Saturday, May 30, 2009


A Puddle a Puddle....

A Beautiful Puddle.....

A GREAT BIG Muddly Puddle... What'll I do? What'll I Do?

....Why I'll Splash right through!

Splash right through!

Here I go again!



Now tell me you would have done anything differently if you had found a wonderful, muddly puddle like that!

My African Safari

Today I went on Safari. Brita and I were trotting along the road, minding our own business, when suddenly, up ahead, I saw a herd of wild beasts. Naturally I stopped to assess the situation. When I did, the beasts noticed me. I didn't think it would be wise to get too close to them. They looked angry, and very territorial.

I tried to communicate my reservations to my rider, but she laughed at me and told me those were just "Cows". B---S---. I know what "cows" are. They are two whooly headed red critters eating tamely out of buckets outside my window. Their names are Carl and Duke.

These were not "cows". These were a large herd of black and white, head tossing, snot blowing wildebeasts somehow transported from the African Veldt or somewhere just as dangerous.
But, Brita insisted, and I have learned to do what she says, so after about five minutes of arguing and stomping, and a little snorting, I decided to give it a try. I took the bit in my teeth, and made a run for it. I started out trotting, but when I got closer to the Wildebeasts, they jumped up and I'm quite sure, began to charge. I decided to save both our hides and threw it into high gear. I mean I made tracks! Feets don't fail me now!
Brita says it was the fastest furlong in Saddlebred history. When we had gotten past the "cows" and I had hit top speed, I hear Brita's voice faintly, in a distance, say "Take it easy you fool, you're going to slip and kill us both." So I did my best to regain my composure, and pulled back up to a trot. I felt so relieved to have made it through alive that I started snorting and whistling just to relieve some tension.
We had a nice ride after that, but we still had the return trip to consider. We rounded the turn, and there in the distance, was the whole herd waiting for me. In fact, I think they had gathered a larger number to defend their border. Having successfully made it through dangerous territory once, I hesitated to risk my neck a second time. As I got closer, my feet began to drag. I admit, I wavered. I know I was supposed to trot bravely past, but I also know that my reaction the first time didn't sit very well with "the management". Brita let me stop and stand in a field to see if I could get used to looking at "cows". It didn't work. I made myself real tall, and blew and whistled, and tried to scare them away, but they just stared dumbly at me. Clearly they weren't happy about me being in their country. We tried for awhile to make me brave again, but in the end, Brita got out some funny gadget, and while trying to calm me with one hand, and muttering through her teeth "stand still dammit" she made some beeping noises and started talking to herself.
Pretty soon, Mom showed up. She brought me grain and tried to calm me down and talk some sense into me. Together they tried to lead me forward, but I jumped around so much that she finally gave up and left. Pretty soon she was back with Uncle Dad and that darn pokey thing. They took my saddle off, and poked me in the neck. They said that should make me feel better, but it really didn't. It just made me a little sleepy. Not what you want when you are trying to defend yourself from a herd of Wildebeasts. What did make me feel better was when Uncle Dad went and chased the "cows". As expected, they stampeded. I knew that was the danger all along. I could just imagine myself being swept under all those hard pointed feet, and smooshed into little pieces.
They stayed away while Mom and Brita walked me carefully out of their country. We were still a long way from home so my saddle was found and reinstalled and Brita and I rode home slowly. I was still a little jumpy from my ordeal, and a couple of times I was sure I could see a Wildebeast staring at me from the shadows, and I arched my neck and hurried up. We made it home without incident though. I am hoping I never ever see a herd of "cows" ever again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My World is Expanding

Lately, a lot of things have been changing in my life. For one thing, I have become an accomplished road horse, and my territory has expanded for as much as a mile in several directions. I am brave enough to go down new roads, and into new fields. I have bravely marched past barking dogs, lawnmowers, golf carts, bicycles, "For Sale" signs, and ponds. This past weekend we went more than four miles. We galloped in fields and up and down hills. I came home very sweaty but very satisfied with myself. The only thing I have yet to conquer is motor cycles. I haven't passed one face to face yet, but twice I have seen one in a distance, and I have noticed that they look and sound different from the vehicles that usually go past. I always stop and look, even when they are behind me and a quarter of a mile away. Bicycles are a little surprising because they sneak up silently. Another thing that I notice from a distance is wildflowers. At first I didn't know what they were. Up until now, the earth has been mostly brown or green. Bright splashes of color are very interesting, and I always crane my neck and put a little extra spiff into my trot. The wildflowers and I mutually admire each other for the flash and brilliance we bring into the world.

