Sunday, April 24, 2011


Okay, that looks yucky... But it looks yucky in the SUN!

Yesterday afternoon the sun finally decided to show its face - I spent a couple of hours de-mudding and removing the wind tangles that magically appeared since last weekend.
I let them out to graze one at a time while I brushed. They all got about half an hour to graze and attention which they appeared to thoroughly enjoy (possibly the grass more than the brushing) and nobody got too much new grass.

Sunny - who's already had his turn at this point. He really needs a bath, but I at least got a bunch of the mud & hair off.

The neighbors were out enjoying the sun, too. That's for me, today!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Some, feeling generous might call it that.

I suppose, on the bright side it's wetter, rather than whiter...
I have to say, my mood rather matches Sunny's - cranky.

The ponies remain woolly yaks,
for which I'm grateful.
But is a week or so of actually sunshine
really too much to ask?

Needless to say, no riding this weekend. The gravel roads to the farm were 6" deep in semi-frozen slop on Friday, well nie on to impassible with slush and mud on Saturday, and rutted and nowhere near to dry on Sunday. I worried about high-centering or entrenching the Blazer - should have taken the big truck, but didn't want to linger in the rain unhitching the trailer. (And by no means was I subjecting Sunny to a trailer ride over those roads for anything less than an emergency vet-trip, which thankfully we didn't have.)

Here's to some sunshine for Easter!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A habit I hate, a.k.a here's where I get off

Strangers in company

T's Rufus is bottommost on the herd pecking order. He's also, like many of his picked-on, four-footed brethren, extremely herd bound. When it's just T and I riding, Rufus often comes back sweaty, not from exertion but because he's nervous about being "alone" - he doesn't trust Sunny to watch out for him, so he's constantly on the lookout for bush monsters. With even one of his pasture buddies along, he's much more relaxed.

A little consideration
goes a long way

More horses can mean more security, but one of the things I loathe about riding in a large group is almost inevitably there are those one or two people who see nothing wrong in galloping up behind/past whoever happens to be in front of them with no regard to space or thought for safety.

And on one memorable occasion, a man who should have known better riding a chargey black mare used my at-the-time young and fairly green gelding as his personal braking service. Every hill we descended, she was breast to rump behind Sunny because he couldn't rate her otherwise. It was NOT fun, but I was too intimidated to say anything much at the time.

It's bad enough in big groups.
It can be worse in small ones.

Personally, I like to be very certain of the footing and Sunny's general attitude before I lope, let alone tear off madly across the countryside.

Mass charges are for cavalry!

Chasing a cow? Sure, Sunny'll scramble and scoot with the best of them. I trust him on rough ground, and I - mostly - trust that he'll listen. Speed events - again, there's focus and purpose to flying.

But I don't like racing.
(Okay, yes, I have control issues.)

Sunny's not a hot horse - if anything he's a touch on the pokey side, especially by stereotypical reactive Arab standards. If the other horses forge ahead, he's fairly unconcerned. If they lag behind? He's okay with that, too. Which is fine by me, and I'd just as soon keep it that way.

Back to Rufus.

If Rufus is unhappy about leaving his herd, he's really unhappy about them leaving him behind. It's true when he's in the pasture loose, and it's doubly true when he's out on the trail. We don't know much about his background, but it's apparent that he a) was ridden by someone at some point who taught him a lot of GOOD things, and b) was last ridden by someone who let him get barn/buddy sour.

Which is a pain.

So, apparently last week while I was at work and T was riding with friends they thought it would be fun to "race". What started out as a nice lope turned into a two horse dead heat - and Rufus took T along for the ride. Although Rufus stopped when the other horses did, whoa flat wasn't on his agenda until his buddies stopped running.

T was not amused,
although his riding companions
found it highly entertaining.

Over dinner this weekend, noises were made about me being next, along the order of "You just need to open that horse up! It'll be good for you." Huh.

Friends are like that sometimes,

I may not have been brave enough to tell the guy on the black mare where to park it way back then. I am now. And I'll say it again - not funny guys.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

5 miles and rain

T and I rode on Saturday - it was chilly and grey, and the ponies weren't 100% convinced it was a great idea, but we persevered.

