Monday, January 31, 2011

Snowplains

For the past year my mom and I plan one day a week that is solely for riding. I have no lessons and she takes the day off from work around the farm and we head out. We have found we need this time to regroup and recharge. While other times during the week we do sneak in smaller trips this one day is reserved for bigger trips. Today was one such day. After getting out of my first job at the school I head over to my mom's have one more cup of coffee, she makes me a nice breakfast(the benefits of working at your mother's) and then time to saddle up. We had some debate on where we would go and decided on the floodplains thinking it would be some beautiful views.


The first few miles I didn't bother with the camera as it has kind of a small memory card-at lest for me as I seem to take even more photos then my mom or at least as many. But once we got into town for Keri's favorite the sidewalk it was time to bring out the camera.
If the first few miles were sidewalk rather than dirt road we would make much better time, the horses just love to trot down a sidewalk doesn't matter where.

Up just a little bit and we hit the trail. Elektra was momentarily nervous that it would be as hard work as the other day in the deep snow but she quickly learned on a groomed snowmobile trail it was much easier traveling, just perfect for trotting.











The sun was bright and beautiful but it was not very warm.

As we went along we originally had one destination in mind but as usual we got distracted and decided to make a few off shoots.

First place we decide to go is over to the power-dam to see what it looks like in the winter. We have ridden over this way many times in the spring and summer(this is where we head for one of our river crossings) but have not been over this way at all in the winter so time to check things out.

First up over the snowmobile bridge which Keri just trots over as if she didn't even notice it, which is a possibility.









It seems all the horses I ride like to be close to the edge and it may be because I have a bit of a thing about looking down at stuff. As Elektra and I strolled along I snapped this picture of looking down from the bridge. Kind of cool I think but I love that goose bumpy feeling from looking down from up high.













From here down along the river then to the the old power dam. Just beautiful and to show how cold it was the whole thing was ice with the water flowing underneath it.








So frozen animals are able to walk down the water fall.














From here we take one more detour to the flood plains and along side the river which today looked more of snow plains with the vast amount of undisturbed snow and the bright sun.







We then took another trail that I thought, because I am the map of all our trips, was going to allow us to loop around and head home easily without having to retrace a lot of the same trail but it ended up bringing us further from home. For a little while we were not quite sure where we were headed but we eventually made it to an area we were familiar with and back to home.

















It was a great trip, even though towards the last mile we were definitely starting to feel the cold it was all worth it. The horses were perfect, views spectacular and we got to explore some areas we had never been. Now a day or two off for Elektra while I have lessons, meetings and a date with Splash Dancer in the ring then back to a bit of ring work for her to use some of the newly built muscles to better our dressage scores.


I think the smile on my mom's face shows how rejuvenating this trip has been.
Happy riding~

Amiable and Earnest

Just look at this cute face! Who could resist it? Not me, that’s for sure. I am amazed sometimes at how much I love this guy. We have certainly had our trials over the years, and that makes our renewed relationship this winter all the more sweet. Usually the words I use to describe my guy start with F. Now listen, before your imagination runs away with you, I was thinking Fresh and Frisky and Forward. But on Saturday, AhD was Amiable and Earnest. He had such a willing and sweet attitude! We puttered around, keeping the trails open, looking at the scenery, while the dogs followed us and sniffed about.

Here we are, looking back at the homestead.

It was a beautiful day, heading into evening. What a joy! I took tons of pictures,
of some of my favorite spots. We are supposed to get another foot of snow on Wednesday, so that may end my backwoods trail riding for awhile.
Didder was so easygoing! Not the usual challenge. He gave me a nice canter in the deep snow.
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He has his gorgeous March mane in January this year, but he has rubbed the hair off the base of his tail right down to nothing. Such is the state of the Curly coat! You take it and enjoy it while it is there ~ no use crying over spilt milk.
Here he is, patiently awaiting on me to open the barn door and let him in for a drink. I missed a good photo op of he and Grace (boss Lab in the background here) drinking out of the water trough together. It warms my heart the way He and Grace get along so well now.
Evening is falling early, but we have so much more light than we did in December, we can easily fit in some really decent rides. Now, for some company....I am missing my youngest, who is still recovering from his ruptured spleen. A few more months and he will be back with me, but for now I am working on some winter riding with anyone willing to ride our Haflinger. Wish me luck!



