Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Santa....

...I have been such a good boy all year, and still my people insist on dressing me up like one of your little helpers. Why is that?
Please bring fresh celery. We haven't had anything green to eat in weeks and weeks. In fact, a whole veggie tray would be great. You can skip the dip.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Days

We are now in the middle of Blizzard #2 with 18 inches expected by tomorrow. The best part is that "school's out". No one wants to do any serious work. Running repeated tiny circles indoors is boring, and it can be hard on the joints so we don't do that every day or for very long. There is no chance of riding outside. Even if we could get past the glare ice on the driveway to the snowy roadside, we can't get to the fields. If we could get through the very wide, very deep and very hard snow banks, there is now a nasty crusty layer in the snow due to the 3 feet of snow being rained on all day Sunday before the fluffy stuff started again. We don't like to ride on the roadside because we can't get off of it, and if something bad came along, like a deadly giant snow plow, we would have to run up to a quarter of a mile to get to a cleared driveway.

So, I have been keeping the escape route clear and playing in the snow. Brita knows that running around in two feet of snow is a pretty good work out. When we get a blue sky break, she likes to stand out back with me and just enjoy whatever the season has to offer. That is usually a lot of hay eating...Mom spreads it all over and makes a game of it...
...and listening intently to sounds off in the distance.

But I also make snow angels... which Mom uses as spots to hold my hay.

And I play wild stallion.

Yee Ha!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Digging Out

I'm trying to keep the paths open as an escape route out of the barn.

Sometimes you can get to feeling a bit bogged down in this stuff...

... and you just have to make a run for it.

I don't think I can feel the bottom.

Just throw your shoulders into it and go!

Sometimes home can seem like a long hike away.

I've got to get some momentum to make it past the tight spot.

Look Out! Comin' through. My feet are cold.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

... but inside the footing is so delightful. Uncle Dad spread nice fresh sand in my playroom and it's just the right consistency for me to run laps. Which is good because we haven't been able to ride outside for a week. It started snowing and it won't stop.

As of last Saturday, the grass is all gone.
Whatever will I do with myself until spring?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Casual Friday

Have you ever had one of those days when you just couldn't be troubled to get all spiffed up? And you didn't want to waste any time on the nonessentials when there were more important things to be done?

Brita has finally stopped interfereing with my glorious mud spa routine. After all, I'm just going to have to re-do it after she leaves. The first couple of years, it was all primping and blanketing. My clothes were laundered once a week, and my tail wash washed and fluffed. Now, the clothes reside cozily in the tack trunk all fluffy and clean smelling and only come out when I'm feeling icky and shivery. I'm coated from head to toe in two inches of muck, Brita only carves out a clean spot where the saddle goes. Sometimes it takes awhile to work out compromises so that everyone gets what they want.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Get out and Vote! we can put away these spooky signs. They make unexpected moves in the wind, and creep me out.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Family Foto Friday

Ride 'em Cowgirl!

So you say that it used to be so much more fun to ride a silver pony that felt like a coiled spring.... ready to test the limits of one horse power in a vertical context? Sissy... Get out yer winter gear, and let's ride!

"Bronco Billy"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bless Me

Dear Linda Fromouttatown,

I heartily apologise for emptying the entire contents of my left nostril directly into your face. I know you were only admiring my soft, velvety, grey nose. But when Brita showed you how irrestistably kissable it was, I got a tickle. In fact, I think she might have infected me with the sniffles she had last week. I'm glad she had a mostly clean tissue in her pocket to help you round up the chunks. I hope you won't hold it against me and will come back to visit soon. I haven't seen you all afternoon, and you were around a lot for the past week, so I imagine you've gone back to Georgia where cold and flu season is a few weeks behind. Really, in the future, you shouldn't get that close to a guy's nose. Murphy's Law will certainly take over.

William Pendleton Grey Esq.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I tried to save them... but they wouldn't listen.

This morning the Evil Transporter Device backed up to the cow pasture gate and the two fat steers were loaded and taken away. I did my best to save them. I bucked and kicked and whirled and whinnied at the top of my lungs like I do whenever the Evil Transporter is in action.

