Tag Archives: life

Let the De-Fuzzing Begin!

I discovered something sort of cute about Archie the other day.  I pulled into the driveway and saw his pasturemate was not in the field with him.  He was buried in the haypile as usual, but as I drove by I stopped, and rolled down the window.  “Archiiiieeeee!!!  Hi ArchiiieeeeEEEE!!!”  Up came his enormous buffalo face, and he talked back to me.  He’s got this great, deep, low pitched breathy greeting neigh, and it about melted my heart with the cute.  The only other horse that ever “talked” back to me like that is Allie’s amazing horse Phinny (who is pictured on this page – he is magic, pure and simple!).

In any case, this was the weekend of the attempted de-fuzzing of Archie.  I intended to give him a bigger clip than I usually do (normally I do a rough “bib clip” sort of thing) but my clippers couldn’t handle the yak hair.  The blades are dull and his coat is amazingly thick and long – plus he is recovering from a case of skin funk, so there’s some difficult going in there.  My clippers were heating up too much and he was getting irritated, so the only thing he got clipped was his chest and the lower part of his neck up to his jaw. 

Horse? Or Yak?

Looking Slightly More Civilized

I managed to trim down a lot of the excess hair off his jaws. I didn’t want to shave his face, or accidentally take chunks of hair off, so this was a pretty delicate operation.  Overall I managed to do an OK job – I wouldn’t take him to a show tomorrow, but his face looks a lot less like a buffalo now.

After that I hopped on for his first official ride in our indoor.  He was fine to get on, stood at the mounting block like a champ, and then we wandered around for a bit.  He takes a fair amount of leg to keep going, and is much more typically “green TB” than Kat was, in terms of how he goes.  He tends to want to go in a big oval instead of going straight, then turning and bending, and going straight again.  The canter is obtainable – it’s a bit of a big push at this point, especially the left lead (to the left he wants to lean in and cut the turns much more than he does to the right.  Which could be him but is also probably a lot to do with me, too!)

The other hilarious thing he does is try to attack his reflection.  My own horse, sometimes, will snake his head and bare his teeth at other horses while we are in the ring (bad boy!) – Archie does the same thing… to himself.   Every time we went by the big mirror at a speed faster than walk, he pinned his ears at himself and went “GRRRRRR!!!!” (well, if a horse was capable of such a noise, that’s what he did).  His head would come up and he would act all ferocious.  The first few times he did it, I didn’t even realize what was happening – I thought he was just having a tantrum about bit contact, or something.  It took a while for me to catch on but by the end of the ride I couldn’t stop laughing.

I also think part of him cutting off half the ring to the left was seeing his reflection in one of the end mirrors – he could see this “other” dark bay horse coming at him, and wanted no part of a head on collision.  That took some working through, and I’m still not sure he gets it.

It’s funny, psychologist types who study brains and animals and behavior often will remark on the ability to see the reflection and understand it as a sign of intelligence.  Like, rats generally don’t understand their reflection, but chimps do.  It’s a sort of self awareness thing.  Horses are interesting because some of them seem to get it (Kat – when she saw something else in the mirror, besides her, she knew enough to turn around to see it in ‘real life’) and others don’t (Archie).  But I’m not sure it’s a sign of intelligence, because Archie seems to learn very quickly and retains things well (I can tell that in the short time he was with Jess he still has some “buttons” from her, and it’s been quite a while!). 

After the ride I tried to continue the defuzzing by doing some mane pulling, but Archie is NOT a fan.  I will probably work on this over a few weeks and see if I can get him to stand the way I got my horse to (he HATES it – but essentially I rewarded him with a treat every time he kept his feet still, until he stopped trying to move around.  He’s allowed to do whatever he wants with his head and neck, as long as the feet stay put.  It was a long process).  I will probably clean it up with scissors (gasp!!!) and a thinning comb, but will work on this as it’s something that helps his adoptability 🙂

I also took some other ‘before’ photos, for the record.  I really think as he gains muscle and sheds, he’s going to be a really pretty horse.  For now, the masses of 6″ long yak hair are sort of hiding that fact, but you watch!  He’ll look great in a month or two! 

Horse or Moose? You decide!


Cute Face! Minus most of the Beard!

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Warning, this will be a little photo-heavy.

