurt go away. You have been worth every single tear. I love you as much now as i did the first day i saw you, and then some.

Jamie and his mom, may they rest in peace.

I still remember that day, standing in the aisle at Red House Farm, tacking up George for Mr. Packard (I called him Bruiser, that huge Irish Draft who I'd first met at Win-A-Gin farm). I remember hearing the clip-clop of hooves and turning around to see... you and your mom, who I later named Lilly, sticking your little red noses in through the barn door curiously. manes and tails full of witch braids and burrs, her a rack of bones and you.... you so fat you had huge dimples on your butt. As I caught you both by your ratty old too-big nylon halters and walked you back to the neighbors you had escaped from you wiggled your lip back and forth against my hand and when I stopped to push the downed wire out of my way you leaned your forehead against my side and sighed. It was a whole year before i was able to lead you home and call you mine, and another three months before Lilly was able to join us, but on that day I made it my mission to get you out of that hell hole you were stuck in and bring you home to me, where you belonged.


As much as I miss you, my world is better place because you were in it.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's a good news/bad news kinda day....

Good news: so far we have "harvested" two deer from our property... bad news: they were both shot by my father in law, not Tsu or I. (Thankfully he shares, yay! So it is kind of good news/good news, really.)

Good news: Next spring I will have running water in my horse barn instead of having to run a hose from the big barn. Bad news: the reason I will have this next spring is because the water line running to the big barn burst under the driveway, turning our driveway into a muck pit... and now I have to find a way to keep water in the tank all winter without having a faucet in either barn. And it is just a tad late in the year to be trying to dig a huge trench and run water lines right now.

Good news: Our core group of friends is intact and getting along great. Bad news: it took a week of explosions and drama to get it back to a good place after a complete melt down.

I just finished two days of jerky making with meat from the first deer. YUM! It's nice knowing we have at least some meat for winter.

Tiff is with us this holiday, she was up half the night and is now sleeping in. I've been trying to call my dad for three days. For some reason calls between our area and his refuse to connect properly. We had talked about getting together on friday but if I can't call them I have to wait for them to call me or call from someone else's house. This is 2009, it seems silly to be having this kind of trouble in this day and age!!

I got a funny picture of brego the other day. He was running around and i was trying to get pictures and he came running around the barn not knowing I was there so as he was running he tried to scramble backward and keep from bowling me over. he was actually not even close to running in to me but HE thought he was...


His mustache is getting really long!


Mary and Sparrow are getting fluffy winter jammies, but no where near as fluffy as they were at this point last year. Mary's short little legs make me grin.


Brego is soooo enjoying all this mud. I clean him up, he rolls in the muck and looks terribly proud of himself for it.


Man, this silly horse just takes my breath away. Even mud covered. Check out that goat beard he has going on, wowsa!!


and a bonus pic unrelated to the previous ones: Nigel, snoozing in his usual spot along my leg, while I mess around on my computer. I love my dog. He helps keep my feet warm, lol.:


Brego has been posting "Notes" on his FaceBook. I may start posting them here as well.

Have a good holiday, everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I have not forgotten you.

Really, I haven't. I've just been in a bit of a brain fog. Attempting to fill the freezer for the winter, hooked on FaceBook games, and can't seem to get enough sleep.

If you are on facebook feel free to friend me if you wish. Brego and I both have our own accounts, hehe.

Look for Brego and Lorna Violet....

I promise once deer season is over to check in more often. The horses are enjoying their short vacation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I carried my lantern in one hand, a ward against the dark that cast a soft warm light in a circle around me. Tiffany was safely aboard the bus and off to school, and i ducked quietly into the paddock through the strands of the electric fence. Two soft nickers greeted me, one deep and one slightly higher but more rumbling. A moment passed and a snort from farther off let me know that all three were aware of my presence.

From the darkness a black and white nose snaked into my lantern light, shadows dancing on his chest, curl covered upper lip wiggling back and forth in anticipation. His little black minion follows at his side, nipping crankily at his knees over the fact that he has turned his attention from her to me. Finally I hear the clattering of tiny hooves on hard packed dirt and a fluffy red blur comes sliding toward me. The two little ones dance their morning dance and I laugh. Sparrow prances on his toes while Mary glares at him and cocks a leg, pins an ear, threatens. he comes to me, knowing she can't or won't fulfill the threat if he is by me.

Brego gives himself a shake. He has no sharp angles, only straight lines and full gentle curves. Even his straight lines are softened by the thick rabbit-fur halo of his winter coat. I step in close and press my forehead to his neck, hand resting on the gentle arc of his face. he turns his nose back to me as I lean on him, wrapping his neck around me while Sparrow comes up along side and presses the flat of his face against my hip.

Mary tosses her head, impatient. She likes the attention, but she likes the food more. She groans and leans back in a cat-like stretch that just accentuates how short her front legs are and how close to the ground she already is. I laugh softly, "yes, ma'am, what ever you say."