Mom shut me in the barn so I couldn’t see, but still I cried. “Nay.... do not go into the Transporter Device. It is very dangerous!” I was so insistent that Uncle Dad threatened to muzzle me.

They did resist, but the fat steers are so passive (and I suspect a bit dumb) so in the end, they succumbed to the persuasion and bribery and were taken away. The Evil Transporter has returned empty to lurk outside the barn and I fear I shall never see my bovine neighbors again. Alas, the insatiable, yawning, maw of the Transporter Device frets me so. Nothing good can come of this.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Cure for the “Octobers”

It finally stopped raining! Hooray! We haven’t seen the sun in over 10 days, and we were rewarded with a perfect autumn day… high, crystal blue skies, lush green grass, and brilliant color. What a view… and what’s that I spy?

Tally ho!

The oatfield, now lush with a winter cover of red clover, was a bit mushy, but the gusty winds will soon take care of that! As soon as I rounded the lower end, I slipped into a brisk canter just knowing that I would be allowed to breeze up the side. Brita had forgotten her grab strap so she gave me a cautionary warning and tried to keep up. I held it together (despite a motorcycle whizing by) and it felt so good to get out and stretch my legs!

Mom met us on the roadside to take some pictures.

I don’t remember my canter depart being that ummm…. abrupt. Normally I am a pretty mellow fellow. But it made for inspirational photography!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Did you know....

... that there are people who will come to your house and spend hours doing nothing other than rub your sore spots? There ARE. If I had known that, I would have ordered one long ago. Mom and Brita got me a session, and it was a really nice surprise, because as we all know, after the recent events around here, Brita is the one who could really use the back rub.

Brita came to ride a little later than usual, and we did a nice slow warm up. I'm doing so well with my new Dee bit. We're even starting to work on "simple changes" which are not simple at all. It took me 5 and 6 trot strides to realise I was supposed to canter again. But, I'm catching on, and I'm sure it will become more organised soon.

After I was put up and dry, a visitor arrived. Her name was Marnee and she came from Aways-a-way, which is where all good horse professionals seem to come from. Finally an Equine Practitioner who does not pull horse juice, jab me with potentially deadly viruses, or rattle my head with corded power tools. I LIKE her!

She got real familiar real fast. I don't like people messing with the top of my neck. Brita told her she thought I have tempermandibblersomethingorother. Marnee just said I was "out" at my poll, which is not the same as being out of my head. I hope.

She poked and prodded a bit, but she had some real nice smelling stuff...

...And before long I was making a happy face.

Then she rubbed my favorite spots. She said my neck was really tight, especially on this side.

When she got to my shoulders and chest I really got into it.

And I stretched waaaaayyyyy back to loosen the right muscles and get the full benefit.

She also spent time on my back and legs.

My back had some sore spots which made Brita feel bad, but Marnee assured her they weren't so bad that Brita shouldn't sit on them.

After all this rubbing and loosening, I went for a little walk, then Marnee got up on a mounting block and cracked my sackereallyack. You could really hear it pop. We all wonder if now my tail will follow straight behind me.

Afterwards, my friend Face-Off got a massage and adjustment too. He's been REALLY cranky under saddle because he says everything hurts, and not just his feet. After his session, he leaped and jumped around. I think we all feel better tonight. Brita says it was reasonable enough that if this makes us feel this good, we can have to done more regular, and in the mean time, she learned a few places that I need a good rubbing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Such a Mellow Fellow

.... and then some days I am so mellow that you would never believe that I could pull stunts like throwing my rider and performing airs above the ground. Some days I have what Brita calls a "quiet mind". On days like these, sometimes it is difficult to coax me out of a meandering walk.

Part of it is that I got a new bit that I really like. It's smooth, and unchewable. It does not beg to be fiddled with like some of the other bits I have known.

It doesn't make me want to do this....

Or this...

Or this...

It makes me much more relaxed, and as Brita says, "almost straight necked" which is sort of a big deal for a Saddlebred, as we have very flexible, hingy necks and sensitive mouths.

