Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Boys are Back in Town!

Can't believe I forgot to post, but I had a glorious horsey afternoon this past Sunday. My friend, Bernie and her gelding Lucas, live nearby so we try to ride together as often as we can. It's nice to meet up for a ride and not have to lose the time trailering somewhere takes! Her family owns the land I have been riding on a lot this winter. They have beautiful trails through their bush so it is much better than having to think about sharing the road!

Our boys, Linus and Lucas, love each other. They trailer together like pals and always get along. We call it the "bro-mance". They haven't seen each other since last November for the Santa Parade, so they sure enjoyed being able to get out again.

Bernie and Lucas make a perfect match. He is 1/2 Friesian, 1/4 Percheron and 1/4 Arab. And he loves to prance! I think he knows he is gorgeous. We pick at her because when we ride in the parades, all you hear is "ooh, look at the black one"

We had  wonderful time following trails and breaking trails too! These are 2 fair sized horses and were often knee deep! 

We had a nice trot home where there were some kids waiting to meet Linus! They are family friends but forgot we had horses so were very thrilled that there was one saddled up who would soon be there!

Hunter was a bit daunted at first when he met Linus. Not that Linus is a Goliath or anything, but he is bigger than the average saddle horse around here. When Hunter got over it and saw how quiet and friendly was, he opted to get on...his very first time on a horse!! 

This is one thing that is so freakin' great about these Curlies. Linus has given quite a few first rides now and the earliest came when he himself was less than a year old!! (my one year old son and niece)
And now, at almost 6, I know he is the perfect horse to have around for those first rides. I think it helped Hunter relax knowing Linus had just done a big trail ride too!! 

His sister didn't want to get on. I think she was a bit scared to. She settled for meeting my son's Paint, Cookie. She thoroughly enjoyed it. 

And here are some pictures Bernie took of Linus and I on our bush ride. 

I sure hope we soon get many more!

Donna and Linus

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Summer Drive

Well, it is nearly time for *CNC Summer Breeze to return home to her farm and I wanted to do just one more training exercise with her before she heads home.  Summer has done well in training,  she is a gentle little mare (12.3HH) and will make a wonderful all around pony.  To be successful in driving, a horse/pony has to be willing to go forward You do not have the support of the leg aid, when driving, so the other factors that create a willing horse/pony come into play. Today we tested that. Summer and I did a bit of ground driving outside and around the farm. The test was to see how well she handled unfamiliar territory and objects. Summer passed with flying colors! 
First I had to pass these two,  "pick me..pick me"  seemed to be what they were saying....
 Then to the work at hand.

 A little loss of contact....I really wanted her to go forward on her own,  we will pick contact back up shortly.
Still pretty soft and forward...what a good pony!  driver could have been better handling reins...hey...this IS a learning process right?  extra thanks to hubby for patient photo work while I played ;-0 

Snowy Sunday Funday

Well we finally had a break in the weather after getting 6 inches of powder and today turned out to be a whopping 31 degrees out!  All of the horses got to go out and enjoy the snow and I was finally able to get in some riding.  Took Honey down the road and it was beautiful (snow falling off of the trees and so much warm sunshine).  The Curlies are starting to shed here in VT and there's hair everywhere!
 Honey was not as impressed with me wanting to ride as I was and with a little coercing we made it out for two hours on the road and maybe even a little "off-roading" ;)  I am really looking forward to this snow melting and being able to do some more work in the ring and on trail.

I am almost finished with the research portion of my senior project!  Now to just sit down to write the 20 page paper and prepare my 15 minute presentation. 

I even managed to snag a short video on Honey to show you all how much snow we had and just how beautiful today was. :)

Hope you are all staying warm and enjoying your "Horsey Time."

~Bethany & Honey

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday SnowfallI

What a trend we are in now. If it warms up - we get snow! It sure has been a good winter for pushing the limits...and the layers!! Today wasn't so bad though, it snowed heavy at times while I was out and it is warmer now than when I was out but ya gotta go when ya got the time!! And I had the time, so off we went! My face stung a little until I reached the trail we rode on, but I soon warmed up. 

Linus sure doesn't look like he was going to wake up does he?

But, he is good to perk up once I am on and we set off. He was very forward today. The turkeys have been driving him crazy lately with their awkward crashing around as they fly in the bush. They have also been doing a lot of squawking. 

Loved these tiny pinecones, they were the size of the tip of my thumb!
 The snow made the roads less than great, so we took the short trip to the trail easy. We're lucky to have mostly quiet sideroads and only met a couple of vehicles. We have an agreement of sorts between us. Usually for cars Linus doesn't stop, but for anything big (like the F350 with a huge plow on it that we met) I have him bend to my knee and hold for a treat. He knows a treat is coming and by the time I fish one out, the vehicle has passed. A calm horse on the side of the road is good for the ride and good for the driver!! It has also come in handy too if ever in a sticky situation, I pat my pocket and say "treat" and he stops and bends to my nose. Some I think would not like that, but I think for someone who mostly rides alone, it could prove very handy down the road!