I got a comment from someone the other day asking for updates on the best horse ever, Mikey Moo. So, though I was planning on doing a very quick check out at Club Paradise for Horses, I brought along my camera to do a run-down update on all the horses I could find out at the Funny Farm.

First off, this sounds like a minor undertaking, but trying to photograph attention starved thoroughbreds out in a herd while in knee-deep mud is a challenge. And though today was the first day of Winter, here we call it Mud Season. In MD, I’m pretty sure that mud actually falls from the sky as its own special form of precipitation. It is everywhere, and it is nasty.

Fortunately for me, within moments of my arrival all the horses in Giant Field #1 came thundering down the hill for a visit to the water. One minute, it was just me and a sea of mud. The next, I was surrounded by over a dozen running, kicking, and snorting horses spooking at the huge wind gusts and jockeying for space around the waterer. I think the part of my brain that is supposed to say, “hey dude, twenty horses are galloping down a muddy hill directly toward you and kicking at each other, you may want to move” doesn’t work very well.

Once they were settled, I started snapping pictures and visiting.



First up was her loveliness Miss Rosey. Rosey has gained an appreciable amount of weight now that she’s at the Fat Farm, approaching (but not quite) the standard set by Klondike. She is also now barefoot (no doubt aided by the mud) and wins the cleanest horse of the day award. She is far, far too ladylike to bathe herself in such muck, unlike the hooligans she’s been hanging out with lately.

blog-02-wekNext we have the lovely and ample Wek. Wek thinks very highly of herself, and I noticed during the stampede to the water that she seemed to be acting the part of Lead Alpha Mare, except that no one else was taking her seriously. She reared and kicked, trying to drive everyone away, and after a few moments she seemed to think she had succeeded- except that everybody else still got to the water before she did. In any case, Wek may be headed for a future involving a grazing muzzle, even though it’s not spring yet. I think the only horse at the farm who can currently match her girth is a lovely and sweet Belgian gelding whose name I don’t know.

Call Sister

Call Sister

Call Sister, a young mare who arrived over the summer, is finally looking like she’s exhaled. She was the only one in the group who allowed me to just walk up without pretending to make a fuss about it (they were using the wind as an excuse, I think, sure that I was not a person but actually some mud monster that had just crawled out of the ground). Sister is looking great, physically, and hopefully we’ll have her further evaluated soon. In the heat she sounded like she had a breathing issue, so she will be scoped for that before we see what she does under saddle.

Whisper and Cecil

Whisper and Cecil

Here we have a flashy chestnut two-for-one special of Whisper and Cecil. Whisper, who is the love of my life, made me a little sad today by reacting to me as though I were the aforementioned mud monster, shying away and not letting me get a hand on him, which is very unusual. He eventually gave in, but it took a little effort. Cecil, on the other hand, is the definition of predictability- a somewhat curmudgeonly fellow (hey, he’s earned it, as far as I’m concerned!) typically pins his ears at you and blusters, until you make it clear you don’t actually want anything from him. Then he’s all sunshine and roses. He’s looking quite sound on his bowed tendon, and his feet are finally starting to look far more normal.

Minnie and her mum

Minnie and her mum

And here’s the plain bay two-fer. I think (don’t hold me to it) that this is the lovely Minnie Ball (on the left) with her mother. I could be wrong, because there’s a whole slew of plain bays out there. But I’m pretty sure I’m right. Minnie will hopefully be coming in for evaluation and riding soon. She started off with a bang, when she came to us about a year ago, but then she injured her hock, necessitating thousands of dollars in surgery and vet care, and has had a bit of time off to recover. We’re pretty excited to get her in- in motion she’s lovely, exactly the kind of pretty hunter type I historically lust over.

<edit>  OK, oops.  Here is where, the first time through, I posted a pic I thought was Admiral, because he had pretty eyes and a Mikey muzzle.  But actually, Admiral isn’t back yet.  And it took me several minutes to sort out, but the horse I thought was Admiral I think is actually one of our volunteers’ horses. Oops.  Well I knew it was a thoroughbred, anyway, which counts for something, right?  In any case, Admiral will be back soon, in all his adorable pestness <end edit>

And… speaking of adorable pests, it’s time for the Mikey show.

Mikey waits at the gate

Mikey waits at the gate

For those who don’t know Mikeymoo, here’s a quick recap. Long ago, in a land far far away, lived a little tiny racehorse named Mikey. In his last race, Mikey crushed a bone in one of his ankles in the far turn. But the Racing Fairy favored Mikey, and sprinkled him with magic dust, which heartened and strengthened him. He fought back, and battled on, and with a rush he battled his way into first place, winning with spirit that not even Secretariat could equal (I’m biased).

