Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!

It is not officially winter yet but already this week we have had the coldest recorded temperature for a particular date and we got 25 cm of snow overnight and into this morning! I wonder what winter will bring when it is here! Hopefully lots more snow because Linus and I LOVE it!! I think it is such a shame that so many people hang up their tack and don't ride all winter long. I bet some of the high level competition horses would enjoy a snowy ride so much! What a change of pace that would make for them. But, to each their own. I know some people just hate winter! Yet another reason why my wonderful Curly and I are such a great match! I'm really looking forward to enjoying the snow more this year now that Linus is a year older too!

Here are some pictures of Linus playing in the snow this afternoon while I was doing some chores. A big, wet sticky dump like the one we got can do a number on the fences so I had 4 solid hours of farm work ahead of me before I even had the chance to ride!  I didn't think I would have the strength to even ride Linus by the time I was done it all! I'm so glad I went for it though! I felt so refreshed afterwards!

Can we play now?

Ooh look, they're shovelling at the neighbour's house too!


I LOVE the snow covered trees. I wish I would have caught these earlier in the day when they were fully laden with snow!

At last! Chores done and time to go for a ride! I love using the bareback pad in the winter.
 Linus keeps me so warm. I used a round bale for mounting!

umm, will you please stop taking pictures so we can GO!

My favourite winter view is through the ears of my awesome horse!  And please take note of the curls between his ears!!! : )

Linus was pretty fresh which I expected with the new snow! He was SO good for me today though. I could feel him wanting to go but he didn't give me a hard time and stayed loose on the rein. I find him getting lighter and lighter to ride. The barrel training really helped us in getting moving off my leg and so I find myself using the reins less and less. I love how much he controls his urges when I'm bareback too. I can really feel him taking more care. I kept telling him how awesome he was! For the first time ever we trotted the whole loop of the yard with no saddle and it was freakin' awesome. I only realized afterwards that I had an ear to ear grin the entire time. Then I reached forward and hugged Linus and rubbed his neck and again told him how awesome he is!

Here is a video of us when we first started our ride. You can hear Linus blowing and muffling with the fresh snow! And I let him check out a shrub, he loves to knock the snow off of them! Sorry, no singing this time Harold!

Much to his delight, there was grass only a few paws away! 

Donna & Linus
lovin' the snow in Ontario!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

That gut feeling

I knew it.....I just knew something would happen today...that is the feeling in my gut as I took out my horse to work. Legacy has been working so well, not a misstep in weeks. She is not perfect of course, but her work ethic has been really superb and our communication is so great. But....I had that feeling we sometimes get,  that gut feeling that today would be different.

Our warm up was fine, and my gut feeling was starting to dissipate a up, hitching and driving a bit so we (mostly me) could practice driving movement, which is following your horse's head/body action with your hands.

and happened...that thing I KNEW was going to happen...well, it happened.  When I pulled my carriage forward, over Legacy's back and towards the harness tugs (the loop that holds the shaft)  something happened...and my glasses got flipped right off my head!  Legacy was not the one that caused the mishap though, it was all me ;-0   so, I am stuck,  holding the shaft, cause it is not in the tug yet, AND my glasses lay on the ground, inches from a really large hoof.  Spending a moment to think over the I finish the shaft hook up? or let it drop to the ground while I retrieve my glasses first.....I looked again,  one big hoof and one pair of, I spoke real sweet to Legacy and finished the shaft, securing it into the tug loop.  Legacy has long ago been trained to stand,  stand while I harness, stand while I unharness, stand, stand, stand....and stand she I could finish my job, and pick up my really dirty glasses. And then...all the tension went out of my body...LOL....I knew something would happen, it happened and we carried on to have a really nice drive on a beautiful sunny day.  I love my curly horse..........!

Friday, November 22, 2013

a dream off a young allergic girl...