They amble into the barn through their door as i walk in and close the smaller door behind me. I flick on the switch and the light from the bulbs is harsh and glaring after the lantern light. I catch Mary and take her into the stall, otherwise Brego will drop half his feed for her. She is already as round as a beach ball. Sparrow can clean up Brego's feed and make use of it but Mary very much needs to NOT get any more than she already does. Once she is tucked in with fresh water and a small handful of hay I mix up Brego's feed and he lifts his nose at me, one ear pinned in Sparrow's direction the other forward and following my every move. I make him back up a step and wait until i put his feed in his bucket. The impatience is clear on his face but he waits.

"OK, go ahead..." I say softly. Mornings are not a time for harsh words, and so i seem to whisper for no reason.

I check each horse over, using my eyes and my hands. Mary's blind eye had a bit of yuck that i clean gently. Sparrow has a small chip out of one hoof, but the trimmer comes tuesday so i am not concerned. I pat Brego on the shoulder, run my hands down each leg. I laugh to myself as I hear donkeys bray to each other. They live a mile away from me and almost a mile away from each other but their noise carries as far as a train whistle. Brego pauses in his chewing to listen to them, then nickers softly and goes back to chewing. I run my fingers under the long slick hair on Brego's legs to check the skin. He stops chewing and turns, dropping a mouthful of sticky feed on my back, but he looks and feels fine, healthy.

Sparrow stands in the barn door, slipping closer to nibble up a few fallen pieces of feed. I pat him on the rump, pick up my lantern and turn off the light switch. It takes my eyes a few moments to adjust to the dim lantern light again. In the distance a fox barks and is answered. It doesn't sound like a dog bark, it is high and wailing. I smell wood smoke in the air, carried on a light cold breeze. Far to the east the sky has a chilled crystal quality, not quite light, but the promise of light just on the verge of of breaking the horizon. For a moment i hold my breath, clutch at the world with my heart, and think to myself with a grin, "Nothing sounds quite so good right now as a hot cup of coffee."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

TMI 2, sheath cleaning and the invasion of the girl scouts.


The promised story of the sheath cleaning and the girl scouts. It's a 100% sure thing that as soon as you start cleaning your horses privates someone who 1) knows nothing about horses and 2) will be shocked and stunned will suddenly show up in your barn.

It doesn't matter if you pick the least active time of day around the farm, hide in a back corner of the barn and close every door and window.... as soon as you are covered in slimy stuff and up to your elbow in a horses wiener hut SOMEONE you don't want to show up.... will.

In my case the most embarrassing time this happened was the first time i was working for Jeffery and Paul and taking care of Hunter and Trooper. It was Trooper's turn at a good scrubbing so i waited until the day the farm was closed, shut the barn up tight, got all my supplies together and got Trooper into the cross ties.

Now for those who don't know, Trooper was a 3/4 Clydesdale, 1/4 paint who was the first horse I ever met that came close to being perfect. He was big, hairy and kinda slow witted. He was kind of like a St. Barnard trapped in a horse's body. He also looked absolutely fabulous in a Santa hat.


At any rate, I had already coated the horse's bits and pieces in water based "personal lubricant" (I prefer this to soaps because if the horse gets annoyed and doesn't want you to rinse he won't get itchy if he is left with a residue, but it works well to soften the gunk) and he was drifting off to sleep in the cross ties while i stuffed my arm literally up to my elbow into his body cavity.... when the door swung wide open and the faces of two girl scout leaders and about 9 girl scouts carrying boxes of cookies appeared, started to ask if I wanted to buy cookies then suddenly fell into shocked stunned silence.

There was a 3 second moment of silence that felt about 4 hours long, then one of the leaders said, "I'm sure there is a logical explanation for this. If not, now would be a great time to make one up."

Once i stopped laughing I assured them all there WAS a logical explanation. This then lead to a 15 minute lesson in the glamourous life of the professional horse groom. The other leader finally said, "Do you think this will qualify for the girls to get their horsemanship badge?" The other leader said, "After this the girls deserve a badge and the horse deserves a cigarette."

I bought two boxes of Thin Mints and two boxes of Caramel Delights. lol.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Joys of Boys... or "What the books you read as a teen never told you about horse ownership" (be warned, this is TMI!)

Horses usually come in one of three varieties. Mares, stallions or geldings. There IS a fourth option, spayed mares, but those are so rare that most horse people never meet one... and a fifth that is a hermaphrodite but those are almost as rare as spayed mares and so those two have no real bearing on this topic.

Now most horse people have a preference. This preference is usually based in some stereotype that may or may not have a basis in fact OR it is based on some horrible experience the horse person had some time early in their horsey life.

Most reasonable horse people who want to have a pleasure horse understand that a stallion is a high maintenance animal and more than the average horse owner can handle so those can be crossed right off the list even if the idea of a big Black Stallion appeals to us on a gut level. Despite what Walter Farley would have us believe, that bond between Alec and Shetan was FICTION, and not something you can count on keeping you safe with your own little stud muffin.

So that basically leaves two options, mares and geldings.

