Sunday, January 31, 2010
Well, an exciting week all around. Too much going on so I fell off the 'visit my baby boy daily wagon' as most nights it was dark before I got home and out here dark is DARK! BUT, I made up for it this weekend.
Yesterday, I played with Mocha just a bit giving him extra loving and attention and his first YOGA for horses session. I saw this video on youtube about using YOGA to loosen up your horse and decided that whether or not the YOGA actually helps the horse move better the act of getting your horse to do the moves is a good tool for bonding with your horse. SO, to that end, I helped Mocha stretch his front legs and shoulders.
Today, I found myself making excuses to stay in the house - even to the point of doing house chores which I do ONLY because they have to get done - and finally remembered my new Mantra - posted as the first line of this BLOG - and focused not on my fear but on that first step. I got myself out of the house, up to the barn and got Mocha in hand. Then I penned Elsa - his current pasture buddy - in a corral. Mocha and I went to a small arena pen that is under a lean too and out of the wind where I fed him, brushed him and generally just got into the mood with him. Then out we went to the barn yard. I got my trusty bucket and stood on it over Mocha, then jumped up and shimmied onto his back, then threw a leg over him, then slid back to the ground. Took a deep breath. And stepped up onto the bucket, jumped over his back , threw a leg over and sat up. I had to have a VERY MILD refresher that 'just because mom is sitting up does not mean we walk off'. Then I asked him to walk and we took a few steps. I stopped him. Petted and praised him (and myself) Took another deep breath and walked Mocha off again. We wandered the barn yard for about a quarter of an hour with no mishaps and great success!!! YIPPPPEEEEE I DID IT!!! 17 months off and I got back on - no one to take pictures because I just wanted to do it myself and then when the others arrived it got too crazy to repeat and get pictures - soon though! OH and all of this was bareback with halter and light lines!!!
Then Stacy arrived with her folks who were visiting from Penn and her two children. Her son is Autistic and Stacy is looking at a horse for herself but who will be good with the kids also. I think she has settled on "Spike" whom she has renamed Elsa and for whom she bought a halter with a heart shaped ID tag that says Elsa and has Stacy's phone numbers on it!
So, Stacy went and haltered Elsa and brought her out to meet the crew. Elsa did great, so great that Yael, Stacy's daughter, got to be the first person to ever sit on Elsa's back. Elsa is a filly who has had our kindergarten foundation and is doing us proud with her further training done by her even more green "new mom". Once Yael got off then Stacy's son, Yelan, got his turn. Big grins by all! And to all a GOOD JOB!!!
i went riding for the first time in over eight months. i have not had much training in riding. i manly clean the stalls. but hope to get more time to ride. i rode kwis for a hour and had a lot of fun. lesly walked her out to the field and the let her go. i started out a little nervous when she started to buck a little bit. i learned to keep my hands low down by the Saddle and her neck. and also where to put my legs and to keep my body straight. once Ive been riding for a while i got more conferable and i think she did to. i got her to canter and trout for a while. when we where done i rode her back to the barn and got the saddle and bit off and walked her back to the patchier.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
It wasn't a massive work week for Linus and I this week. For one it was so friggin cold here that he only got turned out for a couple of hours every day. We have a new little lesson that we do every now though. Sir Linus gets pretty eager for his feed and when he is outside waiting for it he can even rear a little bit. So, now what I do is stop walking towards him every time he gets jittery. Only when he stands still do I start to walk towards him again. It has never taken me more than a few minutes to get the feed to him and each time he gets better and better. What sparked this new lesson was him giving me a harmless(through my gloves) nip when I dumped his feed in his pail. Nipped that one in the bud!!
My husband did some work with him this week too which I thought was fantastic. He is from an army family and the majority of his experience with animals has come with meeting me! (I'm a package deal; I come with a farm, lol) He is also severely allergic to horses, hence our purchase of a Curly...sans curls :) I was feeding the cows when a quick, hard blizzard came up and I asked him to bring Linus in for me while I put the last bale out for the cows. He was a tad nervous about it because the sudden change of weather wasn't making Linus very happy but to my surprise when I came back in the barn he was grooming Linus, who was by that point half asleep. YAY Stu!!
In an attempt to get Linus to focus more on me when we are out I am going to set up some obstacles for him to get around, like weaving around wide spread pails or walking over rails etc. Maybe tomorrow...if it is warmer, I have an annoyingly hard time keeping warm in this severe cold.