Just made a 4 year old girl smile all day long!

just wanted to show you.
greetgins marjolein.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Maine Coast Addendum

~Susan and AhD (again)
Since bad weather days and hunters are keeping my buddies out of the saddle, I thought I would make an addendum to my other post to keep you entertained.
My friend Terry sent me a bunch of pictures she took, and a few of them jogged my memory.
I love looking at stuff that washes up on the beach, and there is always a lobster trap or two to peruse.  This trip was no different.  I asked Terry to take our picture beside the lobster trap, but AhD had other ideas.
Eeeek!  What is THAT??? I can't POSSIBLY stand by that thing!
I will only relax if I am a horse-length away, because this thing could be dangerous you know!

Now that you've let me think about it, I guess it's ok, but I'm still going to keep my eye on it.

He did survive the ordeal.
Here are a few photos of us enjoying a canter or two.


And here is one of him being a good boy.  Beside and behind us is that salt water river that we did not cross, and beyond is just the most beautiful scenic Maine coast view.  It was too overcast for our cameras to capture the image, but it is engrained in my mind.  Ignore Allie's grouchy-looking ears.  He loves the beach and was probably grousing because Terry made him stand still.
A little excited.  Easy, Boy! (or Janeen, perhaps I should be saying, "Easy, Girl!")

Behind us is The Island that we dared not explore this trip

He is so relaxed here.  I love his big swingy walk.

The end of the ride, leading AhD back out to the beach to roll. Oh, and I forgot to mention in my other post, yes, I actually did pick up poops.  Another thing I forgot?  To take the plastic garbage bag full of horse manure out of the back of my husband's truck. OOPS - now that is not going to go over well if it is discovered first by Dana. :) 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Taking advantage of good weather!

Today was cold, but the sun was out and it wasn't raining or the wind blowing at 30 miles an hour, so I decided to take advantage of it after work.  The weather does not look good again for another five days, so can't let moss grow under our feet if we're going to accomplish challenges.

I decided on seeing how Corky would do with walking on the tarp and if that went well, I would lay a log down and see if we could get a directed jump over it, thought that's not very tall, but it's a jump.  We all know Corky likes to jump puddles, so that shouldn't be too hard.  I knew we had worked with a tarp over Corky's back, but never walking on it.

As he walked up to it, he noticed it right away and the look on his face told me he hadn't done this before.  Because of the snow on the ground, the tarp was making more of a crunchy sound than if it would if it was on grass.  I couldn't get him to follow me, so we walked around it a couple of times, and then he sniffed it.  Then I asked him again to walk over a corner, which he did.  Then we walked across it ..... well, maybe trot so it didn't bite him too bad, and then we did it again and he stopped in the middle and pawed it.

We did that a couple more times and I knew he had it down, so we proceeded to try to step over the post and when he understood that, we started trotting like while lunging and I asked him to hop over the post while lunging.

Good boy, Corky!  About this time I had run out of treats and I wanted to go get some more, but they're in the barn/garage and the car was parked in there and that would be a tight squeeze....wait a minute, there's the squeeze game challenge!  Well, Corky we're going to accomplish that today too.....or at least try.  The thought did occur to me that my car could get banged up doing this, but I thought he would be able to do it.  And sure enough he followed me through the aisle, up to the treat bin, and then I turned him around in about a five foot space in front of the car and we left.

This could have been very dangerous I realized afterwards, but that's the confidence I have in Corky.  As I tell the gal that tried to teach me all sorts of things on different horses before I got Corky, "I can do anything on Corky!"  Ms. Willow has big shoes to fill!

Speaking of Ms. Willow, I thought I'd see what she would do with the tarp, that it would be good training.  So I got her out and was brushing her next to the tarp so she would be pretty for pictures, when she leaves me, walks onto the tarp -- "Wait, Willow!  I don't have the camera out!" -- around the tarp, smells the things that are holding the corners down.  Well, I guess whoever did her training earlier this year did an excellent job!  She is very curious and wasn't afraid at all.