Best Horse Ever

Best Horse Ever

Though the racing fairy had blessed Mikey, she couldn’t do much about his connections, who didn’t really want a horse with a crushed ankle. So in stepped CANTER (and Mikey’s Fairy Godfather, who had to put some money down to ensure his safety), and he has been with us ever since.

dec21-012Mikey has turned out to be sort of a mascot. He’s got loads of personality and will follow you all the way across the giant field and back. When we take him out for grooming, he often plants his feet at the gate, refusing to go back out (even though he’s often spoiled and won’t stand still for grooming and attention either). Today I made a novice mistake, and carried cookies out to feed Mikey. Naturally he made a beeline for the gate when he saw me coming. So I gave him the cookies right away. Note: when people say it’s a bad idea to take treats into a herd situation? Believe it.

What followed was really just ridiculous. Mikey already follows you around, but if he knows you have treats? Forget it. My mission to photograph the other horses in the field was foiled over and over again by the overzealous attempts on Mikey’s part to get more cookies.

Kasper (and Mikey)

Kasper (and Mikey)

See that butt in the background? That’s Kasper. Moments before, Kasper was looking at me, until Mikey wheeled around and kicked out at him, saying “HECK NO! that’s MY cookie dealer! Find your own!” So Kasper turned around and pretended he wasn’t interested, so that he could avoid any more beatdowns. Following this photo, Mikey followed me (he plays tag, did you know? If I ran, he chased me, except then he’d try to get in front of me and herd me almost, like, “no, we can’t go see other horses. You’re MINE today, comprende?”)

blog-13-parkermikey This is where I tried to get a picture of Parker, the new guy. He might win the Dirtiest horse of the day award. But I couldn’t get a clear shot for judging. Again, moments before, the subject of my photography attempts was standing calmly at attention, until Mikey decided we were TOO CLOSE and had to be seperated. They are HIS COOKIES and no one else can have ANY. Do you hear me?

Gutenburg being Chased Away

Gutenburg being Chased Away

Yep. My first attempt to photograph Gutenburg… and Mikey chased him away. So how did the next attempt come out?

Like This

Like This

So anyway. That’s Gutenburg in the background. He came in with little Stevie Colbert, and the two are going through a pretty similar process, in terms of “recovering” from the rigors of racing. Gutenburg, though, hasn’t had to contend with illness, so is a bit further along on the fattening up process. Unfortunately Mikey is not allowing him any extra caloried in the form of cookies.

I finally escaped Mikey and went to see the last few guys in a smaller field.



Klondike is looking pretty good. His feet are still a bit of a mess, but not as bad as they were when he first came back. He’s as fat as ever (though no competition with Wek for Fattest TB Award). He also is sticking up for himself a little bit- Truckee usually commandeers all the attention when I visit, but Klon wasn’t having it today. He wanted some face rubbing, and he was going to get it, and NO other horse was going to stand in his way. I have to admit I miss having Klondike at Southwind- he just is the sweetest thing since cheesecake. I sometimes consider what it would be like to own him, but the prospect of owning TWO horses with the dispositions of labrador retrievers is a little daunting.



Truckee, as usual, is hard to get a picture because he’s got to be all up in your bidness all the time, much like Mikey. I’m sort of glad they’re not together at the moment, or my foray into that field could have had a bad outcome. I’d have been needing police or fire assistance, or something, for sure.

blog-16-punchLast but not least is the wonderful Rutledge Punch. This horse’s turnaround has been so amazing- just a few short months ago, we were starting to be really worried about him. He looked awful: skinny, stumbly, and generally unhappy. He’s blossomed. And not only that, but word is that he will be heading for an awesome foster home in the Annapolis area. This horse thrives on attention, so this will be a perfect situation for him. I’m so happy to see him doing so well. 🙂

And that, folks, is that. I have a few riding updates on Afton, and hopefully some photos of Steven to share somewhat soon, but this was a lot of typing, so I will save that stuff for tomorrow, it’s past my bedtime!

OK, OK, so he’s not perfect (yet)

Yesterday I was forced to accept the fact that Afton is not perfect.  Yes, he’s quiet, fun, trail rides, crosses water and ditches, and jumps super easily, but the reality is that we have not been paying that much attention to a thing called “ring work.”