Ok, finally found a computer that I was able to talk to all you wonderful Curly Horse Lovers! Mine has issues right now and hope to get them worked out today. But, anyway. Last Friday was my Birthday, and my husband and I played hooky from work, shhhh, don't tell. The weather was absolutly WONDERFUL! All our horses got ridden, and everyone got to ride. This was our first ride of 2011, and I got to ride my horse Marley. He was such a good boy and was really impressed we didn't do anything stupid or try anything for that matter. I am looking for a new western trail saddle and being my husband took the little one on Larry, our other curly, I gave him the nice western saddle and I rode in my english one (a little scary with nothing to hold on too but his big beautiful mane) There wasn't much room to ride we all rode in one small pen for about a half hour till the little one got to cold. All we did was walk around and walk through snow banks and did some flexing and circling, working on leg cues. Nothing to intense for our first outing. Oh but I do have to tell you, Larry thought he must have been sinking or something cause he laid down with the 2 of them on his back right there in the big snow bank! He didn't roll or anything but just laid there, they both got off and got back on when he got up, so no one got hurt or anything. He has never ever done that before, just weird. But today it is back to snow and cold again so might be awhile till I am able to get in another short ride. Even though I am not posting, I am enjoying reading everyday what you guys are all up to that are giving me ideas of what I can try when I can. Looking to a wonderful riding season ahead and started planning our trail rides for the summer.

Dana, Marley, & Larry.
Minnesota

Frustrated

It is like I am not allowed to work with my horses. Finely after two weeks doing nothing I was up and ready. First I was very sick, then my parents were here for a week , ok I did one day something when my parents where here.
First I took Mallie out of the field. She was so excited she was the one getting attention. She is so sweet and she loves to hug all day. But today I wanted to do some ground work. Since it is still a big mud pool everywhere I took here for a walk and showed here some things she’d never seen.
Mallie is like ok…we look…we snore…and we go… She is very easy excited and she puts her tail up in the air and she trots off. But now I was in control, no trotting no running, just learn, listen and absorb what you see miss Mallie :-). But wauw when she is in the field she can trot, she will make a great dressage horse.
My dad has EXTREME allergies for horses it is very bad. So I made him pet Mallie and..no reaction, just a little bit but not as near as he has with the other horses.
( my mom and dad with Mallie)

I wanted to get Lydiker for him since a bought him a little bit for him. And Freedom too but they are in the field with other horses so I did not want to take that chance my dad gets so bad when he has a reaction.
Freedom was taking a nap.

I worked Moose also al bit and he was very good but he had more attention to the grass.

Yesterday was a beautiful day but we had to go to a funeral and I was not feeling well again.
Today I was up and ready to go at 7.30……8.00 it is raining, no not raining it is like somebody opened a water hose in the sky whuuuhuuuuu more mud, I am getting frustrated I want to work the horses. But this is to slippery and dangerous.

Hoof Bridge and Western Trail Shows with Chester in Texas

Hello Curly Friends, 

Since this is the time of year we get lots of rain in Texas I decided to build a foot bridge. But, more appropriately it will be a "hoof bridge" as we will be using it to practice for our up coming Western Trail class shows. 
Here is my stallion, Chester and I, crossing it for the first time yesterday. He took one look at it and said "no worries, mom" and across we went.



As soon as we have drier weather we will paint it.


All our best, 
Angie and Chester - practicing for Western Trail Shows in Texas

A little change for the Queen of Carts

Sunday was the perfect day to get out the old sleigh that has been in the family since the mid-eighties here in Vermont. This little home made rig has seen a lot of action .. and has suffered some over the years. It sorely needs some restoration :) BUT - the great thing is - as long as the horse can pull it - it goes :) Not much for maintenance, no moving parts - no wonder those old pioneers found a good sleigh/sled so handy.  Years ago, the little sleigh had the requisite red painted santa sleigh type sides... now I guess it's more of a skoot than a sleigh.



When my number 5 son was cranky and would not nap -- I'd hitch up the sleigh and he'd fall asleep on the floor of the sled while we trotted around and around the ring in the large circle of packed snow I made with the tractor.  So far Dominic is the only other offspring that appreciates the horses - and he loves going out for a cart ride/sleigh ride. Today we have some gentle snow showers ~ not terribly frigid, a decent day for sleigh fun.




