Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Winter is officially Over! I got a bath today. Not a bubble bath, but a pretty good bath, and my tail washed. It was warm and windy and I got to eat grass until I dried which was wonderful. First I had to do some work. Brita had that baby horse out and about. That made me jealous, and it fueled my wild stallion instincts and I had ideas of rounding up a herd of mares and exerting my dominance. Brita says that's just silly. I have to business dominating anything... we'll see. So, first she made me run around to get me out of my wild stallion mode. She put down the ground poles again, then she made the last one about as high as my knees. The first time I tripped over it because I had no idea "ground poles" could be that high. Pretty soon I had it figured out and was jumping over it easily. That was a lot more work than just running around aimlessly, and I got worn out pretty quickly and was ready to be done. That's when I got my bath. She washed a lot of dirt out of me that I will just have to put back tomorrow. I don't mind baths anymore, but the water running down my legs tickles and makes me stomp. She had even cleaned my chewed up halter so it's shiny again and put the new one she had to buy away so I can't ruin it. I'm all polished up and ready for summer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dentists.... again

You may remember that my first ever blog was about my dental checkup. Well, it happened again today. I must admit, I feel much much better today than I did last time. Whatever happy juice they gave my in January really kicked my butt! But, someone took notes (thanks Mom!)and that didn't happen this time. In fact, I remained quite alert through the whole procedure. Which had it's downside too.

They were really quite nice ladies, not the same ones that came before, and they came with a lot of stuff. They put a tape around me and gave me a poke in the neck. I was a little jumpy and snorty, but kept my feet still. It's hard to be rock solid when a strange lady is moving around you with sharp things. You have to be alert because they might not know what they're doing. Then I was led into the crossties where Brita turned me over to the "Nice Doctor". They put a tie down on my head (which was a new experience but OK by me) then they cranked my mouth open and came out with a machine on a cord. You all know how I hate cords. The machine was long and shiny, and it buzzed and whirred. It looked really sharp and painful and had a rotating disc on the end.

I arched my neck and made big snorty noises. The ladies got a little nervous sounding, and made soothing noises. Brita said "don't worry, I vacuum him and clip him, and he's fine." The "Nice Doctor" asked warily "Does he make that noise when you vacuum him?" Yes, he's snorty. "Can you clip his ears?" Then the vote of confidence from my so called friend "You can do anything you want to as long as you're quiet with him." Well thanks a lot. "Anything" covers a lot of ground. They might want to take me apart piece by piece with that little hacksaw. I don't care how quietly they do it, I'm not sticking around for it!

But they sounded reassuring, and they reminded me what a good boy I was, and how handsome, so I let them put the shiny, sharp, buzzing machine in my mouth. It tickled a little, and sounded funky in my head, but it was nowhere near as traumatic as the rasp and file routine I went through last time. I hardly even got tense. Until they started dulling down my eye teeth with a little file. Those are a little sensitive. Still, they said I was an excellent patient and gave me five stars for my great behavior in spite of the sound effects.

It was over soon enough, and they took off all the straps and let me rinse. Then they put my bridle on and made me say "Aaaahhhh" and felt around. They made some adjustments and put their heads together and talked a lot and felt around some more. After the bridle conference, I went back to my stall and got tied to the wall because I'm not supposed to eat until the medicine wears off. But, really, I feel pretty chipper. It was only a minor inconvenience. I don't mind it if they come back now and then.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Sites You See When You Live in the Country

Because it rained quite a bit yesterday and made the arena all soggy again, I got to go back out on the road today. There sure was a lot going on in the neighborhood. First we went East into unchartered territory where I had to bravely face 3 or 4 barking dogs. Then we went back to the West, and when we topped the hill I saw a new site. It was two Belgians pulling a logging forecart headed to the woods to work. They looked just like this....
I stopped and stared a bit. I wasn't sure I wanted to share the road with that contraption. So, Brita let me go over into the field and watch from a safe distance. They even stopped to talk a bit. They stared at me as if they had never seen a fancy white horse before.

Then when we went past the dairy barns there were Amish all over taking a lunch break from working on the barns. There was a buggy horse tied to the hay wagon that looked a bit like it had just seen a ghost. Wonder why? When we turned around to go back, we saw in the distance that one of the Amishmen had come out to the road to watch me go by. I wonder if it was the same man who tried to buy my friend Hairy last night? Hairy didn't seem to understand what it would mean to have to go work for the Amish for a living. At least I'm safe from going to the Amish. I'm too hard to keep clean!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Improvisational Dressage

Today was a beautiful warm spring day. Uncle Dad has the outdoor arena so nicely harrowed that Brita decided we had done enough gallivanting on the roads (which I thoroughly enjoy) and it is time we did some "schooling". She says my "road canter" is just a little too flat and out of control, and I need to do some circles and get collected back up again. Last Saturday we went almost a mile on the roads seeing new sights and it was just lovely. We mostly walk with some trotting because there are a lot of hills. Brita says the hills help strengthen my back and haunches. I was ready to take that new strength for a spin. And, I wasn't real happy with being confined to the arena. So I decided to use my imagination and improvise. I had a lot of material to work with... two bawling cows, two tractors spreading manure, a Rottweiler on a chain, a galloping Appaloosa, and a dump truck.