Now despite the fact that several horses who have been my special friends have been mares, I am a gelding girl ALL THE WAY! There is no hormonal fluctuation to deal with, no fear of a neighbor's stallion getting loose and jumping the fence and leaving you with an unwanted foal and/or massive vet bills... geldings tend, in general, to be fairly predictable in mood and their life revolves around people and food, unlike mares and stallions who are at least part of the time obsessed with reproduction. Like I said, stereotypes... not always true but in general these are the perceptions.

Now folks who like mares usually like the fact that mares tend to be just a bit more "on" than geldings. They seem to have more active minds. Total stereotype here but I have seen it to be true. Mares tend to be thinkers. Also, if you WANT to breed you have that option. But the main thing i see mare lovers say they prefer about mares is... no sheath cleaning.

Every non-horse person in the room is going "huh?" and every horse person in the room is either laughing (gelding fans) or gagging (mare fans).

Because really when it comes down to it, much of the time the preference comes down to whether or not dealing with this nasty chore freaks you out.

For you non-horsie people, the sheath is... where his boy part hides. So sheath cleaning is.... cleaning his boy bit and the place he stores it. I don't think that description fully expresses how absolutely foul a job this is. Some lucky gelding owners have remarkably clean boys and never have to give them a scrub. Others *points to herself* have filthy filthy boys who end up coated in a sticky black tarlike substance that smells somewhat like road kill mixed with sour kraut and some foul thing created by scientists as a secret biological weapon.

This subject has come up several times in several places over the last week and so i thought I would address it here... the joys of having boys.

Now to be fair, mares can be gross, too. Mary is a disgusting little hussy. From April until August every 21 days for a week or so she coats her own back half and Brego's front legs with a thick sticky pungent smelling liquid that runs down between her bum cheeks and will leave her scalded if i don't coat her whole back end all the way to her teats with Bag Balm or Vaseline. And the smell sticks to me. I wash her every day to try and keep her skin healthy otherwise this stuff makes her hair fall out, and nothing i have tried seems to get the smell off of ME after washing her. Thankfully no one else seems to be able to smell it but to me it is almost overwhelming. I've been around enough mares to know that not all do this, but Mary actually makes me glad my other two are boys. I'm hoping by next spring she will have realized Brego is a gelding and go back to not showing heat like she did after Sparrow was gelded. I could tell she was in heat because her scent changed but her behaviour never did and she wasn't squirting all over herself. mares also get a weird funky build up between their teats similar to the foul gunk boys get in their sheath. *shudder*

Now not only do geldings get this reeking build up of goop in their wiener storage unit, but they also get this bizarre hard lump of crud in a small pocket next to their urethral opening called a "bean"... which you have to somehow pry out of there without getting kicked, IF you can get him to relax enough to let you even get to the thing, since they have the remarkable ability to make their entire penis disappear into their body cavity if they want to.

Now many years ago I had a small side business doing horse grooming. Pulling manes, clipping, braiding for shows and sheath cleaning. Before long the sheath cleaning became my biggest money maker. So I pretty well got to the point where i could do it without batting an eye. And people were willing to pay... a lot. I charged $65 for a full body clip (this was almost 20 years ago, so that was like big money), $30 to pull a mane, and $70 to clean a sheath (more if I had to train the horse to let me clean him first, as this can be a time consuming process if the owner hasn't made an effort to get him used to it). I once got $300 for cleaning a horse because he was a complete prat and his owner just plain didn't want to deal with it. hehe. It's amazing what people will be willing to pay someone to do a job they find repulsive.

I wonder why THIS sort of thing never comes up in My Friend Flicka or the Black Stallion?

This topic is over for today, but not over for good. Tomorrow i will try to tell the story of the sheath cleaning and the Girl Scouts, and this weekend the boys will both be getting their fall cleaning and so far Brego's reaction to me in that general area is that he has been horribly violated and needs to call the Special Victim's Unit to report the crime I have perpetrated against him. He literally tries to cross his hind legs. I'll put TMI warnings on all of these, for those who would rather not hear about horse wieners and the foul deed of having to clean them.

It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

By Jove, I think he's got it!

More work on transitioning from long lining to ground driving. Brego is SO annoyed by not being able to see me. Annoyed and confused. I spent some time ground driving then giving him breaks by going back to having him go around me, pushing him out of his comfort zone then bringing him back in to think about it. By the end of the session i was able to move the reins up a ring on the surcingle (closer to where they will be when I am riding him) and he was responding to them nicely. No time in the bridle, though. It was cold and i do not want one of his early experiences to be a cold bit in his mouth.

We didn't have any freak outs or explosions this time, so no having to run along behind him until his brain kicked back in. When he started to get over stimulated i would just slow him down and he did great. I finished up by coating his legs in Listerine (lol) and trying the Aussie saddle on him again. This time with girth... my girth is way too long so now I need to pick up a shorter one. Mine uses the ring overgirth so I can't just use a short English girth like i did with my old Aussie. So I'm putting a nice saddle pad and a shorter Aussie girth on my Christmas list... i mean since i won't be asking for a horse for Christmas (for the first time since i was about 3, yeeeeeeahhh!!!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

hot doggity dawg!!!