My quiet day just happened to correspond with the re-emergence of the caveleggies. It's been almost a year since I've seen them as they were acting as the table legs for the hay soaking station. Nowadays, all my hay has been showing up dry, and the caveleggies are back in action. I admit I didn't feel much like doing serious exercise, but I know if I'm pointed at a row of poles I am supposed to come out the other side, so I did my work.

We did some dressage, which I think is soooOoooo boring. Sure, it comes in handy now and then. It's important to be able to leg yield so you can avoid mailboxes or chuck holes when you're out hacking. And yes, I suppose it makes my gaskins look sexy, but other than that, I lose interest really fast.

I was so good and quiet, naturally it was a good time to go out and about, so we took a tour of the fields and watched the farmer discing the cornfield (from a safe vantage point). I was so quiet I would have been a safe mount for even the most timid rider.

This is Brita's favorite time of the year to ride. There's something about the September sky and the colors and the air quality that make her want to travel. Last year we even came across a fox. Wouldn't it be fun to ride to hounds and gallop with a purpose? I don't know if I will ever be trained enough to jump fences and mind my manners on cold foggy mornings, but we went and leapt the ditch between the fields for practice anyway.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Schooling Haute Ecole

It seems we just can't get any serious work done, these days, without being interrupted by monsters. No sooner had we gotten saddled up than a troop of tree killers arrived right outside the arena with a Bob Cat and chainsaws. I found it difficult to concentrate, but was well behaved until the Lime Green Ax Murderer sprang from the bushes.

See... there he is right there. Lurking just like Big Foot.

We stopped to watch them for a few minutes, then Brita decided our schooling session was done because she no longer had control of my neck. As we exited the arena and down the slope towards the barn, I made use of my nice warm up session, and began schooling myself in the Croupade.

It's a very difficult piece of Aires Above the Ground, and earned me a trip around the yard and up and down the driveway to collect my thoughts before we headed back to the barn. Admit it, if you knew a Lime Green Ax Murderer was lurking in the underbrush behind you, you would have been jumpy too.
P.S. Brita stayed in the general vicinity of the saddle. But she called me a naughty word.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Big Five-Oh

We've tipped the scales at fifty followers! Jason, I think it was you. Who knew that dumping my rider would get us just the publicity we needed to reach this milestone.

And now as a reward, some old pictures you haven't seen of other firsts in my life.

My first picture at my new home (I still have my hip sticker on)

My first try at being a five gaited horse (Look Ma, no Helmet!)

Going to pick up my first blue ribbon.

Stay tuned for more adventures.........

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Whoops, I dropped my passenger. I feel terrible about it. It isn't something I normally do. You see, we had another alien visitation. I could hear them all morning in the fields, and I was too nervous to be out in my pasture. When Brita came to ride, she found me hiding in the arena where I can run in and out. She could tell I was very disturbed, but told me she would go show me what was happening, and then I would see it was alright.

I could see what looked to be a cousin of the Loch Ness Monster away in the fields. There were those big red trucks coming and going. It all looked OK, and I was walking calmly through the field when it happened. One of those big trucks pulled up nearby, downshifted with a roar, and belched black smoke. This startled my into a series of unfortunate events.

First this happened....

... and Brita landed behind the saddle on my butt, which scared me worse, and I thought the monster had grabbed my flank. So I bucked a bit.... sending her into orbit....

And when she came down, she wasn't in the right place again....

So I bucked a few more times.... ( I was just trying to help, I swear)

And deposited her with unfortunate velocity into the dirt.
Then I ran home as fast as I could to find Mom.

To say Mom was alarmed to see me arrive home alone was an understatement.

But Brita wasn't too far behind. She hollered after me to let everyone know to call off the search, and then she got right back on and made me go back to the field. I certainly didn't want a repeat of that. I found out what the monster was, and it didn't look like it had time to eat a horse.

I brought her home safe and sound in the end, but boy did I feel bad. She hosed me off with cold water and I didn't even squirm. I was afraid to behave badly after my performance in the field. I couldn't even look her in the eye, and was afraid to ask for my peppermint. She gave me one anyway for standing so well for my shower.

I feel very sheepish about the whole thing. Mom says I've been too quiet all afternoon and that obviously I feel bad. I wonder how Brita feels?
illustrations from Thelwell Horse Box: Norman Thelwell