Dominic and I flew down the road and back -- the back roads were perfect on the flat parts.. the runners just glided right along and Nimue pulled us with speed effortlessly.  FUN :)  As Zoe mentioned in her post-- Dominic has the same thoughts as we do -- further and faster !!  Luckily our horses generally co-operate with our desires.



Zoe taking her turn ~   As for sleigh memories - here's one that sticks in my mind. When Zoe was younger, about Dominic's age -- she foolishly stepped out of the sled in the front - and the horse moved forward a few steps -- poor Zoe got run over by the sled :) She's a tough farm girl though - obviously her memories of sleigh riding are still positive ones  !!



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This video is just like being in the driver's seat -- I started with the camera in my hand, but it's not like riding and video'ing -- I needed both hands with the lines - so I experimented to see what would happen if I just let the camera dangle around my neck. Here's what I got. Notice how nicely she steps that sleigh over for the turn. What a good girl :)

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Coming back up after our foray down the road... few slippery spots -- Nimue digs right in to pull -- what a great girl !!

AND -- here's the little monkey at the helm... first time holding the lines himself and driving ! Pretty exciting for him.

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We had to bring our fun to a close sooner than we planned, because a family came to look at ponies --  they arrived a bit early .. so they were treated to a sleigh ride before we put Miss Nimue away for the day.  She's a great mare -- and I have to mention.. don't forget she is for sale !

Enjoy ~
Spent a fabulous weekend out at the ranch riding. Yesterday was hot and sunny. Maybe a little warm for our curly-coated friends. Today we rode in the sunshine with dark clouds hanging on the mountains. We could even see the rain and some snow falling on them. Much cooler though perfect for the horses and we wore our warm coats.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Extreme Cowboy Race

Four more day to go till my curly Champagne and I compete at the Extreme Cowboy Race at the Equine Affaire in Pomona CA. I think we are ready. I am so excited and nervous at the same time. To anyone who want to come watch it starts a 7:30pm on Thursday February 3rd.

To mix things up a bit my mom and I decided yesterday on our ride that I would come over to the farm today to have some fun in the sleigh with Nimue. After getting all my cleaning and laundry done at home I bundled up my 7yo son and we headed over to Yaya's house(Yaya is Greek for grandmother and what he calls my mom.) He loves going for cart or sleigh rides with Nimue and has been a part of many of our cart adventures. For those of you who were part of the RAC 2010 he went over Hawk's Mountain with us and he was also part of the Christmas Eve cart ride. For those interested in seeing the video or any others of Nimue check out her page on the website. http://www.vermontel.net/~top/nimue.htm

Nimue of course was ready to go but we needed to make a few last minute adjustments to the harness. We had to do a quick change to the harness to make if work for the sleigh shafts rather than the cart shafts. Nimue must be taking lessons from her pasture mate Keri because she stood like a perfect lady while we finished hooking up.

Once we finished up with hooking her up it was time for the seat and then off she went.





Yaya first just to be sure and of course Nimue was perfect. Next comes Yaya and Dominic heading off to have some fun.















Next thing I now I look down the driveway and see the heading onto the road for a fun little trot.


Watching them go off together brings back memories of when I just a little older then Dominic and going on rides in this same sleigh(it had the red sides then). It is great to be able to share the experience with my little guy. He seems to really enjoy being a part of it, just loves Nimue and the adventures we take together. He ended his day with a special treat that I will let my mom blog about as she has the pictures of that. When we were all done and heading back to our little home over the hill he was already making plans to go back to Yaya's next weekend so we could go again but even further. Much like his Yaya and mom he is already thinking about how we can make our trips longer and faster. He is always ready for the next fun adventure.

Good day!

I'm proud of myself, lol.  I rode Sailor Friday for a bit and worked him in long lines.  Then yesterday I worked with Moon and Murray.  I also clipped and messed with Simon yesterday.

And today .... I did it all again, lol.  I got up early (for me) and headed to the barn.  The smaller turn out paddocks are not used on Sundays so I turned Simon and Sailor out together.  Simon lives in the barn with his lean to and run but he doesn't really get to socialize.  So he spent several hours out today with his big bro, Sailor.  It was really exciting.  They sniffed each other then stuffed their heads into the bale of hay, lol. 

