Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Natural Forces

So thank you ma'am
I must decline
For it's on my steed I will rely
I'm underneath the open sky

I'm subject to the natural forces

Home is where my horse is

— Title track from Lyle Lovett's 2009 album "Natural Forces"

My (home away from) home for awhile is Iron Ridge. Not like it wasn't already, but now even more so, since the Boyz are up there for an unspecified amount of time. Mr. Fry said, "as long as possible" to give the ravaged land a break.

I usually send them up to the farm in the Spring to allow the land to rest and the Boyz to shed some weight. Didn't happen this year because Jaz stayed there when he had strongyles, Scorch came here, and I really couldn't afford to board them after all the vet bills. Plus, I just wanted them home. Here they have 5 hard-scrabble acres to graze and free-choice hay. As you can see from any pix of them, they ain't starving. Up at the farm, they go back and forth between various pens, the arena and stalls. They get 2 meals a day. I'm sure you'll be seeing some truly pathetic faces, as they try to convince me that they are abused and wasting away.

Heather had asked me to bring Jaz up for a play day that involved a convergence of yuppies unaccustomed to neither the heat nor horses. They showed up about the time we would normally be done and cooling our jets. To the old adage about mad dogs and Englishmen in the noonday sun, add Dallas yuppies.

My back wasn't up to heaving tack around, so Kris did the mule work and picked feet. I moved horses, brushed, sprayed, and coached a couple riders who had never been on a horse. We used Jaz, his brother Boo, and Nita's aged mare, Keeley. The adults took turns on Jaz and Keeley, while a young girl rode Boo the entire time.

The heat index was 105°. It was blistering, and for poor Kris, I mean that literally: her shoulders bubbled. I usually tolerate it pretty well, but twice I had to get out of the sun. You know you're in trouble when the top of your head starts to tingle and you have an odd sensation of being chilled, with waves of queasiness. I took my Gatorade into a dark stall with a fan. Nita brought some not-too-sweet banana bread that hit the spot. And never underestimate the therapeutic effect of a few ice cubes in the cleavage.

Poco was in an outside stall where he played over the rail with Quagga, but he was sweating so badly, we moved him into the dark interior stall with the fan. We hosed down all the horses that got used, and I hosed Poco down as well, since he felt gross and crusty from dried sweat. I hand grazed them in the shade, then we put them out in the arena since everyone was done. The yuppies were amused that the Boyz immediately dropped and rolled in the tilled arena. They couldn't understand how that could be okay with me after their "bath". Yeah, they're horses; it's what they do.

Little Daltrey has begun spending more and more time away from his dam, so Heather and I decided the day before that I'd leave the Boyz up there to make his weaning official and see how everyone gets along. We started with Daltrey in a long pen that is between the arena and the pasture. That means he can see and interact with the Boyz and his mother through the fences on either side of him. Nita and I walked Daltrey into the arena to meet the Boyz face to face. I get tickled at that baby puh-puh-puh licking and chewing sound they make. "I'm a baby, please don't hurt me!" Poco looked at him dismissively, like, "Yeah, whatever, kid." Jaz, the stinker, copped an attitude: "Don't mess with me. I'm the boss of you. I could bite you, you know." It's a joke because poor Jaz is so submissive, it won't take Daltrey long to see through him.

Heather reports today that Poco has stepped up to the plate and has taken the little guy under his wing, even sharing hay with him. Isn't that sweet? I can't wait to take some pix.

I miss them already.


AareneX said...

Ugh. You are so brave to live through heat like that! I'd be running for the nearest train station to buy a ticket for Alaska...but YOU, you're out riding.

That's a REAL horse gal for ya.

Jeni said...

No only is she out riding but dealing with Yuppies!!!! True Horse Gal!!

I ride in the heat but I would NEVER EVER deal with other people in it LOL!

Leah Fry said...

I was on the ground — my back is still messed up. I wouldn't be riding that late in the morning, for sure.

Unknown said...

I think it's very nice that you send your boyz to camp and that there is such a fun dynamic there.

Isn't it fun to see non horse people's reaction to horse antics?

Anonymous said...

LOL about the ice cubes. It's wonderful that your Boyz can be in a good place while your land takes a break. Looking forward to seeing your pix.

Unknown said...

Holy smokes! 105! We usually get that kind of weather here now - but it's been a cold spring and a cool summer. I am jealous - I LOVE the heat!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

The Yuppies probably expected the horses to be like their BMWs...ride them and wash 'em...and put them back into the garage clean. lol!

Poco and Jazu should star in their own movie along with Daltrey:

"Two Equines and a Baby"


Leah Fry said...

Two and a Half Horses.

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