Every week i toss my Aussie saddle up on hairy bear to see if it fits. Every week it is just a bit too wide to sit on him without sticking out to his sides and resting on his spine.... but not today! between the way his shape is changing and filling out from maturity and the way the muscle is filling in from lots of trotting on the long lines my saddle now FITS HIM!!! It's not the BEST fit, but if he keeps filling in through his back it will only get better. if the saddle was just an inch longer it would be too long for him and he'd never grow into THAT but as it is it squeaks in as JUST short enough.

I need to get a nice western saddle pad since the saddle is designed more like a western on the underside, and then start strapping it on him when he works on the long lines. Assuming the girth will go tight enough. i may need to get a shorter one. He is such a tiny little peapod.

For those who have not seen it, this is my saddle:


I am absolutely chuffed to bits.

Brego, on the other hand, is not terribly thrilled. lol.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

LOL, my dog is soooo ugly!

I love my dog. Seriously. He warms my heart and puts a huge grin on my face. I find him absolutely adorable.

I think that may be a sign that I am mentally ill.

he is down to like 6 teeth now, mostly in the back. So when he snoozes his tongue flops out. I took this picture last night because he was just looking so adorable.


That is where he sleeps, between my feet, head down, back against my leg. Tongue hanging out. He keeps my toes warm on cold winter nights.

Man, I love that stupid dog.


Swine flu has officially hit the school! We have 4 confirmed cases in the high school as of yesterday. The children are mostly delighted, hoping they close school for a week, lol. They are going to need WAY more than 4 cases to close the school.

The time change has my sleep totally screwed up as usual. I fall asleep, then wake up, then can't fall back to sleep, then finally fall asleep and sleep for 20 minutes. URGH!! I hate hate hate the time change. We should just stick it on daylight saving time and leave it there year around. Time is such a simple concept, do we REALLY need to intentionally make it more complicated?

Can you imagine working at a clock/watch store during the time change? Wow. That would seriously SUCK. I get testy having to change 4 or 5 clocks, can you imagine having to change hundreds of them? I didn't change any this year. Just thinking about it made me testy. Tsu changed them all.

As I was typing my twice yearly anti-time change rant just now i realized i didn't post my annual "anti-columbus day" rant! I'll give the Reader's Digest Condensed version: America was ALREADY FULL OF PEOPLE! He may have been the first European to find the place and let enough other people know about it to get in the history books but as far as actually DISCOVERING the place... that is like me "discovering" the mall just because no one I know had any idea it was there. FULL OF PEOPLE! Do all those people who were already living here just not count?

*yawn* It's too early in the morning for this kind of foolishness, lol.

It's been almost 5 months since I had my gall bladder removed. Shouldn't the incisions have STOPPED ITCHING by now? Man of man, it feels like I have mosquito bites that never go away!

I hope the weather is decent today. I obviously need some time with my ponies so i don't keep getting crabbier, lol.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Finished Knit Stuffies....

I finished the knit stuffies for those kids I am sending stuff to this Christmas.

First is a big eyed fishy for Shy:



Second is a Sleepy Puppy for Conner:



And the two of them together:


I got the ideas for them from patterns I found but didn't use the patterns to make them... just started knitting and got what ever I got.

These were the patterns that inspired me:

Fish pattern (must register to view).

Sleepy Puppy pattern.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I know I am going to regret this...

I didn't work the horses at all today. It's supposed to start raining and rain most of the next week so I know I will regret it, but Mary and Brego both worked hard yesterday and Sparrow just started back into work and I don't want to over push him. But the weather was probably the best today that it will be for another week. *sigh*

Yesterday Brego was a turd. More ground driving, which he doesn't like... so he kept trying to bolt away. But we worked through it and he was doing good, though he was sweating a lot, by the time we finished. Then when he was good and tired we spent more time with the bit in his mouth.

This morning he was laying down when we went out for Tiff to get on the bus. Once she was gone I went into the paddock and he let me walk up to him while he was laying down. I crouched down and hugged on him, and gave him belly scratches and he leaned his head back against me and made this awful but funny groaning sound as he relaxed. It was quite sweet. I just can't get over the way he and Sparrow let me mess with them when they are laying down.

So I was involved in two gift exchanges, and I have sent both of my packages out already... but i forgot to get pictures of one of the items i made. BOOOO. Hopefully the lady I made it for will post pictures.

I made a knit fish for the gift package I am putting together for a family who are in a tough spot financially. Now I am going to start on a knit puppy for the little boy, the fish is for the girl. I also got some stuffed snowmen and penguins for them, and I am going to get each of the kids a stocking full of candy. Not spending much money, just some time and a few bucks. But it should fill out some space under their tree so it won't look so bare. It's been a while since i was able to do something like this and i'm having fun with it. I'll have to get pictures of the knit stuffies before i ship them off.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mud and Slop and Salamanders and Brego's Big Day.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love my horse? All of them, really, but Brego especially. I'm sure I have but it bears repeating. lol.


