Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
We start with the "starter bit". Yes, it's actually a pelham, but we only use it for it's big fat rubbery mouthpiece.
And we work on stuff like
What should you be doing when you are asked to "Whoa"?
a. slam on the brakes and face your trainer
b. drag to a stop, and then inch backwards one step at a time chomping on your bit
c. engage your hindquarters, ease promptly to a stop, stand square on the circle waiting for the command to walk off
d. I'm sorry, what was the question again?
Actually, I'm pretty good at this. After a few sessions, I get used to carrying myself in a proper frame again. I never forget the words, and I have nailed every walk canter transition. Yay me! After a few short session a week on the longe, I can graduate to mounted work where we can do more interesting stuff like bending and leg yielding and maybe some ground poles. I plan on being all tuned up and ready for March when we can maybe get OUTSIDE again.
Yes, I know that I am allowed to go outside on my own, but it has been kind of scary looking out there lately. The other day it was really really bright like the aliens were landing behind the barn or something, and I'm scared to go by myself. If someone goes with me I'll stay out there and explore. But it takes a more courage than I can muster to walk into the light alone. Plus, the arena sand is nice and soft and great for running and playing. The ground out back is hard and rough. A guy could twist an ankle out there! I'd rather just stand at the door and look.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
This is "Mom". She's in charge around here.
She takes care of me from dawn until way after dark. She makes my hot beet pulp, makes sure I always have plenty of hay and dry bedding and brings me lots of goodies. She likes to garden so we get carrots and pears and things like that. I even took her for a little ride once. But mostly, she waits on us hand and hoof. All day long, every day. She contributes many of the photos here.
This is Brita. She is Mom's daughter. Does that make her my sister? I don't think so.
She is my BFF! Brita is the one who got me started blogging and helps me edit my writing. She doesn't live here but we see her about 4 times a week. She brings a lot of supplies and toys, and does my grooming. We go riding a lot! She is the only one who has ridden me since I got here when I was two years old. Except for that one time when I took Mom for a ride.
This is Uncle Dad. I used to call him Uncle Dick. Then he married Mom so I changed it to Uncle Dad. Everyone else calls him Richard.
But we all try to be nice to Uncle Dad because he does lots of stuff for us. Here he is this summer trying to keep our pasture (and barn!) from flooding. That tractor comes in pretty handy. Between mud and snow and stall cleaning it gets a lot of use.
So that is my human family. I'm a pretty lucky horse to have all these people at my beck and call all day. Of course, it does take a small village to manage all of the things I need doing all the time, and I appreciate all they do for me.
Monday, January 11, 2010
His human staff has been persevering despite the inconvenience of frozen buckets, frozen manure, deep snow, and general unpleasantness. Day in day out we head to the barn to battle the elements. The first battle is getting the sliding door open. No wait, the first battle is staying on your feet on the glare ice of the driveway. Still, we have not adopted too many of the modern conveniences that make winter horse care so much easier. We don't have hot running water, or a heated tack or feed room. The tractor and spreader are parked outside. There are no heated buckets in the stalls which seems just plain silly but would require some rewiring (in the summetime). I don't have an electric wall mounted bit warmer. If I decide to ride or long line, I have to spend 10 minutes trying to thaw out the bit. I do enjoy my chemical hand warmers though. Those are nice to have in my pockets when I start to lose feeling in my finger tips.
Owning horses in Western New York in the winter has never been easy, but I remember it being a whole lot more fun when I was younger. When I was a teenager, a fresh snowfall was irresitable, and I could be found charging bareback through snow drifts and hoping for at least a little bucking. One winter my sister and I spent so much time riding we literally wore the hair off them. Both of our horses had thigh shaped patches of fuzzy worn hair on their backs. When we got bored with riding, we found other winter activities like...
I even competed in the local Sleigh Rally a couple of years. I was so frozen in the photo below! I caught cold and missed three days of school. Actually, I saw that as a bonus.
A year or two later later, we found these note cards in a local gift shop... Ironic that Mom should have snapped the exact same photo.
In fact, it has been a long time since I rode in the snow at all. Much less exercise outside or practice a winter sport. Heck, with the weather we've been having, it seems inconvenient to leave my warm office in the afternoon go to the gym to work out, sloshing through ankle deep snow and braving winter roads. And, woe unto she who forgets her gym bag in the car all morning and has to put on cold shoes, or worse, shower with frozen soap! But, despite the "inconvenience" I soldier on, every other day, in the comfort of the nearby YMCA, keeping in shape so when riding weather returns I will be fit and ready to go... and will be able to get into the same breeches.
Friday, January 1, 2010
One momentous occasion was the arrival of the baby horse which awakened my studly instincts and made me want to gather a herd and act like a wild stallion. Now he has grown up to be a teenager. My how time flies!
In more quiet times, we followed the activities of my real family. This portrait features my big brother Preston winning at the Royal.
As the weather improved, we went riding. This photo was from last March when the ice first melted enough for me to make it out the driveway safely. Now the ice is back! Ho Hum...
Some days were just beautiful. The rest were RAINY!
We went galloping a lot. I LOVE galloping! Brita does too!
But we encountered many hazards. The worst of which was featured in the Great Cow Incident. Jeez! She still looks sinister lurking in the high grass! It was just as traumatic for Brita.
As it was a wet year with record rainfalls, I had many opportunities to plumb the depths of puddles.
And investigated all available soft earth.
Brita and Mom dealt with the consequences.
I struggled with my fear of confined spaces, and have gotten quite a bit better. Now you can shut me in the tin box without me trying to take it all apart.
Did some product testing which, basically, involves destroying things.
Although we sort of put my athletic endeavors on hold this year, I did do some actual work, and tried to further my education.
I learned some fancy tricks, and was photographed for a book.
And there was lots of fun and frolicking!
I'm looking forward to 2010 and hope it will be just as good or better for us all.
Happy New Year!