The girls wanted to trail ride and since I'm not comfortable enough with Emmy yet to trail ride, I needed to get her ridden first.  I tried a new bit setup with her and that was a total FAIL.  Nothing drastic happened but she let me know in no uncertain terms that she was NOT pleased, you know as only mares can! 

Then I collected Murray and off we went.  I wasn't really feeling the trail ride thing but my friend just sort of took off without me so I had to catch up.  Murray was just fine.  I haven't ridden the trails at this barn yet so this was new for both of us.  We saw little yappy dogs and balloons and black plastic stuck to the ground and a plastic bag floating on the breeze.  And just like the good boy I know he is, Murray took it all in stride.  In fact, he tried to carry me into the subdivision to investigate the balloons.  We were only out for about an hour.  I didn't have a jacket on and the wind was COLD.  Yes, I know I'm a weeny! 

Now I'm worn out!  I should sleep good tonight!  I told my barn owner that I was paying him instead of a gym membership!

Back in the Bush!

I decided against better judgement to go back into the bush again today. We had so much fun yesterday but I didn't mention that I hurt my knee..or the back of it anyway. I didn't really think much of it and kept rubbing cream into it last night and this morning. Thinking as with most sore muscles I could work it out I headed back to the bush again! We weren't back there long before I was in quite a bit of pain. Linus was phenomenal though and seemed to sense something was up with me. He slowed his pace and we took our time going back.
He greeted me very enthusiastically today and I think he was hoping we were going back into the bush again! It was another very beautiful day out. I've noticed though that every day this week right before I am about to work with Linus it starts to snow...I think its great and if that's what it takes for us to get a decent amount of snow here I will keep taking him out as much as I can!!
I only took one picture today, I had to get Linus to back up so I could take it and show the way the tree trunk had fallen. It was near the front of the bush so it was kind of like a big ranch gate welcoming us to a peaceful and beautiful playground!!
Hopefully my knee heals fast and we can get back in the bush again soon...but I suspect we might have a few days of road work!


Donna & Linus
Lunenburg, ON Canada

Not as good as yesterday

Tygs' groundwork today went well, but I felt he was more anxious today and I'm going to chalk it up to I was trying to teach him something new. He did well, but I just felt he was more anxious. I tried to remember the "10" that someone posted earlier this month, so he didn't get more anxious. As we walked by the "scary mailbox" today I asked him to touch it with his nose and he did! No, Denise, I don't have pictures. I'm not that coordinated and my hubby is at work. Besides I don't think my camera will work in these cold temps. It was about 12 degrees today.

For our walk I chose the quarter mile trail again, but we went the opposite way around than what we did yesterday. He seemed more anxious and kept trying to get me to turn around to come back, which we didn't. We ended up doing alot of circles and backing up while we walked. He only shied once today and I think it was his shadow. Silly boy.

After much work I did get him to yield his front quarters today one step. He keeps wanting to back up, but we made progress today. I did walk him up to our front steps to the house and he didn't think nothing of it, so I'm going to attempt to find something to resemble a pedestal and my goal this week is to have him step up on it.

I have to share that this morning when I was on the back porch first thing and said "Good morning, Tygs," he answered me right away and came to the fence to see what I was doing. I've never had a horse do that and it made me feel like we're connected already and he's only been here two days. Happy Training! Janeen from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Still too Cold

This January has been interesting with its cold snaps and periods of milder weather. I have only had a couple of hours of time with my curlies as work and weather interfere with this passion.

I love reading about others who are riding, as it inspires me to keep trying to brave the cold weather. Thank you to all who keep us posted on your progress.

Yesterday's lesson

I noticed a week ago that Voelie's eyes were red (the part that is supposed to be white) and there were lots of tears and 'junk' in the corners of her eyes so I bought an eye cream. I have used it daily since which in itself is a good practice for her. At first she was not too sure about me putting cream in and around her eye but now it is part of the daily routine and she is easy to handle doing this. Today her eye looked more pink than red so I think it is improving. I will keep using the cream though.
After this daily routine I did a bit of preperation for future lunging. I let her walk in a circle around me on a long leadline and change direction and stop when I asked her to. After a couple of tries she understood what I wanted. We practiced again walking over the rubber mat as I did with her yesterday and today it was no problem at all. She really rememberd yesterday's lesson well!