Aqua Zumba tomorrow morning!!
Our lesson last week focused on steering lightly again. My instructor said "offer softness to your horse; whatever feel you offer them is the feel they will offer you." Wise words.
After freezing in our lesson two weeks before that, Mom and I bundled up this time. Down coats were dug out of closets, snow pants were donned over winter riding breeches, wool socks were found. And we roasted!! Twenty minutes into the lesson I unzipped my coat and chucked off my gloves entirely because I was so warm. It was kind of funny to find ourselves at such an opposite extreme.
It was nice and sunny and the horses were incredibly sleepy and unwilling to move. We took them out for a little walk on the road thinking that with the road clear now we may have our lesson there. On our way back, as we led the horses across the field back to their pasture, they both looked at each other and then dropped and rolled. Apparently fresh deep snow is impossible to resist! Of course this happened 2 seconds after our riding instructor showed up and told us to hustle back to the barn for our lesson. 0__o
Sage and I got moving pretty good once he was under saddle and awake. My mom's Mustang mare Thea was just determined to be a slow-poke though so we kept having to steer around her. She's still a greenie and I think part of it was her adjusting to carrying a human through deep snow.
After our instructor left I took Sage out on the road for the first time since Mom moved here in October. We went down the road 100 ft or so and then came back to the intersection; as we turned around to start back down that stretch Mom called out that there was a UPS truck coming from the road on our right. Then I looked up ahead and saw a HUGE schoolbus coming towards us! (I swear they get bigger when you're on horseback.) Sage was *so* good! I guided him over to the side of the road and told him to stand as the schoolbus bore down on us. Of course they had to stop for the intersection and there we are standing off to the side with their airbrakes right by us. The UPS truck went around us and Sage squirmed a tiny bit but stayed put. Then the bus drove past us, and then a car flew by! This intersection has never been so busy in the entire time my parents have lived there so *of course* it had to be that busy during our first 5 minutes of riding!!!
Sage was so good for that that I got off and brought him back to the barn to give him apples. I was a little sad to ditch our original plan of riding a bit longer, but he'd already put in an hour in our riding lesson.
Then yesterday we didn't have a lesson, and that was good because there was a windchill warning in effect and even with neck gators on and pulled up to our eyeballs we both felt our cheeks go numb pretty fast.
Despite the atrocious temperatures the sun was shining and I just couldn't resist getting out there to do *something* with my boy. So we led them up the road in the other direction, up a steep hill, and conquered the scary scary mail box that for some reason had a ripped plastic bag tied to it. Thea, who is normally a bit spooky, tried to eat it, and Sage, who is normally unflappable, walked by just fine and then spooked once we were up the road a ways. I have noticed that the few times he's spooked, it's always been when something was behind him. So, I am thinking about how we can work on that. Also, Thea was getting worked up on the road so Mom and I switched horses as she finds it easier to work with Mr. Mellow Sage. It was interesting to watch Thea calm right down and Sage get upset. They really do pick up on 'their' person's energy so much!
It was also interesting to lead them out of their pasture through the gate by our driveway. We haven't done this before in the winter because the driveway has been to icy, but we tried it yesterday. There was a deep bank of snow and both horses sank down into it when we left. And then going back in to their pasture they both hesitated and didn't want to go. The interesting thing is that they were just fine last week in much deeper snow and I can only conclude the snow is less comfortable now that everything's melted and gotten crusty. They both went through with a parelli point-and-send though.
Anyways, some pictures. None of me riding because my camera dies in the cold. Mom was out at the intersection trying to take sunny pictures of us riding in the road, but her camera hadn't been charged. So, only pictures of Sage loose in the pasture...
Sage begging for dinner. He knows this is the grain room.
I took this picture out my car window as I was leaving the barn. I love how cozy the horses look in that light.
And a sunset picture, with a blurry Sage-head.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Today is January 29. That means that I only have 40 more days that I have to take the valcyte for my CFS. After that I have a very good chance of a good recovery. I do not know how to find the words to share my joy at this new spring time. My curly mare, Lila, has been patient with me. I think that she is, like me, a very stubborn minded old lady. But that is alright. I wish all a happy spring time and "may the blessing always continue to all people."