The rain stopped today shortly after dawn. It was dry all day yesterday but the whole paddock was just pure slop. It's still sloppy today but I'm going stir crazy and i figured if we kept it slow and easy they shouldn't slip and slide too much.

I worked Mary first. She was crabby but behaved. We worked a lot on stop and stand. She tossed her head in frustration a lot so we worked on it until she stopped fussing and stood quietly.

I worked Sparrow second. No bucking spree this time, haha! He was actually very good. Lazy but good. For being the most active of all my horses he sure is lazy under harness, lol. So with him we worked on moving out quickly and freely and without wringing his tail and glaring at me, hehe.

Now all I planned on doing with Brego today was long lining him in his halter/side pull. I rarely change up my training sessions spur of the moment but today i did just that. he was doing great on the lines, and we even did some ground driving (ok, quick explanation: when I say long lining I mean like longeing with reins, so mostly big circles, turns and stop/go/speed up/slow down while I stand in one spot in the middle. By ground driving I mean I walk behind the horse and steer him as he goes around. It's mentally a different situation for the horse and some horses do fine long lining but act stupid being ground driven). Normally Brego is a bit resistant to ground driving, because he wants to be able to see me. Today he did great.

So he was being relaxed and willing and mellow, very responsive and just generally a super star. So I decided that since it was warm and he was being so good today would be a good day to put a real bridle on him with a bit and everything. Now when I bought the bit I let him sniff it and lip at it, but he acted like i was trying to poison him so i was not sure how this was going to go and if it would turn into a big pain in the butt fight.

It's a baby blue mullen mouthed "Happy Mouth" bit, peppermint flavored, lol. The temps matter because i did NOT want his first bit experience to be with a cold bit.

So I let him wander around while I dashed to the barn and got my cobbled together training bridle. I adjusted it so it looked just a little long and then slowly brought it up to his face. We took three or four steps backward with his nose in the air. I just kept the bit against his lips until he relaxed and dropped his head back down then slipped it between his lips. 4 more steps backward while I just kept it there. We stood there for a while while he thought about it and I stuck my finger into his mouth so he would open his teeth and the bit was in!

I didn't put the bridle on yet, just held it in front of his face and moved with him as he fidgeted with the bit then once he relaxed a little I put it on him. It was a bit more snug than I like for a first bitting so i let it out a few holes. he was really working at it but was standing nicely and not head tossing or anything while I adjusted everything where i wanted it. Then I just stood there and told him he was a good boy and let him play with it. It looked like he was chewing gum, lol.

So I turned him loose, and just let him play with it. he followed me around jingling while he tongued it, tried to chew it, tried to push it out, shook his head. Then i sent him off to trot some circles (still loose just "free schooling" so he would think more about his feet and less about his mouth). He was still working at it but going a few strides between really fussing with it s I let him stop and I just hung out with him for another 10 minutes or so until he picked the bit up and just held it without fussing or worrying at it. It took him a good half hour total to accept the bit and stop trying to get rid of it but then once he stopped messing with it he didn't start back up. So I put a little pressure on each side and got him to give a little bit (just pulling on it with my hands gently) and he gave me his head each direction without starting to mess with the bit again.

I gave him an Altoid and he did his best to eat it with the bit in his mouth but once it was gone he immediately held the bit where it was most comfortable and held it quietly. So I took off the bridle. he still had the bit in his mouth and seemed in no hurry to drop it so I just held the bridle in my hand and scratched his face until he pushed the bit out himself (probably took a whole 5 minutes!).

I'm glad i broke from my plan for a change because it turned out fantastic. So now every day we work he will get a little bit of time with the bit, and once he is very used to carrying it I will start to switch him from the side pull to the bit.

I'm so delighted with how well he did. It was a big day for him and he was a super star!

So, Once I gave them their lunch and put all the tack away I came in and got a nice cup of coffee and decided to feed the salamanders. I normally feed them at 4:30am, when they are already awake and moving around. But today being monday I was not UP that early. So I dropped in an earth worm and a few meal worms. Normally if I feed during the day they don't eat right away, but today the two biggest ones both jumped immediately for the earth worm. lol. The big blue spotted one got one end, the big yellow spotted one got the other end. It was like "Pony's Wild Kingdom".

It took them a while to meet in the middle and I half expected the blue spotted one to just keep going and eat the other salamander but instead they started to head butt each other and shake their head back and forth like a dog with a rag doll. It took a good ten minutes before they finally managed to break that worm in two. I have so much fun watching these silly things.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jackson made Fugly Horse Of The Day!!!!

Remember the story about my friend who sold the horse and two and a half months later had to repo him and found him in horrid condition?

Well, they made it onto Fugly Horse Of The Day's blog!! Read it here: Bad Buyer Alert!

And see the updated pictures of him with his new mini buddy, gaining weight and getting back to his old self!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Put Sparrow to work...