We enjoyed some nice trots and canters on the trail today and also chatted with Alec, who owns the land we were riding on. He told me some good places to go and even to ride through his cows if I wanted. He also said there were so many turkeys around because he was feeding them! He feels bad that they cannot reach their food: )

Linus meeting my husband on the side of the road. His ear is on me because I didn't want him sticking his head in the car. Stu is the reason why I have a Curly. He is allergic to horses...and mostly everything else too!!
Donna & Linus

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Brief Break!

In the temperature! Wow, what a treat it is to see some of you out riding with grass visible, or even in TShirts! We are a long way off from that! Linus only just started shedding last week and that is a month late for him. 
I still had to wear long johns and chaps along with jeans, but it was so worth it to be out again! I think we will soon be setting a new fashion trend here with windburn!

We met fellow RAC participant Fred, delivering the mail. He received his RAC shirts yesterday and delivered mine today : )
They're SO nice, thank you Denise! 

We were only out for an hour, but it was one of those days where that was all it took to brighten the mood and lift the spirits...I get SO grumpy if I go too long without riding!

We had to keep it to the road because of poor footing around here but we were able to enjoy some nice, forward trots and even a nice canter. We have been working on the cues in the last year and Linus has gotten very good at moving out just with me clucking for the next gear. 

Hope you all get a chance to be out and enjoy your horses soon!
Donna & Linus

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Hello from snowy New Hampshire

I haven't had a chance to ride my curlies since the start of RAC 2015 but want to introduce us. We live in south western New Hampshire and I'll be working with 2 wonderful curlies who I purchased from Betsy Lirakis in Vermont. I mostly trail ride, attend a few clinics and try to fit in  a couple camping adventures in the warm weather. I'm looking forward to riding locally and camping at least once with my fabulous mare, Pyewacket. I've had Pye for about 9 years and she's a super kind mare with a great personality and loves to be out on the trails. My other curly is a gelding, Jockomo. I've had Jocko since he was a youngster and last summer was the first time we did any consistent work under saddle. I'm looking forward to more time riding him, exposing him to new situations and increasing his confidence in being out on the trails. He's a curious and brave character who loves to explore. I'll put up more posts once things thaw a little here and we can get out and do some riding. The footing right now is glare ice under much fluffy snow and the roads are too narrow to safely share with cars. We're doing some ground work and taking walks - another 4 -6 weeks and things should start to open up.

Here's a photo of Pye in today's snowfall and another of her under saddle this past fall.

Here are photos of Jocko both in today's snow and last fall under saddle.

I look forward to reading about others and sharing our adventures!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Enjoying the Sun!

WOW! One of the nicest days of the whole winter I think! When I rode there was almost no wind at all and it was about -5C. It was late afternoon by the time I was able to get out so we shared the road with school buses but it went without a hitch! 
If you follow from the road below straight on, it is a dead end but leads to the trails I have been riding on this winter. Today though, the owner of the land (a good family friend) was cutting wood down there so we decided to leave him be and we followed where you see the curve in the road. 

We met several school buses along this part of the road but all were very good to slow down for us and Linus remembered every time to bend to my knee and he would get a treat for standing nice and still. Good boy Linus.

We took another sideroad which goes past a sheep farm and then onto a field with some Arabs in it. Linus likes coming down here to see if they are out near the road. Sometimes they are not visible and this really makes him look hard for them!
The horse below was very cute...and I am not a fan of that word for describing horses but this guy really earned it!! He was adorable!

I usually let Linus have a rest and check out the other horses. It's a good chance to admire him all puffed up and trying to impress...

On the way back I was able to get a picture of one of the Maremma dogs who guard the sheep. There are 3 of them at this farm and they have a big bark! But, Linus is very used to dogs and seems to really like the big ones best (he grew up on our farm with 2 giant breed dogs) However, these dogs are not bred to be friendly and it really angers them that Linus wants to go meet them rather than runs away from them!! I am just glad to be on a nice, safe horse who calmly walks by all their growling and barking!

Late afternoon was perfect timing for some long shadow pictures...

The woman who drives this bus was just getting home. She parks on the roads to knock the crud off her mud flaps and sweep off her lights etc. I took advantage of this opportunity for Linus to check the bus out up close. We have been meeting them more and more recently so why not go for a close up! The big goof was going to stick his head right in the drivers side window!! I pulled him away though, I do not need to pay for new windows or mirrors on a school bus!! 

I was very happy that he wanted to check it out rather than wanting to rush past it.

Around the next bend was a car that had just recently taken the sharp curve too fast and was in the ditch. We kicked it up a notch since it was nose down and still idling but the driver was ok and at the nearby house using the phone. I was very proud of Linus for not hesitating at all to approach the vehicle. He was curious more than anything which was super nice to know, if someone were stuck inside or injured it was good to know I can trust Linus to approach and allow me to help rather than become emotional and hard to handle. I got off and checked, but as I said, the driver was out and ok. He was so good about it all. A couple of vehicles came along and I was able to mount back up and carry on without a hitch! LOVE this guy so much!!