To start with I was feeling pretty high. I did ignore the dog and the tractors for the most part, but I was having a hard time keeping to a trot. What I really wanted to do was work on my canter. I have heard that the best dressage horses, and even some really good saddleseat horses, have big bounding canters. My back an haunches were feeling pretty good, and I was getting quite a bit of air. Brita said that was OK, but the tail swishing up and down was "not cool". Then the dump truck happened.

I was trotting along in a fairly organised manner when the dump truck came by setting off Lucy the Appaloosey who lives in the paddock next to the arena. Brita pulled me up on the rail and gave me a warning. I made it halfway around the arena before Lucy got really wound up and started egging me on. My bounding canter started to stiffen until it was more of a crow hop. Brita turned me into the rail. I ducked left...I ducked right... so she put me right into the rail and thumped on my ribs with her heels. I wasn't sure if she wanted me to jump over or what but it began to occur to me that I might be in trouble. Then she smacked my neck and asked me if I knew what was wrong with me? Wrong? I thought we were doing pretty good. I'm running around in circles, and she's still sitting on top...My dressage canter was big and extravagant, those Pilates seem to be paying off. Why isn't everybody happy? It's a beautiful day! Lucy got in trouble too. Mom rounded her up and put her in the barn. Poor Lucy. Grounded.

We did a lot of cantering in circles. Besides the one bucking episode, Brita was very pleased with (most of) my circles. She said I didn't cheat and was very supple and upright. Since it was warm out, and it took me so long to get my thoughts in order I got pretty sweaty. I was ready to go back in and get cleaned up. The arena fence is nice an old and crumbly. I got tired and cranky and grabbed a big chunk out of it when we halted. I had wood sticking out of my mouth four inches on each side like a dog with a bone. Brita made me give it to her and said I was going to get splinters in my tongue

When we got back to the barn I got my first bath of the season. Well, half a bath. I was very good even when it tickled. The hot bath made me sleepy and Brita rubbed my face until I could barely keep my eyes open. Yaaawn! Now I'm resting in my cooler sheet drying off so Mom can brush me. I feel so clean and lazy. I hope next time we can go back out on the road though. Improvisational Dressage exercises are a lot of work.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Little Pink People... or maybe it was the Easter Bunny?

Today we had visitors at the barn. I showed off all my tricks. I was feeling very sassy and added a lot of bucks and spins for effect as I ran around the arena. Mom threatened to sell me to the circus when they come to town. Brita set up my pallet, and a single pole so I could jump over it. I picked up her gloves, and did a very spectacular bow. Everyone complimented me, and fed me carrots. One of the visitors was very tiny and dressed all in pink. She wanted to pet me and sit on my back. But, when she was raised up to pat my neck I was frightened and snorted and shook so the plan was immediately abandoned. Brita teased me. She said I never acted like that when she picked up towels and Dirt Devils and touched me with them. Why would I be so afraid of a bunch of pink quilting?
Well, I don't know how dumb a horse is supposed to be, but even I could tell that inside all that pink quilting was something alive. I just don't think it's wise to let unidentifiable alive pink things sit on me. Mom said not to feel too bad, even the rooster fled to the coop in terror of the little pink person. The fact that the baby horse was not afraid does not prove how brave he is, it only illustrates the naivety of youth.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

One Trick Pony

Today when Brita came out to get me, she first went to the corner storage and began to take out my pallet and the ground poles. The pallet I am using as a prop to learn to stand on a box. I have gotten quite good at it. Today the addition of the ground poles really interested me. I went and chewed on them a bit while she rolled them around and got them spaced to her satisfaction. Then she went and stood on my pallet in the middle of the arena. I remembered seeing those poles a few weeks ago. That was when she showed me how to walk over them. So, as soon as I saw them I knew what to do. I trotted right over all of them, then reported to center ring to get a piece of carrot. Brita laughed at me. She gave me a carrot, but she said poles were an exercise, not a trick and that I wouldn't be getting a reward each time. I went back and trotted over them again, and returned for a carrot. I got one the second time too, but after that, she shooshed me away and made me continue to "exercise". I don't think that's right. I think anything involving a prop ought to qualify as a trick and I ought to be paid accordingly. After I had my work out, she got off my pallet so I could earn some carrots. Here is a little video clip. Sorry it's so dark, but it was a dreary cold day, so it was dark inside.