Lately, I feel a little bit like someone threw me in the washing machine and left it set at “spin” – there’s so much going on, yet not a lot to show for it, and every time I feel like I’m almost organized there’s more to do or keep track of.
The horses are essentially doing well. At the Damascus farm, we are down to Parker and Kat, as Klondike left for North Carolina a few weeks ago, where he is getting ridden all over creation and hopefully will find a buyer. This week has quite a challenge in store for Kat and her volunteer Laura, as they are going to be getting some lessons, starting with a dressage lesson from Stefany Wolfe. Stef is a stellar rider and trainer, and she gave me some great instruction in the past, including on Mr. Klondike, so this should be a learning experience for all of us. I will be taking some video clips, if I remember to charge up my camera 🙂 Parker is doing well but managed to slice open his leg, on the inside back of his knee, which now has developed proud flesh (and last week, it was Kat who scratched her cornea… what’ll it be next week?)
On Sunday I managed to drag myself over to Happy Horse Hill disgustingly early… or maybe it just felt that way because of the Baltimore Halloween Party the night before? In any case, I got there to meet up with a woman from North Carolina interested in looking at the mare “Call Sister.” I think we blogged about her here before a little bit, as she was in Damascus for a while and had a few months of hacking and work with our volunteer/PR manager/VP Deidra.
Yep, she’s cute. In any case she went back to the other farm as we had limited room and funds to keep horses in Damascus, and she had some foot soreness we wanted to let work out. Now, she is immense and fat, in saddling her up to show her this weekend I found she took the 54″ girth that I have for my draft cross, who also has a good two inches on her in height.
So I hopped on her Sunday thinking she’d be the same as she was the last time I hopped on her, only to realize a bit belatedly that it could be a bad idea to have that expectation when she hadn’t been ridden since very early spring, and she was snorting at everything. I got her around the ring a few times in a very crooked trot, and she kept cantering when I didn’t ask her to, and at one point I think she tried to do the squeal/buck thing, except she might be too portly to really pull it off at the moment. Super. Figures right? And she’s so easy to ride generally that all I could do was laugh.
I also pulled out Archie, who is looking awfully homely right now in his shaggy winter coat. I hadn’t actually seen him move, even though I’ve hopped on him before, so I free lunged him around so that he could show off a little. While his canter needs some work (once you actually get him to canter, anyway), he has quite a nice trot and really uses himself nicely. I know he was coming up sore when being worked up at Jess’s, but he looks awfully sound now. Hopefully that trend continues, because he is very nice (and OH he will clean up so well… he’s going to be stunning with some work and weight)
A bit later another prospective buyer showed up to look at some mares to potentially add to her breeding program (a very, very nice local warmblood program). Which meant that I got to walk all the way up the giant hill… again. To folks who don’t know, this hill may be one of the biggest in Maryland. OK, probably not true, but it feels like it. Every time you think you’ve gone really far and are near the top, you look up and realize you still have more than halfway to go, and the rest is steeper. This hill does wonders for horses, but for me, it serves only as a depressing reminder of how little time I spend in the gym. My calves are aching today, not from riding but from that stupid hill. We’ve had volunteers out who won’t come back after that hill. So, yeah. Twice up the hill yesterday. Thankfully, the precipitation had stopped before I got there (and the sun even came out) or I’d have called it a day much earlier.
Once that ordeal was over I figured I’d grab some of the geldings to take for little spins. Cecil was up first, as I think he’s great and he’s just such a funny horse. True to form, he spent most of his grooming time trying to nip me on the butt, then turning around like he hadn’t done anything. But as usual he was happy for me to get on and seemed awfully pleased to be doing something. I took him up a hill behind the farm that serves as the entrance for the trail system. He was a little lookier than normal, snorting at a lot of stuff, so instead of going on an actual trail we just worked around at the top of the hill a bit, where there’s a nice flat grassy area overlooking the farm. Unfortunately he seemed a little sore on one hoof, where he’s managed to chip himself, so I did not do a lot, just brought him up and back, basically.
Then, full of excitement, I walked back all the way across the gelding field to grab Leo, the new love of my life. Got him in, groomed, and started to tack up when I was stopped by the farm owner, who said he’d just abscessed and probably shouldn’t be ridden. He had walked in just fine, so that news surprised me a little bit. I decided to take some conformation photos instead, which is… an adventure. Don’t get me wrong, I adore this horse right down to every little conformational inperfection, but he’s sort of… unfortunate. I haven’t pulled the photos off the camera yet, but snagged this one with my cell phone (from the display of my regular camera):
So, forgive the fuzzy pic-of-a-pic-display, I will have the real ones soon. But I kind of have to post it, you know? He really is the sweetest thing on four legs, and interestingly enough, once you get him moving he can look very fancy. See? Here’s a fuzzy pic-of-a-pic-display in motion.
Hmm. I can’t seem to get that picture centered, but you get the idea. Despite the sway-back he seems to be able to use himself pretty nicely and in motion his flaws are almost non-evident. In any case, I didn’t keep him moving long – while he was walking just fine, at the trot his recent abscess was more evident. The farrier was out today so hopefully everything checks out.
In other news… the life of a volunteer can be really overwhelming at times. I’m not even getting the half of it, but I’ve taken over checking the mailbox for emails about our horses, which could be a job in itself. Anyone who’s ever sold a horse knows all about that. Fortunately I have it set up to automatically sort emails and auto-reply so I don’t go too crazy. I also have checks to get in the mail, volunteers to schedule, videos to take and edit, photos to edit and get online, investigation/research to do… all with no internet at home. Oy. Till next time (which will hopefully see the better leo pictures, and an announcement about auction dates and a URL so everyone can get on, list items, and browse.)