I needed to recenter myself. The whole "people knocking on my door for no good reason" thing had me riled. Sparrow has been off work since last winter when I worked him "under saddle". (Actually "under bareback pad", hehe.) I had focused back on Mary for a while and getting her transitioned from driving in her halter to using a bit while letting Sparrow decompress and grow up a bit more, then wonder of wonders Brego happened and I went out of my mind for a while.

Well, I sold my mini harness since it was a great training harness but not so hot for actually hitching (no breeching, for one thing). So I rigged up a fleece English girth and two leather straps cut from an old English stirrup leather to make a home made mini horse surcingle.

I gave Brego his lunch, then haltered Sparrow and took him to the work paddock. I got the fancy schmancy home made surcingle on him and the reins and sent him off... and he exploded, hahaha! Full bore, all out, run so fast his feet are scrambling, and when I ask him to rate back he started to buck. Broke in the middle type bucking that would send a cowboy flying and wow the most jaded bucking horse fan. Leaping into the air, twisting to the side and GRUNTING.

I shouldn't laugh. It was very naughty. I kept very stern and forced him forward with the longe whip so he really couldn't keep up the bucking but he was kicking with every stride and still grunting. Then he started to do this really angry stomping with his front feet while he ran since bucking and kicking out weren't working. I pretended he was a big scary dangerous horse and just kept sending him forward until he knocked that foolishness off. Then once he gave in and started to behave I about fell over laughing.

After his temper tantrum he was excellent. stop and go and turn both ways very lightly. He didn't want to move without being pushed but once I got him moving without being an idiot he was delightful. He seems to remember everything from last winter, just did NOT like the fact that his vacation is over.

By the time I wrapped it up it was RAINING gain, I was a lot less upset about annoying people knocking on my door despite my signs warning them not to, and Brego just looked glad that it started to rain before it was his turn for work, hehe.

This time it was the Baptists.

At the end of our drive we now have a 12x18 inch sign saying "PRIVATE PROPERTY! no trespassing, loitering or SOLICITING". And I already posted about the two signs on the front door RIGHT AT EYE LEVEL.

Didn't stop little old lady from pounding away like a jack hammer on my front door and setting the dogs off on a barking spree.

What the hell do I have to do to get the point across here?

Yeah, the Lord wants me to know he loves me and I am welcome at your meeting, but did the Lord also tell you to ignore the fact that you just ruined my husband's "night" of sleep and now he will have to drive over an hour each way to and from work exhausted? Or can you just not freakin' READ?


You know, if they have no way of knowing I can cut them some slack. They are at least putting effort out to spread their faith. But being RUDE enough to IGNORE my signs saying they are not welcome? It just really has me ticked off.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Raining again....

It's supposed to be warm later today but right now it is just wet. I gave the ponies yesterday off. They are getting their winter coats in quite thick and I didn't want to make them all sweaty (lazy day, didn't feel like a lengthy cool out) so I hope it dries up enough to work them this afternoon. It is supposed to be 70 today. They will get all sweaty but it will be warm enough for them to dry without catching a chill. But if it is muddy I won't bother. Brego is just not terribly graceful or coordinated. He tends to slip and slide on those massive pie pan feet when the ground is mucky.

I'm almost done with these socks I have been working on for months now. Size 1 needles and baby weight yarn... takes a lot if knitting to make progress. Mind numbing, repetitive, knit purl knit purl knit purl arg! I think in the future I will stick with worsted weight yarn for my socks. It makes for thick warm socks and I need shoes a bit bigger to use them but they knit up a lot faster, haha!

I'm tired. This rain... ugh. I just want to sleep.

*curls up under her favorite blanky and closes her eyes*

Longevity in horses.....

I get two horse magazines, Horse Illustrated and Horse & Rider. I got the Horse & Rider because I got a cheap deal on it. It is geared toward western riders, and I do not ride western, at least I haven't since I was a teen. In fact I don't REALLY even ride English. I am a driver at heart, who would like to occasionally swing a leg over... But it has general horse care articles and such. And it is about horses, so I'll read anything about horses, hehe.

Anyway, two things in this month's issue just had me sitting here with my mouth hanging open. The first was in their letters column. It was a response to an article called "Size Matters" which suggested perhaps cutters and reiners might have longer careers if they were not started as long yearlings and two year olds, and pointed out that FEI-level jumpers can't even compete until they are 6. One response was "Have you forgotten what side your bread is buttered on? I'd expect this kind of commentary from an English magazine but not one with Western training as it's focus!"

I have to be honest, this left me shaking my head. I come from a horse world where horses are still in their prime into their late teens. They don't even start to compete until they are 4 or 5. They might get their first ride when they are 2, but usually they are closer to 3, 3 1/2. And their work at that age is mild. But then they go on to compete from the age of 5 or 6 until their late teens (I've even seen a few in their early 20's still competing at reasonably high levels).

I guess I was shocked that anyone would think discipline choice would have anything to do with the science behind the fact that a horse's skeletal structure is not mature at "just barely 2" and they might possibly stay sound longer if you wait a year to start them into heavy work and competition. So because Horse & Rider is a Western magazine they should just ignore that fact? Well, if we used that logic we would still be in the dark ages.