Ms.  Willow showing Corky up
After she showed up Corky with the tarp, I decided to do some lunging, because I haven't done that with her and I have to start to get her attention on me.  She knows that too, of course!  She did fine at the walk, but at the trot, she shook her head, thought about rearing and bucking, but she was corrected.  I laughed!  She's such a teenage girl!  While I enjoy Corky's no nonsense attitude toward learning, I'm going to enjoy Willow's playfulness and sassy attitude.  She's such a girl!  After I corrected her, she would turn her head away from me as if to say, "I AM NOT WORKING!  YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!"  Such a girl.  lol!

Because of the upcoming weather, I ordered a new tape so I can get some more points on bad weather days!

Until next time,

Janeen, Corky and Willow in the UP of Michigan

Update on our lessons

 After 8 weeks of working outside the carriage, I returned to my carriage to drive in today's lesson. My work with Legacy from the ground transferred easily for her to the carriage. Today we worked at the walk and trot, with special consideration on the "whoa"  not because we can not whoa,  but because I had not been releasing soon enough, and Legacy was in the habit of stepping back. We need a clean, proper, we practiced!
Practicing and learning the "feel" of my proper seat is just as important in the carriage as in the saddle. It makes a world of difference in how Legacy goes, so we practice. I tend to lean forward, so over the next few months I will be practicing to lose that error in position.

We ended on such a nice note. I sure have a lot of things to practice,  but, I love to practice...much rather practice this, than the piano practice I had to do as a kid...I was not very good at the piano at all.

OH,  I almost forgot to qualified as my "stormy/windy weather day"  the wind blew like mad, and it poured rain hard on our arena roof...not a quiet lazy day of weather..and my horse was just as quiet and calm as usual. Don't you just love curlies?!?!?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Harold Takes Another Trip to the Maine Coast

...and AhD and I and our buddies Terry and Allie joined him as well, and WOWZA, did we ALL ever have fun!!! The weather was iffy, and I almost called it off before we even left - and I am so, so glad I didn't.  I have had such good rides at Popham that sometimes I hesitate to go back... I feel like any subsequent ride has to be a tad disappointing; this whisper of a hard act to follow sneaks into my awareness.  Yes, it was different than last year's rides, but every bit as fun and just so incredible!

Terry and I had a lot to catch up on and gabbed all the way up.  The parking lot was virtually empty when we arrived and there was no State attendant to take our $4 each for Maine residents or monitor the poop production of our horses (new rule - ALL manure - even that below high tide line - must be picked up and removed from the state park). We set to work tacking up and a nice couple stopped by to chat and admire our absolutely stunningly gorgeous horses and took a picture of us.

Entering the beach, we found LOTS of room to ride, even though low tide was over four hours away.  We turned right instead of left, because we could see that about a mile down the left beach, the ocean was still up to the rocky storm break cliff.

AhD was feeling spunky and made moves to kick Allie twice.  The second time I smacked him upside the head like an errant child, and he didn't try it again.  We rode all the way to the salt-water river, and since the tide was still too high to cross it on 13.3 hand Allie, we turned and made our way back to The Island.  There were seagulls and little sand plovers perusing the sand for tidbits.
I admired the driftwood and picked a few shells for mementos.  A horse who shall remain nameless made an unauthorized poop, and I pretended not to notice. It was below the high tide line. There were a couple of other horses on the beach and a few lonely manure piles discretely far away from the beach entry points.

At The Island, AhD and I attempted to find a way up onto the rocks because it is really cool up there, but just as I was turning him around and giving up on finding a safe way up (slippery rocks and rock crevasses), Terry asked if we could not risk it.  I was in total agreement.  Later that day after we had left the park, a couple of Mainely Gaiter riders took the risk.   One TWH got two feet stuck in a rock crevasse and the following is what happened (with names represented by letters):

"C and W rode out to the island and up the rocks. C's horse, Lady Bug, got both hind feet stuck in a crevice and managed to lay down, fall over and squish people trying to help her. The Phippsburg Fire Dept. came and were instrumental in getting the rock chipped out enough for Bug to be able to get her feet out of the hole. W kept calm and focused. K took care of our other horses and guided the rescue to our position. Other beach goers came to offer support. Ending to this is no people were hurt. Horse has the usual dings, scrapes and swellings that one would expect from such an escapade but walked off the rocks under her own power. Moral to the story is if a horse can get hurt or in trouble, they will. A learning curve about safety and rescue for the persons involved."

