The rain washed all the ice away so we could go out on the side of the road and gallop! We've been stranded indoors long enough for that to sound like a wonderful idea despite the fact that it was pouring down rain. When we got back inside I was so itchy. The water was streaming down my legs and felt creepy in my coat. My considerate owner decided to let me take care of that my way instead of giving me a hot bath and a warm, fuzzy blanket like a human would think was appropriate.
I feel so much better. And I've dressed myself up with new markings.
My people made some rather unflattering comparisons about some of them.
This is not my first experience with being rained on and having to dry off with sand.
This marking is a rather common occurrence. Spiffy huh?
I still have a lot to learn about jumping. This week, my oxer was giving me trouble.
Everything looked fine at first...
But my joints started to feel creaky. And I began having trouble finding that sweet spot. My legs just wouldn't do what I wanted them to do.
Whoops! How embarrassing!
So, back to the cross rail with it's ground pole to help me find the take off spot.
When I step over the ground rail, I should be perfectly placed. X marks the spot.
I was finishing up my workout with one last try at the cross rail after totally demolishing the oxer. I had just stepped over the ground rail and was at the point of no return when off to my left from the barn, I heard a whinny of encouragement from the pony "You can do it William!" My ear flicked that way, and for a moment I hesitated... but wait, I was in the middle of something... wasn't there a jump around here somewhere?
So I took a page from the Thelwell Jumping Manual. I am no quitter. I have committed to this jump. From a stand still I jumped as high as I could straight up off all four. Certainly that would do the trick! To my right I heard Mom start laughing. And up above, Brita was sitting there wondering:
#1. Would we ever come back down?
#2. Which side of the jump will we be on?
Not to worry, my Herculean effort paid off. I had just enough forward momentum to carry us over. We landed safely on the other side. And I got to quit because, by golly, I didn't touch anything.
And thankfully, no one got it on on tape so no embarrassing photos will ever surface. You will have to rely on my description. I was gazelle-like. In the best possible way.
My work on my new playground equipment has me feeling fit and as sleek as can be.
We have gymnastic grids where first, I trot through poles, and then...
...we bounce out. (I like to bounce)
The cross rails keep me aimed in the right spot. These are easy. We trot up to them to keep me from getting over eager.
But there is something more complicated ahead. And it is sporting fresh, new, bright lumber... I give it the "stink eye".
It's an "oxer". Back in Merry Olde England, where fields are fenced with hedges, they would put a rail on one side to keep the cattle (oxen) from rubbing and pushing through the hedge. This rail was called an oxer. So, and hedge with a rail was an "oxer" . A rail on each side made the hedge that much more formidable for the hunters to jump. They could not just brush through the tops of the hedge. They had to jump the full height.
So, two jumps side by side, just as wide as they are tall, are called an "oxer". I am getting used to oxers gradually. Mine has a rail down but I still look at it funny because it is bright and new. Brita threatens to paint all our equipment white next year....
But still I have fun! I am the Horse with the flying tail!
I would have been SO good in this role! And, a little known fact about my real life personality: you know how movie horses always nicker and talk and all you horse experts think "that is so cheesy, real horses don't do that.... " well I do. I talk all the time. I'm a chatterbox.
I've been having trouble with buggies. And not the kind you think.
These things chase horses. I've seen it happen. Any horse that gets strapped to one of these things ought to receive hazard pay. If I were strapped to one I can tell you I would do my work in a BIG hurry. What's more, it means that there are some of those men with the scary hats lurking around.
It was the first river I ever saw. Don't ask why, but this direction...
Was much more scary than this direction...
We gave up trying the first direction and went through a swampy area instead. That was a much bigger deal for a horse who is allergic to Quick Sand. Then on the way back we tried again. I could see the gate to home right in front of me. At first I thought I might leap the whole thing. Brita thought that was a BAD idea. Especially because I had my head way down examining the footing. After I grazed on the bank for a few minute I screwed up enough courage to try stepping in.
Brita thought I might like to play in the water, but all I could see was that sheer precipice on the other side that I had to leap up. When I got down in I realized there was water. I like playing in water. Maybe next time I will be able to think about something other than the cliff and actually enjoy myself.
what you are told in spite of your better judgment.
Obedience. That’s what got me into the Evil Transporter
Device and off to the neighborhood schooling show. It looked harmless enough
standing there wide open in front of the barn.
There was nice fresh sawdust and a picnic lunch. So I got in. I haven’t been in it in years. Not even for a Sunday drive
around the block. Maybe nothing bad
Well, something did
happen. Brita tied me up and the back closed.
I got swallowed up just like always.
I wish it wouldn’t do that. When
the doors close and I’m left all alone I panic.
I lurch about and look for an escape route, and I yell for help. When help doesn’t come, I start
pounding. And I pound the whole way
hoping someone will hear that I’m trapped in there all alone. It does not matter if we go only five miles,
and never leave the 45 mph zone. I
throw a half ton fit.
This time the Evil
Transporter Device stopped almost as soon as it had started. But for me it was an eternity. With all my pounding, and panicking in 10
minutes I was dripping with sweat. When
the door opened and a familiar face appeared I was more relieved than I can
tell you. As soon as the back doors
opened up and I was able to look outside I regained control of my senses. But when I stepped off the ramp I gave a big
snort to announce my presence and claim this new territory as my own.