Thursday, January 28, 2010
It all seemed so simple when I set out to do a couple new pics of our filly *C-C Heartfires Spark. Catch the filly, halter her, lead her to our outdoor arena, let her play a bit and catch some fun, exciting pics. But..I was SO wrong. To accomplish this I first had to stall our stallion "Shadow's Hawk Spirit...aka...HeartBreaker. We would be walking through his pasture and I needed him out of the way. Obviously the look on my face said "say away from this person, DO NOT let her bribe you with your breakfast in a different location than usual"...so, I tossed his hay in his open stall and waited. No horse, no noise...I peeked around the corner, he peeked around the other corner...silly boy! so...I got his halter and lead rope and put him in his stall.
Catching Spark today was another matter. She has been standing quietly to be caught, but...today, she decided that play time was better than photo time...and with her counterpart our filly "Kallie" they lapped our indoor arena to get out the happiness. I caught Spark, and headed to the gate. Spark decided that the gate was a safe spot, so she planted herself there for awhile. After convincing her to move, finally we were on our way to our outdoor arena.
Spark trotted around and played a bit, chasing one of our cats, checking out everything in the area. I added an umbrella for play incentive..she saw it, stopped, sniffed it and sombered off. No part of this upset her in any manner.
A job that should have taken 1/2 hour, took a little over 3 hours! But...we made some training progress, with her and Kallie both, so it certainly was not wasted time at all.....
While we were still in the outdoor arena, I sat down to look at my photos. Spark, who has been pretty timid up until now...was standing a few feet away...she slowly approached, step by step....it really was cute! she was being SO brave...and when I stood, I simply clipped the lead rope on, and we had a nice long mannerly walk back to the indoor arena. There are days that do not go as planned, but sometimes you get more reward than you thought was possible!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I really will have to sit down some night and get some pictures on here of him. Owen (my 19 month old son) sat on his back the other day too. Linus didn't flinch. Of course was holding Owen just in case and never would have set him there if Linus weren't already standing stock still. In other Linus news, he has begun to stand still again while putting on his halter. Again, seems to be a product of learning what "whoa" means. I'm so thrilled to see this progress in him...drives away the "what did I get myself into" feeling.., but really, I love having him there. Its nice to walk into the barn and be greeted by an animal who is happy to see you for you being there rather than be happy because you will be feeding them! (cows)
He still looks longily over the gates at the calves playing. Unfortunately for Linus, the mothers are not ready to have him be that close to the calves until they are older. There will soon be some ready for weaning and he might get one of them for a companion. I'm sure he would enjoy that very much.
Hopefully I can write again soon!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
For those of you who don't know me, I'm Lynn of Homefire Curlies. I have owned Curlies for 10 years now, err, correction, I have been employed by Curlies for 10 years now (but I'm not holding my breath on the Bosses offering any kind of recognition for that milestone - oh no, it will be business as usual of feeding, slogging manure, watering, grooming and training.) They are, however, kind enough to give me enough hours "off" each day from the barnyard commitments so that I can work a full time job to keep the hay, vet and farrier bills paid.
So with all of my off farm commitments riding time is scarce. When it is available I don't look forward to that time alone. I will admit I have been a very content recluse for several years however in the last few months this has changed significantly. Unfortunately this means I will choose activities where I have company instead of working with my horses where I am invariably alone. Thanks to Donna, proud Momma of Linus and fellow RAC participant, I have found a new goal and renewed determination to at least invest some time in one horse, in particular.
Donna "spoke for" Linus when he was still quite young. Just as we encourage all of our buyers, she, Stu and Owen visited on a regular basis as Linus grew. As Linus grew so did a tremendous friendship between all of us. That right there is what I would describe as being the true magic of Curlies - the friendships their humans form with one another.
Wild! Hey, how do you like his curly mane? I gave myself and AhD the same beauty treatment today. We both got a trim to cut off the scraggly ends and some jajoba oil added to our curls. Thanks, Denise, for letting us know about the oil! It makes AhD's mane soft and healthy.
Trot along the ridge here.. down through the woods ..
The snowmobile club has changed the route- so we had some surprises and came out NOT where we thought we would. Here's our first clue through the trees.
One of the best features about the snowmobiles trails is ~ if we keep going, we can trot to Canada !! However, we always have to remember-- we still have to save time to get home again. Today was one of those days where we don't want to get out of the saddle.
We met quite a few snowmobilers out for a sunny run.. we are not supposed to have horses on their trail but they were all polite and happy to see us anyway.
This probably is our most fun ride of 2010 so far :) As usual I have many more photo's on my farm blog.
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