So then I read on and saw an article listed that said, "What an aged Quarter Horse stallion has taught Bob about making a horse last." So I flip to the page and see this: The "aged" stallion is 9.


I guess I knew that this was common in race horses. It's part of the reason that I am just plain NOT a fan of the race industry. But to read it about something not related to the race industry has me kind of flabbergasted. Is 9 really "aged" for a competition horse? If so I am glad I am not involved in competition. When I talk about longevity in a horse I am not thinking bout keeping him sound until he is 9, I'm thinking about keeping him sound until he is 23.

I guess I have just been really out of the loop. I'm probably way more shocked by these things than it warrants. I just can't wrap my head around the concept that a 9 year old stallion is "aged". Learning about equine longevity from a 9 year old reining horse sounds a lot like learning about old age in humans by studying 25 year old gymnasts.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stuff and nonsense.

Yesterday our buddy Jer was over and the guys were getting ready to head out on their ATVs. It was 15 minutes past the horse's dinner time. But I'd been pretty busy all day and had not worked Brego and I decided to push my luck. Let's see if the focus he gave me the other day carried over... so I tacked him up and the guys were standing by the fence chatting and smoking and Brego wanted so badly to stop and beg for grass but he went right around still paying attention to me even though he made his sad face every time he went past them. He was very good. When they went to start their atv's he took off running and it took two times around the area before I got him back focused on me (much to Jer's delight as I heard him make a comment to Tsu about "You wife getting dragged around by her horse..." I was actually running along sort of beside/behind to keep pressure on his face without putting TOO much pressure but it must have looked really silly anyway, haha!) but once he turned his attention back to me he was fine.

I'm just so delighted with how he is doing!

I finally caved and got a facebook. Tsu has had one for a while and left it neglected until recently, so I signed up for one. How did it already know I knew so many people? That is just creepy. lol. I tried to upload pictures and it wasn't working. It kept saying "server not found". I avoided getting a facebook for ages because I got sucked into getting a myspace and would prefer to just avoid those things completely but here I am, less than one hour into having a facebook and it is already annoying me.

Did I mention the salamanders yet? To make a long story short (I actually CAN do that, sometimes, you know!) we found a bunch of salamanders at our friends house and I brought some home. I'm feeding them meal worms and earth worms. OH MY GOSH! They re so stinking CUTE! This morning they were already sleeping when I dropped their food in since it was later than usual. I lifted up their piece of bark that they like to hide under and they were all piled around each other looking up at me with their bulging amphibious eyes, tangled together with their fat little over fed bellies... who would have thought I would get so attached to these silly things? I'll have to see if I can get any pictures of them. They are just so adorable.

Friday, October 16, 2009


It was DRY, it was SUNNY, it was COLD! But I got out and worked Mary and Brego this morning even if it was cold.

Mary likes to rip around at the end of the line for the first little while but I got her to walk nicely at the end of the line on her blind side very while Brego ate his breakfast. I always work her while he is eating so he can't slip her fat little butt food. A good hard run for 15 minutes would do her body more good but a nice walk for 15 minutes does more for her mind.

I waited until just before his lunch to work Brego. He was starting to look at me with a wary eye when I came to him with his halter in my hands because I leave him naked except when it is time to work. I never put a halter and lead on him while I groom him or oil his feather or spray his legs with Listerine. So I started to halter him before I feed him for no good reason aside from making it so he never knows if the halter means food or work and he doesn't try to walk away when I head his direction with it in my hands. Anyway, I like to end his work out with a spot of lunch (half pound or so of his feed) just so the last thing he remember from our time together is that I fed him. The way to a horse's heart is through his stomach, ya know!

Anyway, I decided it was time to move up a bit into grown up horsie territory. Up until now I have locked up the mini horses in a stall and plopped hay in front of them to keep them busy and out of sight while Brego works. And I have longed him for 10 minutes or so before putting on the lines and long lining him. But I don't want to start a habit of him needing to be longed before work so that was just a short term thing to teach him to get his mind in the right place before work. He has been working enough now that he should know what his tack means and pay attention. baby horsies get distracted and their human understands that and works them through it, tries to keep distractions to a minimum until they know a little more. Grown up horsies have to learn to work through those distractions.

So we went right out to our work area and the surcingle and long lines went right on. Mary and Sparrow stood by the corner watching through the fence. Mary would scream at the top of her lungs when we were stopped at the other side of the paddock, lol. I got my lines arranged and said, "WALK ON!" and he stepped right off straight as an arrow. He always tries to trot down the slight hills but I pulled him back and for the first time was able to rate his speed reliably. We did a lot of turns and he started to really soften up and give me some bend. He was paying attention right from the start, even better than he does when I longe him first.

My cue for trot is to say "Teeee-ROT!" and when I asked for it he immediately broke into a trot. His corners and turning are not so hot at the trot, but they are there. He is just not terribly coordinated about it. So I'm happy with what I am getting from him on that so far. He is trying, even if there is some resistance. Even when he got willful and was trying to blow through my hands to get to his minions after a brief head tossing moment he sighed and came around just fine.