Where we had landed
appeared to be a horse farm. I haven’t
been off my own farm in five years and I can count on the nails of one shoe how
many strange horses I’ve encountered. Besides Face-Off, the pony and an
occasional Amish horse trotting by, we live a rather secluded existence. Here I was in the midst of a field of Evil
Transporter Devices with strange horses tied to them calling out
greetings. Because of my extreme relief
of having survived the transport and the excitement of seeing so many horses at
once I was feeling high as a kite as I floated along on the end of my rope
snorting and flagging my tail.
Brita took me to a
very big barn, the biggest one I’ve seen in a really long time. There were people standing around staring in
awe at the huge, snorting silver horse with the flying tail.
Bystander: "He's pretty. How old is he?"
Bystander: "Going on five?"
Brita was worried that they were awestruck at
such a display of uncontained energy and pointless snorting, but I’m sure they
were admiring me. I hadn’t actually done
anything wrong. Except startle a few people. One man asked if I was a Lipizzaner and could
I jump in the air and kick out? Why yes, yes
We walked all around
the indoor arena stopping to say hello to people behind a big window who smiled
at me and tapped on the glass. I reached
out my nose in greeting and put nose smudges on the window. The people appeared to be admiring me so I
didn’t worry about the window anymore. There
were so many things to see. Barrels and
hay piles and driving carts and at one end a box of the littlest, shaggiest ponies
I’ve ever seen.
Pretty soon Brita
said the show was about to start and that we should get ready. We went to a stall where Mom and Tim brought
all my stuff from home.
So this is a working vacation?
As we went through the
familiar tacking up routine I began to feel more comfortable and soon Brita was
on my back and we were headed out to make new friends.We went outside and walked around with the
other horses.I actually saw another
grey horse!I liked him right away. And there was an all black horse. We were complete opposites.
We stood and watched the other horses getting
ready for their classes.Some people
commented on how fast I calmed down.Well, I am a well-trained
riding horse.I can control my
shenanigans when it counts.We practice
standing around in the driveway talking to Mom at home all the time.I’m good at it.
There were a lot of
high headed, fancy looking Saddlebreds, and Arabians and Morgans. People in the barn would clap and cheer for
the horses who were working in the big arena.
This fascinated me. I stood at
the door and peered in, watching in wonderment.
I love to hear clapping and cheering and I couldn’t wait for my
Tim came and tried to
polish us up so we would look our best.
I felt all gritty from dried sweat, and this time of year I am like a
white haired hurricane so everything in close proximity will soon be covered in
When our class came I
was so excited! I was wound a little too
tight and everything I did I did quickly.
When you live mostly alone and always exercise alone, being in a herd of
running horses can be quite a heady experience.
The corners come too fast and horses rush by and it’s hard to ignore what
they are doing and concentrate on what you’re supposed to be doing. Especially when someone does something naughty
and threatens to bump into you. And
there was a metal sliding door at one end which made a loud pinging noise if
you kicked dirt against it. That worried
But I remembered my
lessons and even though I hadn’t had to work with other horses since that time
at the County Fair, I behaved respectably and didn’t make any big
mistakes. I got my leads and managed to
weave my way in and out of all the other horses in a tight space. We got to try a second time and I was more
relaxed and we moved up the ranks. I was
just having so much fun being with other horses. What do I care about the finer points of
navigating a circle like not dropping your shoulder and not staring at the
worrisome objects and relaxing and accepting the bit? It was just so much
fun! Wheee! And the people clapped for me! And Brita won some new grooming tools.
In a couple of short
hours it was all over. I had worked up
quite an appetite, and lunch was late. I
actually walked with eagerness towards my Transporter with visions of that
picnic lunch dancing in my head. I
wasn’t sure I wanted to get back in, obedience or not, but when I saw a pail of
alfalfa pellets, my eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas and I loaded myself
I would like to
report that I rode the five miles home quietly, but alas, that was not the
case. I pounded and shook the Transporter
even worse. Brita is sure that the
people in town thought she had a wild elephant caged in there. I did recognize our own driveway though, and
I was standing quietly hopeful when the doors opened. I was just as excited to be home as I had
been to be at the show. There was my own
barn, and my own barn cat, and my own pony, and the cows and everything. I just couldn’t believe it! Out and back and home safe for a late
lunch. That’s not half bad. Brita let me go right out and roll in the
sand and dry off all the tickly drippy sweat I’d worked back up. Oh it feels so good to be home.
Things are drying up around here. I'm running out of mud. I had to excavate a mud containment area in the chute to the back paddock. It took me a whole afternoon. You should have seen me when I was done. With all this mud stored up, I can be out of my horse show splendor and back in my comfies in no time flat.
Hi. My name is William Pendleton Grey. Registered Name "Pendleton". I am an 14 year old American Saddlebred gelding. I live in Western NY with my owner and a couple of other Saddlebreds. I am ridden Huntseat and Saddleseat. I enjoy hacking through the fields, some dressage work, and occassionally a horse show.
I come from a very famous family. My half brothers and sisters are always winning awards in fine harness, and park classes in the really big and important shows. My mother's name is Attache's Galatea (full sister to CH Unattached, Finally Attached, and Moet) and my sire is Deep Blue. Some of my famous siblings are CH Revolver (Day's Grecian Grey), Whitney Houston, Foxy Camilla and Paranormal.
A couple of years ago I tried to learn to be a five gaited horse, but it was a classic case of "white boy got no rhythm". I really like to go Huntseat, and galloping is my absolute favorite. My owner keeps me at home and says I am a "personal riding horse". But, she took me to the local horse show, and I got a blue ribbon on my first try. Maybe we'll go back and do that again. I really enjoyed it!