But, most importantly, Brita finally talked Mom into turning me loose like a real horse so I can have a life on the days she doesn't make it to the barn. Some days I wait and wait in the indoor arena or my stall hoping to go outside and enjoy the weather or some tender grass. Now Mom trusts me enough to let me out in one of the outdoor areas all by myself. There are three. The outdoor arena is great for galloping (and rolling in the dirt),
but lousy for eating. There are two doors in the indoor arena that go to outside places. First is the small pipe corral. Someone left the door open, and I found that one myself. I used to be able to go out in that when I was younger, but I got too rambunctious. Now it is conveniently attached to the barn, so I can come and go as I please. Not much grass, but great sunshine and breezes.
The best one is the side hill between the indoor and outdoor arenas. That is where Brita always leads me for grass. Now Uncle Dad fenced it in so I can get my own grass. The ends have white tape across them. I went up to look at the tape to see if was something I could get around safely, and it BIT my soft grey nose. Ouch! How exceedingly rude! So, I stay away from the white tape. There is plenty to do in there.
There is grass, and a hill to climb, and windows to look in. I can go back inside in the shade if I want. But who would want to be inside when there is so much outside to explore. I'm not allowed out on the grassy hill without adult supervision. I am still so excited about the whole concept. Even after several hours, I am still busy and trotting everwhere I go. Sometimes I get fed up with the flies, and I trot back into the cool shady arena just because I can. But in a minute or two, I am trotting back outside to see what I've missed.

The pipe corral, even though there is more dirt or mud than grass has the added advantage of neighbors. Lucy the Appaloosey wears her most fetching outfits, and tries to talk dirty to me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Shoes

I got new front shoes today. I got new ones behind last time since I go through those faster than the front ones. I was pretty good about it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

April Showers and May Flowers

The April showers are a little late this spring. April was beautiful, but we’ve had rain on and off all this week. Brita tried to plan her barn days around the weather report, but we ended up getting caught in the rain on our hack out today. It was sprinkling when we left, which tickled my ears, but we kept going. Brita says it almost always rains at horse shows, so inclement weather conditions is part of my training. We went for a nice trot and canter down the roads and the rain came down pretty hard at times. I didn’t mind getting wet some much but started to get warm and itchy.

On the way back to the barn, we stopped for a picture in front of the pretty pear tree with all of its flowers.

HOWDY! Nice to see ya.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A difference in opinion... standards of grooming

My rider thinks she is quite the natty dresser. She says she wants to look nice in her barn clothes since she always ends up wearing them on her errands around town, and if she is going to have to stand in line at the Post Office or the Bank wearing barn clothes, she wants them to at least look fashionable. So, she always comes to the barn in half chaps, and clean breeches with a nicely fitted polo or turtleneck. But this is how things seem to play out around here in the springtime when I am still shedding, itchy and devoting several hours a day to rolling in the sand....

And that is what her nice breeches and polos usually look like when we are done. So, she bought some of these... an attempt to make even her dirtwear look fashionable. Which is fine with me, because one year she made me wear coveralls all the time, and they were quite uncomfortable. Plus, my laundry is much more bulky than hers. So, our arrangement of me being naked and dirty, and her taking most of that dirt home with her each day to the laundry, works out just fine.

I put quite a lot of time and effort into my personal grooming. I've elevated it to an art form. A white horse is like a blank canvas. The artist in me just can't wait to fancy it up. As you can see, stains are important as a base. Then, I like to add a little texture of sand. Never overlook the effect of solids on your canvas. I call this one "Poopaloosa Beach"...

It's the first in a series. This one is "Shady Shoulders". Brita suggested another name for it but I thought we'd keep it clean. So to speak.

Don't worry, I'll come up with more artwork for you later.

illustrations from Thelwells Horse Box: Norman Thelwell