So yesterday I made a point of focusing on it, and I learned the following:

  • Afton has a giraffe head to rival Rosey, which is an accomplishment
  • Afton doesn’t quite have the ability to keep his body aligned on a curve, and likes to “motorcycle” his turns
  • He really, really, likes to chew and jaw on the bit
  • Once you have warmed up, he doesn’t quite get the point of walking
  • If you lean forward to pet him, that’s a signal to go back to work (my own horse, by the way, has the opposite view. Pats on the neck mean STOP, darnit!)

I knew a lot of these things before, but we’ve not really concentrated on working on any of them yet, so today was an adventure.  There was lots of this:

oy.  Just... Oy.

oy. Just... Oy.

I was on a horse bulletin board the other day where people were complaining about a movie poster for “Australia” because it showed abusive riding, because the horse was gaping in the mouth.  So now I feel like an evil horse abuser, though I was pretty much just letting him do his own thing (note the incorrect lead).  And do excuse my head, someone outside the ring was talking to me.  On a more positive note, we also got a little of this:

Happy trotting

Happy trotting

So he’s not real round or anything there, but I like how engaged he is behind, and how much he reaches in front.  He’s got to learn to sort of put things together, but he at least is a nice forward going guy.

After working around a little, and realizing that he gets a little anticipatory, AND he likes to do weird things on turns (in both directions, at different times, he’ll lean in, or bulge out, with different parts of his body), we went back to working mostly at the walk.  I know, boring, but I think the walk gets neglected a lot, even though there’s lots you can do. 

So I stopped, asked him to give his head in both directions (which he’s not real good at yet, either- this is not a flexible horse at this point in time).  Then we practiced an elementary turn on the forehand, to get him thinking about shifting the hindquarters in response to leg.  He’s actually pretty good at that, which surprised me a little.  After that, I began asking the same questions on a small circle- shift the hindquarters away from my leg, and turn from the outside rein.  He was jawing the bit like mad, and I’m starting to think this is just a habit, something he does when he’s thinking hard (kind of how like, when I’m concentrating like crazy, I bite/chew on my lips, which is more than anyone really wanted to know about me).

Eventually we went back to the trot, and just kept turning- figure eights, serpentines, etc… when he wanted to lean in and drift in on a turn, I just turned that into a little circle, working to get closer to a real bend.  It only halfway worked.  We did eventually get some really nice trot, where he tried to stretch down a little bit.  Of course, stretching down for Afton doesn’t mean very far… he doesn’t have that flexibility yet, but he tried, and we also found a nice, more comfortable and rhythmic trot. 

Afterwards we walked down the driveway and hopped one of the logs to end on a good note. 



A Heavenly Weekend

 Where to start?  I have no idea.  I feel like it’s been three solid days of CANTER awesomeness.  Starting Friday, when we went to the track to celebrate my impending oldness (yay! I’m almost thirty! Whee!)  We watched several horses we actually know (from listings, or through their trainers).  It’s kind of fun to watch horses you know, I always find myself pulling a little harder for them than I do usually.  We met up with a trainer who has donated several of our  horses, as well, so it was a super fun night 🙂

After a night at the hotel, I hit the track early for a track visit, where we saw some more beautiful horses (it’s like a candy store, really).

Look How Much I LOVE the Track!!!!

Look How Much I LOVE the Track!!!!

It’s unfortunate that the weather was miserable.  It wasn’t cold, but frequent bursts of rain and fog made photography difficult.  Just the same we saw some real beauties:

It’s such a good thing my wallet is so light, or I’d have a real collection problem.

Today was Funny Farm day, and we had a lovely time out there (except my camera experienced some functional difficulty, so there is no photographic evidence).  I decided that despite the thirty degree temperature drop, and intense fall wind, that today would be a really good day to finally get up on Wek and see what she would do under saddle.  I meant to do this ages ago but decided against it that day, as she was spooky and I was alone.  Today, however, I had help, so I figured it was a Great Decision.

Tacking up was pretty uneventful, except for the fact that I could barely get her girthed up.  She is a large lady, and I brought the girth out accordingly- it’s a 54″ I usually use on my draft cross.  On Wek?  Just barely got it buckled.  After some struggling, I managed to get it on the first hole on each side, a feat that left my arm muscles feeling well worked.