Deep Snow makes Tough Trails !



Here's our Saturday ride from my perspective :)
I always snap this photo as we trot down the hill toward the Apple Tree Farm. Mount Ascutney in the distance -- I have plans to ride up that in the future and snap a view pointing this way :) Now I said to Zoe -- if the fellow who lives here would cut down that pine and maybe the two maples I'd have a much better photograph.


As Zoe mentioned in her post- when we headed out - we had one destination in mind - but that course was modified along the way. And besides - it's good to keep our mounts on their toes with differing routes.
We trot past Hidden Valley pond - which looks like a vast expanse of snow now. Someone or something was out on the ice searching.





This is a banner year for icicles because of the extreme weather we've been experiencing. You can tell that this little house on the corner does not have much for attic insulation-- all the snow has melted off their roof.  We've had such cold weather here in Vermont lately -- the roofs are quite deep with snow which has not slid off yet... we are waiting for a thaw and a big slide.




Mineral Springs just ahead... love this stretch of road here with great views. I usually see the kingfisher at the beaver pond - and sometimes a heron or two.

Keri gets bonked in the head with Zoe's crop quite often during our rides.. she's used to it.







There's a nice trail which winds around the back of this pond which we have not been on in a awhile -- we make a mental note for the next trip.





No sun today -- it is not as cold as it looks though.. a bit of a January thaw -- which means it is no longer below zero.


As we amble down this dirt road - we see evidence that the "stroller lady" has been out today


I applaud this young woman for getting out with her kids and dogs no matter the weather -- but as I suggested to Zoe - perhaps we should get her number and call ahead.. if she's on the road we'll take another route !  The stroller is a double decker of sorts -- two children.. two dogs lunging on leashes and very squeaky wheels.  First time Keri saw this obstacle - her eyes bugged right out of her head - and she's seen a lot in her days.  :)  
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And what is a blog post without my canter video ?  heading up what we have always called Mile Long Hill (it is exactly a mile)  Zoe and Elektra cheat a bit -- as they pass us and stick that crop out as a barrier. Well at least she does not bump me into a ditch the way naughty Teasel does. :)  We head to Heidi's house - one of the reasons for taking this route.

 Denise knows I have no problems walking my horse up to a person's front door -- but I was not sure if the deck would hold me and Keri - so Zoe dismounts and raps the door with the butt of her crop.






just waiting for someone to answer the knock.




I hand Heidi the camera to get a shot of me and Zoe and our lovely mounts.


Now soon you will see how those elegant legs of Elektra's are going to be quite handy --








Headed onto trail.  Elektra has to perform her customary poke first to be sure.










Here's Zoe taking a photo of me taking a photo of her.

Elektra is still wondering where the road went.








Right here, in the warmer months -- there is a huge puddle... this is where Fiona did her first big puddle walk for last year's mini contest.  Cold enough so we don't even break ice today.







The snowy forest is beautiful and quiet... made me think of Robert Frost

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.



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 it wasn't long that we all were questioning the wisdom of trail riding in this deep snow... wow -- we tried trotting.. too tiring.  Elektra is having an easier time of it - here is where the legs come into play - she travels like a graceful tango ---- while Keri trudges along with whatever the opposite of that would be - an awkward cha-cha ?   Somedays it stinks to be short.

But -- trudge along girls as Frost says-- 


The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. 





Carving on the tree -- Mountain Man .. can't seem to get the zoom on my camera to work -- it's tired too.



This is what it looks like in the summer .. wonder who left this memento 21 years ago ?




I keep re-assuring Keri we are almost there !







As we clump and waddle and galumph along .. we notice in these woods skillions of bunny tracks this way and that -- what the heck do rabbits eat with this much snow cover ?  it was like the Rabbit Convention in here along this trail -- we saw plenty of spots where they had evidently dug down for grass and other goodies.









Once we reach the copse of pines - I tell Keri.. almost there girl !


I love this spot.... even better today :)  another half mile and we are out on the road.. it's just about dark - as Zoe snaps a photo of the sun setting.


By the time the horses are put away - I am stuck doing my chores in the dark of the night.. what a great adventure though.  as usual I am totally refreshed :)


Enjoy ~

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