Rufus still has the occasional I-don't-wanna-you-can't-make-me moment where he tries to spin around and go home, especially when it's just Sunny going out with him - Sunny doesn't count as safe company, apparently. But T's got him figured out, and Rufus isn't trying it nearly as often since it never works.

Sunny looks placid enough here, but he started on his tippy toes with a nice cold hump in his back. I finally said the heck with it, let's get them moving - a good brisk trot for the next mile settled both of them.

I was hoping we'd get out today, as well. But by 9 am we had a hard north wind and spitting fog/drizzle. Tonight everything is amazingly greener, but it wasn't too pleasant for riding. We ended up raking the the yard and hauling away the leaves I used for banking the flower beds over the winter.

This has been showing up on the back porch evenings this week.

Yes, I fed her.

She's really friendly, and I suspect belongs to one of the neighbors, although not one I've talked to yet. She'd really like to come in the house, but so far I'm sticking to my guns on that one. And not naming her. Three cats is plenty, right?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wind, and noise control

Last fall Sunny started showing signs of not wanting to load. Since he's always been completely easy, either he was starting to connect the trailer with having to work - a possibility, since he's pretty lazy - or something else was bothering him.

Saturday we put Sunny in the back half of the trailer, and when we were about a mile away from J's place on the gravel, I hopped in the front section and kept him company the rest of the way. I wanted to see just how loud it actually is back there.


The bits and buckles on all of the tack hanging from the hooks in the living quarters smacking against the wall sounds like small arms fire, and the plexi-glass panels rattle like tank treads. Add that to the gravel whanging off the wheel wells, and no wonder my poor pony isn't wanting to get in!

Before we loaded him back up to go home, I pulled everything down off the tack hooks. I couldn't do anything about the plexi noise right then, but at least I could take care of some of the problem.

When we got home last night I rounded up a roll of electrical tape and started folding shims to slid in against the plexi. Wedges every 9" or so top and bottom really cut down on the amount of play. If it can't move, it can't rattle, right? I managed to get that about halfway done before company arrived for supper.

We woke up this morning to dust-devils whirling down the road. The Weather Channel reported sustained winds to nearly 40 mph. Crossing the yard I felt like I was being sand-blasted - so I started inside.

I hung rag rugs on the tack hooks. Behind the bridles, they'll help to muffle the metal on metal banging.

Rugs are cheap - a horse that loads?

Then I finished shimming in the plexi-glass panels in back. I'll have to do another test run, but I'm hoping it will be lots better!

Unfortunately, the wind never died down appreciably. We headed out to J's and helped vaccinate calves and do a bit of ranch-type spring clean-up stuff, hoping it would improve enough that we could ride. No such luck - not only did it stay blustery, it started spitting rain.

But I'm not complaining. All things considered, it was a very good weekend.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sunny's Saturday and Amyra goes to school

Yesterday we picked up T's new saddle all nicely oiled with the stirrups turned. Sunny got something too - a new headstall. Doing my spring tack check I found dry rot around the buckles on his old headstall, so it will go up to the saddler to have the cheek pieces replaced.

Sporting his new headgear...

T picked up the West Nile vaccine at the vet, and a strangles vaccine for Amyra, and we took care of that yesterday, as well. So now it's just rabies to go.

We loaded Sunny up at the farm around noon today, headed over to J's, and the three of us saddled up...
After some serious de-fuzzing!

With temps in the 50's and high clouds mixed with sun, it would have been absolutely gorgeous if not for the somewhat chilly, definitely brisk wind. But no one was complaining.

T and Rufus, enjoying the new saddle.

We covered about 8 miles.

After we got back, we stopped back at the farm, picked Amyra up and headed over for the trainer's. She'll be there until May :) Finally!

Two Arabs in a pod

You may remember, she was headed there last fall, and when we arrived to load her up, she had this:

No trace of it left now. She was a bit wide-eyed at the barn and the big box stall, but she settled in quickly enough with an alfalfa leaf snack. She's right by the door where she can see outside and her neighbors across the aisle, so it shouldn't be too traumatic.

Hopefully the weather will hold off, and we'll get another ride in tomorrow!