We took a selfie after I took his saddle off! Nobody will miss me with that bright helmet cover eh? Haha, I ordered one for my son and it was supposed to be just plain dark blue. It came in bright blue and sparkly - he wasn't thrilled!! I traded him my plain black one. This one fits my helmet better than the other one did anyway. I am not a bright, sparkly person but I guess it is good for visibility! 

Love how the late afternoon sun brightens his red coat.

We got back just in time to catch a very pretty sunset.


Donna & Linus
Lunenburg, ON

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Friday Fling!

After a particularly rough week, I was so glad for the opportunity to take Linus out late Friday afternoon. Yep, finally put some miles on that new saddle!! It was cold enough and I forgot I didn't have my fleece tights on or second pair of socks so I was a little cold when we got back. Thankfully we did a lot of trotting and cantering which helps stay warm!! 
I was super proud of Linus for being a cool cucumber when we met 4 school buses within a few minutes of starting our ride. I knew with a fresh, young horse I could have had some pushback but I swear he knew I was relying on him to cheer me up!! He was stellar. One bus was right at the end of our lane and then we met 3 all at the same time where our roads comes to a T meeting the next road. I just made sure he could see them all and he was fine. Last spring we had a milk truck speed past us very close to us head on and it kind of brought Linus' confidence down a bit with big vehicles. So, we worked on that a lot last year. I do use treats for traffic. It works great for us, when heavy (large) traffic goes by, he will turn his nose in towards my leg. If it's really big or scary, I make a big deal of patting my pocket and taking my time. Before he even knows it the truck is gone and he has his reward for standing calmly. I think it makes it easier for the drivers too. They see a calm, relaxed horse rather than one dancing and spinning about. I'm sure that would scare them as the last thing they would want is a collision too!

We headed up to a friends bush where there are beautiful trails. The footing is perfect so it's a great place to go and let Linus stretch his legs!! He was very forward but very responsive too. There is nothing better than that is there?! Well, maybe one thing; yesterday he was standing at the gate watching me do chores. And he had his hay already. I know he was waiting to go out for another ride. He will only leave food untouched if he wants to get out and go! Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to go but we did put all 3 horses out in the front pasture so they could run...and kick...and buck...and fart!
They were happy for the playtime! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Snow fun

I wanted to take full advantage of the mild day, even if it was snowing quite heavily. I love the snow though and love riding in it. Some setbacks on the farm though didn't really leave me with enough time to tack up and get out on the trails I wanted to get to so I threw on the bareback pad instead and stuck closer to home. Usually by now, Linus has started his shedding, but he hasn't yet! I don't like that since he usually starts fairly early in January. Nevermind the groundhog....we have a lot of winter left!! 

We had some nice trots in the fluffy snow and tried to follow some coyote tracks but the snow was filling them in too quickly. Because we have young calves and more on the way, we try to stay on top of how close the coyotes are coming. I like using Linus for these ventures because he is smart and steady and I know that should we ever actually see a coyote he will keep his cool. Gotta love these level-headed Curlies!! 
They also can get pretty jealous though can't they!! I took my son's horse, Cookie out for a spin after I rode Linus and he does not like that! He doesn't think I should spend time with any other horse except for him. 

He seems to be getting better with it though and he knows that he is my #1 
Donna & Linus
Eastern Ontario

Happy Pony

Yesterday was lesson day.  First up, Legacy...I have been not taking lessons on a regular basis for a few, filling in the holes in my training has been a priority. Today, first up was Legacy. I had some questions on lunging, what correct (working through and over her back) and how to achieve correct.  This time of year is about the best the curly coat is all year long....soon, shedding will begin and we will be burid in masses of shedding hair.  Legacy looks awesome as she works today.

After Legacy worked,  next up was Lady.  I had much more for Lady to do in our lesson, than Legacy. This is a matter of her being fairly new to me. Lady arrived at our farm last summer...Legacy was born here 8+ years ago.  Lady is really trying. She has learned alot about our farm and what I expect of my equines.  We did quite a bit of lunge work with Lady, letting her soften, relax and reach forward. She was rather tight in the back when she first arrived,  but that has changed alot and is quite the willing student, 

After our lunge work, Lady was really relaxed and warmed we moved onto driving. I needed an extra set of eyes to help me decide if my turnout fitting was proper....I am so happy to announce we have finally got it all sorted out (well,  perhaps a bit change is going to happen)  and Lady is now comfortable, and HAPPY ......happy, happy pony...happy with lunge work,  happy with cart work....

Too bad we are having a "grey week"  these photos would have looked much better with some sunshine...but I won't complain, we have no snow but are getting plenty of moisture (the kind you do not have to shovel) .....My lesson went way over time...but hey, we have a happy pony...and what is better than a really happy pony?