Mounting was sort of a different story.  Jenn helped me hold her at the mounting block, but something about that just didn’t sit right with her, and Wek had what is best described as a “moment”- by which I mean she may have taken off around the ring broncing.  Well, “taking off” is the wrong word, because she didn’t actually GO anywhere, she just crowhopped in a small, really slow circle.  When she was done, I went back out and caught her, and tied up the reins and had her free lunge around a little bit, to get her moving out and more relaxed.

Then we went back to super easy basics.  I brought her back to the block, and first walked her in a wide circle around it.  Gradually I brought her closer to it, then I stood up on it and patted her all over.  Then we’d repeat the whole process a few times.  Finally I had her standing close enough to get on, and after flopping the stirrups and leaning on her, I hopped on.  Fortunately there were no theatrics, and the big thing from there on out was simply to get her to move.  Even Afton has nothing on Wek- getting her going was just NOT happening with leg and voice alone, I had to actually get her moving by sort of pulling her in a circle with the reins. 

Getting her to trot was a bit of fiasco, but I think we managed to get four or five very small steps.  Figuring it’s always better to quit while ahead, I hopped off and we threw her back in the field.  She took off at a dead gallop, whinnying desperately to her friends.  One would think we had locked her in a stall for DAYS and deprived her completely of any freedom, from the exuberant way she rejoined the herd.  It is nice to know, though, that she IS capable of some forward motion. 

After checking on Punch, Klondike, Whisper, and Truckee (who also got a little groundwork today, since he is very bored), it was time to head home to hope on whoever needed hopping on there.

It’s probably not much of a surprise that I chose Afton- he’s pretty much my Horse of the Moment, and I think he’s pretty amazing.  That, and another volunteer was riding Bid, and Stephen is getting several rides per week too.  As usual, he was easy to catch and perfect for grooming and tacking up.  I wasn’t sure how he’d be in the indoor- I know he’s been perfect for everything so far, but it was quite windy, and there was a horse lunging in addition to several others being ridden.

As always, I need not have worried.  He settled right to work, and was very nice and forward off the leg (but not rushing around either- he’s really a delight and just so comfortable to ride!).  We practiced some transitions, and I attempted to keep him out on the rail more than last time- he likes to drift in and cut his turns.  Once we get our communication more practiced, I don’t think he’ll have any trouble bending and staying out on his turns.  Right now, we’re both a little crooked in some ways, so we just have to figure things out a little bit. 

At the canter he was lovely about picking up the right lead, but in a move that’s unusual for him, he had some trouble with the left (probably me, I’m a bit of a leaner).  After the second failed attempt, I let him canter on, to make sure to reward him for moving up to the canter as requested.  Without me really doing anything or trying, when we got to the corner he switched his lead (well, in front anyway).  I put him on a circle and made a point of pushing his shoulder back IN on the circle, and he switched his hind lead as well. 

Because that wasn’t enough awesomeness for one day, I then pointed him at a little crossrail, which he stepped over once, and then jumped the second time.  He also trotted over a crossrail set on a gymnastic line (poles on the ground following).  After that, we went down the driveway, where we jumped two of the logs, and also the ditch. 

It was really hard to get off, but it’s hard to top that, and he was super wonderful, even “magical” as we like to say 🙂   He’s going to be a really special horse for someone- if he jumps that easily even with MonkeyLike Me climbing all over his back, imagine what he’ll do with a great rider?

Whoa! There’s a big engine in that thing!

Last night I arrived at the barn late, around dusk, and had to really book it to go get Afton in before it got too dark to find him.  Once I got him inside under lights, I groaned… he was COVERED in mud.  He looked like he’d been having a REALLY good time out there.  After a few minutes of totally fruitless scraping (resulting in me breathing in about twenty pounds of dust, I’m still coughing it up this morning.  You know you wanted to know that!) I gave in and decided to introduce Mr. Afton to the vacuum cleaner of death.  At least, that’s what my horse calls it, as he’s sure it’s possessed.

Afton, though, is a different animal.  Only four and with limited life experience, he still decides things are not worth getting too excited about.  In fact, he seemed to like being vacuumed, and wonder of wonders, there was a very shiny coat under all that cemented dust.

So, we can check that off on the list of “things Afton has successfully been introduced to.