Thank God all involved are ok.

As I mentioned, that dangerous incident happened long after we had left the beach for the day.

Next we headed for the left side of the beach, as we could see that there was enough room for us to pass without playing a Parelli Squeeze Game with the tide.  Just before that though, the tide had made a temporary fast moving stream with some steep banks that blocked our forward path.  AhD let me know in no uncertain terms that he was not keen on traveling across.  As I walked him along the edge looking for the best place to ford and letting him think on this a while, a big chunk of sand fell down into the tide stream with a big whoosh, and AhD did his best to imitate that whoosh by ducking and spooking to one side.  Whoosh! My heart was still back along the edge of the stream but luckily my butt was still in the saddle several feet away. :)  Terry defended my pony, because, yep, that sand giving way was pretty scary. Very true.  I guided AhD towards the stream for the second time and found what I thought was the easiest place to cross.  One sharp word from me and my pony scampered across without question.  What a good boy!

Other riders on the beach.  Everyone was so friendly!

On we went, soaking in the experience until it was time to turn and head for the trailer.  Due to electrical issues with my truck, we had to be back to my house before dark, and the afternoon was waning.  As we turned down the beach, Allie broke into a trot, and Terry and I exchanged a meaningful glance.  Ready to try a canter?  It would be Terry's first canter ever on a beach, and sure enough, she was game.  I scooted ahead on AhD, and  then glanced back to see a beaming smile on Terry's face.  Yes, we had lift-off! A few canter strides.  We gave it a bit of a rest and tried again.  This time, I had to keep my eyes on the beach ahead because, unlike Allie, my pony definitely has more go than whoa when there is nothing but beach between him and the trailer, but I still kept one ear focused behind me.  I could hear the hooves hitting the sand behind us in the right cadence, and sure enough, when I pulled AhD up, I turned to see a beaming Terry, who exclaimed, "Twenty-five!  Twenty-five strides!!!"  We couldn't get over it.  Terry was thrilled, and so was I, and even Allie looked mighty proud of himself.  AhD was the only one who was unimpressed.  He had wanted to charge down the beach, no holds barred. Oh well, such is life.  We walked down the beach, reliving the moment, and then I said, "How about another go?" "Sure!" This time Allie was a running fool!  Terry told me afterwards that she lost count at seventy strides.  I could hear the hoof beats behind, and my wonderful Curly was listening to me and in a nice, controlled (albeit, somewhat "airy" - haha) canter.  What an experience!  How fun for me to share that thrill with my good friend Terry! It was the icing on a cake of a day.

We have lift off!!!!!!

Mainely Gaiters, with AhD to the far right
Nearing the "off ramp" of the beach, AhD and I spied some of my Mainely Gaiter friends, and with the ok from Terry (um...never ever gallop away from your friend on the beach without permission...I've had this lesson engraved in me the hard way by being the "victim" of this experience several times), AhD and I speeded off to meet and greet.  Lo and behold, guess who enjoyed another canter? :)

We chatted for a bit, made introductions and admired each others' horses, and then left the beach.  On the way out, I pointed out the Rolling Spot to Terry and explained to her that we definitely needed to come back and let the horses enjoy.  Thankfully, there had been no unscheduled rolling that day. :)

Ahhh...the horses loved it! And we enjoyed watching them.

Thank you all for reading, and I hope you all get to experience such a wonderful ride as this on your treasured horses.

Harold, did you enjoy this ride?  You didn't get any sand in your britches this time.