Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rain + Mud + Sand =

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?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Mud... such a prohibitive substrate to jump from.

It can interfere with your take off.  Sticky stuff.

Hmmm... I don't recall putting my foot here....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Sweet Spot

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.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


doppelgänger (German for look-alike, literally a "double goer") (pronounced [ˈdɔpəlˌɡɛŋɐ]) is a paranormal double of a living person.

dappleganger:  same thing, only in dapple grey

Weird huh?

Saturday, September 14, 2013


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!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Equipment

My Playground has new Equipment in it!

We are practicing and practicing on the old equipment while we get good pictures to show you how much fun I'm having with my NEW equipment!

It's so much fun!  I feel like I'm flying!  I always keep a happy face...

...Brita has to concentrate lots.  She keeps her "OMG I'm too old for this" face on.

Yee Ha!  Let's go again!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My Friend Levi

I am teaching my friend Levi the English methods of horsekeeping.  Scrub harder Levi!

Yes, that's it!  Look at that little hand go!

And seeing my "happy lip" Levi asked if I would like some snuff put in it.  What is "snuff"?

Editor's Note:  Little Levi kindly removed his hat and set it on the ground because each time it bobbed into William's peripheral vision he jumped a little!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Lone Ranger

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.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Masked Bandits

So there I was minding my own business.  Out for a summer stroll.

Wait!  What's that in my paddock?


Run for your lives!


One last look from a safe distance.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Buggies

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.  

I wonder where they could be hiding?

No, Seriously... let's get out of here!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's Elementary My Dear

Brita says I can count but I can’t add.

At the end of each ride, I get a treat.  It consists of three handouts.  Usually peanuts.

Handout (one...)
Unbuckle near side girth
Handout (two...)
Unbuckle off side girth
Handout (three...)
Remove saddle

The other day I got a special treat of celery. But it came in two pieces.  
This is unfair!  I work hard for these handouts!

Brita went and got some peanuts.  She gave me two hands full.  SHORTED AGAIN!
I will not stand for this!  I know my rights.  I get THREE!  No, that was NOT four.  That was TWO.

Exasperated, Brita went back for more peanuts.  One Two Three…
That’s more like it.

Brita says if I’m smart enough to count, I should be smart enough to add.
I got 7 handouts.  Ha Ha.  I may not know my Addition but I know my Manipulation.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The River Wild

I jumped a River!

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.

Stay Tuned.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Schooling Show

obe·di·encenoun [oh-bee-dee-uh ns] Doing 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 would happen.

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?"
Brita: "Ten"
Bystander: "Going on five?"
Me: "SNORT!!!"

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 I can…

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 chance. 

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 hair.

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 me.

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 right up. 

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.