After tacking up, it was off to the indoor for a nice little ride.  I was anticipating his usual self- the Afton that takes some urging to get going, and mostly stands at the mounting block, but what I got was something a little different.  Eager to get going, he sprang away as I mounted, and after one circuit of the ring insisted that it was TIME TO TROT.  C’Mon lady, what are you waiting for? 

He was very forward, taking no urging at all from me.  But he’s still quite directable- turning and circling, doing serpentines and rudimentary spirals.  He doesn’t get the bending thing quite yet, and likes to fall out onto his shoulder, but he learns quick.  Even at the canter, he remained that directable despite a little more speed than I’m used to from him.

We did have a little more trouble with “whoa” than we usually have.  He would slow or stop as requested, but the standing still thing?  Not so much.  He tried REALLY hard, but just couldn’t contain himself, wanting to sidle sideways, and starting to bounce a little.  By bounce, I mean “get excited” only, nothing actually came up off the ground.

In a normal horse, I’d attribute this slight change in attitude to things like- he’s being ridden at night, which is new to him.  Or, it’s his first real ride in the indoor.  Or perhaps it’s because there’s no other horses in there with him in that cavernous space.  But Afton is different, special.  Things just don’t bother him, he’s proven over and over that he’s got one of the best equine minds around.

So I came to the conclusion yesterday that Afton may secretly be a vampire horse.  Like Bunnicula (if anyone remembers that besides me, please leave a comment, it will make me feel like less of a dork).  Clearly, he likes to sleep and be verrrrry lazy during the day.  At night, he’s wide awake and bursting with energy.  The vegetation in his field is looking suspiciously sucked-dry of juices lately.  So what else could it be?

In other news, we have discovered Afton does not know what to do with a gingersnap, but likes black Twizzlers and the peppermint cookie things that he stole out of my horse’s treat bucket.

A Little Vacation

So, at last, Rosey-ness is back in town, but is out at the Funny Farm to get a little break from hustle and bustle.  She ate up some love from some volunteers over the weekend and seemed happy as could be even in a strange new place. 

In the meantime back at the ranch, there are two horses getting worked with in hopes of preparing them for adoption.  Darling baby Afton is one, and has already had one potential buyer come to look.  Another is the adorable Stephen Colbert, who is mostly being trail ridden to strengthen him up.  Stephen seems much more body sore than Afton and some of the other guys, so he’s getting introduced to real life very carefully. 

No worried, pictures soon!

While you wait, though, here’s a fantastic story from the Baltimore Sun:



Spa Treatment

Hmmm… when is the last time I had a massage? I don’t remember.  I don’t remember the last time I had a pedicure either, but Rosey got both this weekend. 

I find massage for horses to be a pretty useful tool- I’m not sure if it helps them over the long term, but I think it does help them feel better, and it’s also a very useful diagnostic process for riders.  You can find out about specific areas of soreness, uneven muscle development, or how muscles are building.  Having an objective person around who can track these things over time can be very instructive.  This was only Rosey’s first visit from the masseuse, but she brought up several things that will probably change how I ride her.

Probably most important is some soreness in her back just by the wither and in the area above the end of the scapula.  My immediate best guess for the cause of that is probably my saddle.  It didn’t seem to fit her too badly- just sits a little low, but that’s probably enough to cause the problem.  So I’m going to experiment with padding a little, or use another saddle on her from here on out.  In addition to that soreness, the masseuse found some more through her neck- but this, she said, was more the “good kind” of soreness, the type that comes from developing new muscle and exercising.   In her back legs, it was found that she was a little uneven in terms of her muscle tension and reaction to the massage.  Her left leg was more “tight” than her right, staying tense even through the massage.  We’re guessing that is likely due to the giant scrape she got in turnout on her right hind leg, as it had gotten a little swollen so she was probably transferring more weight to the left hind leg.  If that’s not the problem, then she’s definitely using herself unevenly, so we have to just continue to work on that.