Then we worked on stopping several times. He seems to have stopping down pretty well, but not so much the "standing still after stopping". So we worked on that. He threw one hissy fit where he tried going backwards and sideways before realizing he couldn't get away from me and just started behaving again. I ended by going back to basics and working on getting him to flex and give me his head at a stand still.

45 minutes. Longest work session so far. He was active, willing, sharp, soft and responsive. He paid attention to me, aside from the one moment of wanting to go hang with his buddies. I switched his feed from a complete feed to a mix of pellets and grain and I think he is doing better on it. He is carrying his weight different, more up around his spine and less in his belly. But he also seems to be more mentally active.

I was really delighted with our work today. I had a massive grin and was just bursting with pride at how well he had done. I'm sure I sounded like a complete moron telling him what a good boy he was after his work out. I was talking in my "dog voice". lol. I ended it with an Altoid (he LOVES those) and some lunch. Then I took his halter off and gave him a good head scratching. He loves those, too, but not as much as the Altoids.

He has filled out enough through the back that the teeny English saddle is too narrow but my Australian saddle is too wide. Just barely. But that is OK, he is filling out more and more through the back, and I am having lots of fun long lining him, so no rush.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Muddy Ponies.

We've finally had more than one day without rain! HUZZAH!Two full days of not rain (not sun either but at least not rain).

I took these pictures right after the rain stopped. They LOVE gettin' filthy.


They even muddied up the inside of the barn right inside the door, ugh:


Even Mary is piggy:


It was still raining when I took these. Well, at least i had a month where his skin looked great, after all this junk even keeping him oiled/listerined as much as possible he is getting scurfy. Not scratches yet thankfully. He'll be right as rain (ha ha ha) if it stays dry for a while.



They HAVE dry places to stand they just never stand there. *rolls eyes*

I'd like to get some current pictures of them all now that their winter jammies are coming in but every time I clean them up it rains again and they get all filthed up from head to toe.

Sparrow, for once, didn't get all muck covered. He'll make up for it next time, though, I am sure.

The painfree muckbucket method of filling a hay net.

Well, relatively pain free. I took these pictures to show someone on a forum and figured why not use them all here too?

First, your humble narrator on her way to the barn to take the pictures and feed the horsies their dinner. Everything that looks knit I knit myself, lol:


Please note the ratty old trailer, over grown yard, and assorted dishes on the roof. Yeehaw! Looks like home to me!

A word of warning... I took these pictures on top of my grain bin, which is a "re-purposed" fridge. It was rusty and gross when I got it, and has not improved with age. It keeps the mice out of the feed and was free so I'm not going to complain. Also, the muck bucket is not a standard sized muck bucket. It is a bit smaller and much worse for wear. I actually use the good muck bucket for other things so the ratty cracked one gets hay duty. I tossed a burned log into it once not realizing how hot it was still, so, um, the stuff inside that looks like poo? Not poo. Singed plastic.

My supplies, ratty muck bucket and mini mesh hay net (I will not use a regular hay net... no way, no how, not ever. Not after seeing a few horses with injuries from them):


Now I reach down through the top of the net and grab the center bottom and pull it through to turn the bag inside out:


Inside out bag:


Then I pull the bag over the open end of the ratty muck bucket:


Then I pull it down so that the bottom of the net is pulled tight across the top:


Now if this were a normal sized muck bucket I could just stick one end of a hay bale in here but it is a little small and I don't pack a whole bale in there anyway. So I start by sticking a few flakes in first to fill the bucket:


Then I stand the rest up on top of that (weird perspective on this looks funny, flash washed all the colour out of the hay, it's not as strawlike as it looks, lol!):


Then I pull the net up around the sides and tighten the rope:


The finished product, a full hay net with very little hassle and no cussing or swearing!


Notes: if you are using a large mesh hay net OR have horses with halters/shoes on even if they are small mesh do NOT tie your hay nets this low! ANY hay net can be dangerous to horses. Heck, a padded room and bubble wrap blankets could be dangerous to a horse. If there is any way to get hurt they will. Just try to be smart and careful and if you do decide to use hay nets this way of filling the stupid annoying things is much simpler than just trying to stuff flakes into it.

I don't fluff the hay before cramming it in because I WANT the horses to have to really work to get the hay out. The tighter the flakes are and the tighter they are crammed in there the better.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Almost three days with no computer...

... not that i didn't have one, I just couldn't be bothered to turn it on.

I finally got the most recent addition to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon from the library and was far too engrossed in the story to break long enough to actually do anything like check my email or go on forums or post in my blog.

To be honest, it was kind of nice.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The toe, two days later... gross foot pictures included.

The bandage seams to have pushed all of the bruising around to the inside edge, hehe. Excuse the ugliness of my tootsies *grin*. I did shave my toes before taking the pictures so you wouldn't be subjected to my hobbit feet.




Delightful, isn't it? hahaha!