After the massage, we had a lovely little walk with a friend, where we scared up a couple deer and otherwise had a lovely time.  Recent storms had left a lot of trees down, so in addition to the usual trail stuff, we had our first encounter with four-wheelers and dirtbikes, as some of our neighbors were out clearing the trail (thanks guy! we owe you a beer!).  One of the trees they cleared had fallen very high- so they cleared out underneath the main part of the trunk, and we had to go underneath it.   For the first time ever, I think we’ve found something that worried Miss Rosey.  She’s been under trees and branches before, but this one was pretty big and pretty low, the kind where you have to flatten yourself against the horse’s neck so you don’t hurt yourself on it, so it was right in her line of vision.  She hesitated, so Sugar led the way and Rosey followed, walking under the trunk but also trying to flatten herself down a little.  Once her head was on the other side she scooted out from underneath the tree and then shook her head a little, like, “I can’t believe we survived that!”  (she repeated this exercise the following day, but was a little braver about it)

Sunday was pedicure day.  This is probably one of the few things Rosey really does need more work on.  We think that prior to coming off the track, she very likely was just given sedatives for having her feet done, so she never really learned that it’s not a big deal.  So she’s developed a little habit of trying to force her foot down when she’s tired of holding it up (and when the farrier starts driving nails, she really doesn’t like that sensation apparently).  She was MUCH better than the last time, and stood very well for having the shoes pulled, and feet trimmed and rasped.  But when it came time for new shoes- she reverted a little.  It’s hard to explain to a horse that they are making the situation worse for themselves (they’re sort of like five year old kids that way, I guess).  Fortunately by the time we finally got to the last nail, she more or less gave in and stood there like a lady.  I will be working on this more on a day to day basis, so hopefully next time will go even more smoothly.

Cecil also got his feet done yesterday, which was a bit more of a project.  His shoes were left on for a little while as the bow in his left tendon was fresh and he had some trouble picking up the other feet for any length of time.  But they really needed to come off as soon as possible. 

Not textbook farriery.

Not textbook farriery.

This ended up being quite a project for our farrier, though Cecil behaved himself impeccably.  The toe is stretched quite far forward, heels left very long, and underneath all the dead, flaky sole, the actual sole is quite flat.  It’s not hard to see how he might have gotten his bowed tendon.  He is now without shoes, and the farrier “fixed” the feet as much as she dared.  But there’s a lot of work to be done (and to boot, some thrush treatment is necessary as well).

Rosey is Magic (again)

Rosey shows us a big girl trot

Rosey shows us a big girl trot

So, I am back from vacation/wedding madness, and am very pleased to find out that Miss Rose was a star (did we expect anything less) during her time with Trainer Extraordinaire while I was gone. This will be very short, because I will be getting the full rundown on how things went, and what to work on, when I get to the barn later this evening.

So here’s the email I got:

She’s the diamond in the rough. She has a lot of the qualities I look for in a horse. Big, soft, kind eye, genuine character and beautiful balance in all three gaits.

Someone is going to be very lucky to have her. Don’t be fooled by her less than grandiose stature:)


Now if that doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy, it’s hard to imagine what would 🙂

A Trip to the Funny Farm

Hooray for us! Rosey’s blog has exceeded 1,000 hits and really, we’re just getting started! Today’s entry is just a fun one, we didn’t go for a ride today, but I went with Allie and Deidra to the Farm for Recovering Canter Ponies, so that we could visit the goonies and also spend some time talking to a reporter who is interested in writing a story on CANTER.

Because visiting these horses is such a hoot, I decided to basically let them speak for themselves and fill the rest of this entry with pictures of their gorgeous selves.  Enjoy!

Here, let me help you with that halter thing...
Here, let me help you with that halter thing…
like teenagers at the mall, we take self portraits of ourselves

like teenagers at the mall, we take self portraits of ourselves

Deidra gets the "hey, me! me! Pay attention to me!" treatment

Deidra gets the "hey, me! me! Pay attention to me!" treatment


The gorgeous new girl (a 3 yr old filly)

The gorgeous new girl (a 3 yr old filly)


Wek has gotten gorgeous! And gets some scratchins

Wek has gotten gorgeous! And gets some scratchins


Bid makes sure he'll be part of the story

Bid makes sure he'll be part of the story

It would be easy just to spend all day visiting these guys.  They are just so goofy! And it’s so interesting how they change- sometimes when they arrive, they don’t want to be caught and are rather antisocial (case in point, Wek).  As they start to exhale and relax, they just get happy.  And then when they decide life is pretty good, suddenly they realize people are cool, and worth their time.  And then you finally get to see what their real personality is like.
Tomorrow, the plan is a nice trail ride with Miss Rose. I will attempt the mounted video-taking if anything interesting happens, but I’m not quite as talented with that as some others among us are…  till tomorrow!