Sunday, March 27, 2011

Alive, Well, and ... Lazy

The last few weeks at work have been intense. I've been working on a video project that is logistically challenging, to say the least. The script was finally approved last week, and distributed to the cast and crew. Filming is Monday through Wednesday of the coming week. I'll be so glad when we're done and it's in post production. That won't be the end of it, but the worst will be over. Or so I hope.

Temps dropped from the mid 80s to the upper 50s, and while not technically cold, it's grey and drizzly and feels a lot colder than it actually is. I'm bundled up in sweats and being a total spud. I don't even know if there was a pony play day today at Iron Ridge.

The Boyz are doing well. My friends keep teasing me that I have a pregnant gelding. That's because after spending most of his life scrawny, Jaz is (ahem) well-rounded, shall we say? He is getting back into shape, and is a much more comfortable ride at this weight than he is when he's narrower. I'm keeping an eye on his feet, but he keeps getting good reports from the vet and farrier, so I'm not too worried.

Daltrey continues to astound me with how tall he's getting. One of the SCAers took some photos last weekend and check this out. My goodness, he's just a yearling!

What did you do this weekend?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ah, Spring!

Saturday was a spa day for Jaz. For him, it's not so much about making him foofy as it is being proactive in dealing with his myriad skin issues. I roached his mane down to the bed, and clipped his ears, face, and fetlocks. Okay, maybe that last part was a little foofy. I then gave him a good scrubbing bath with copious amounts of tea tree oil shampoo. The most important part of the bath is his tail. Because he's so allergic to the no-see-ums, it's important to keep the base clean and slathered in Swat. 
 My computer is full of "nosy noser" photos like this.
 We walked to the honey hole and I hand grazed him until he was dry.
At least then when he rolled, it was just sand on the surface rather than caked into his skin. Oh well, it's what they do.

I was not up to giving a yearling his first bath. I think Heather said he's been bathed before, but I haven't done it. And I'll bet when she did it, she had help. Maybe I'll try bathing him myself sometime, but only if that's the only thing I have to do. We settled for brushed, face washed, bridle path clipped, dewormed, and sprayed for flies. He actually likes having his face washed. It gave him sleepy eyes.

Bathing a horse is a whole lot like work. And when you're done, the horse is the only thing that's clean. Oh, the places I had hair.

 Sunday I loaded Jaz in the trailer, and once again, Daltrey moseyed right on in. 
 I don't see what the big deal is.
 I ain't skeered.

So Daltrey came to Iron Ridge and played while I rode Jaz. He got to see his mama, who was happy to see him for all of about 30 seconds before she made it clear she was so over him. When everyone else had gone, we closed the main gate and let Daltrey and Jaz graze in the yard while we sat and yakked. The gate to the arena was open and they started running and playing. Soon the entire herd caught wind of the game and we had 30+ horses running circles around 30 acres, bucking, and farting. It was beauteous. The best part was when Jaz put on his Ay-rab airs — head helt high, tail flagged, showing us his best "park pony" trot — and Daltrey was doing his best imitation. It was so cute! When it was time to go, Daltrey walked right back in the trailer again. Gotta love it.

Baby D is growing by fits and starts. He finally outgrew the yearling halter he's been in since birth. I got one like Poco's with the leather part around his head that is adjustable and removable from either side, and is also adjustable under the chin. I had to put a couple more holes in the chin part by heating a nail and melting the nylon. He looks like such a big boy now!

Texas has sprung into Spring with sunshine and temps in the 80s. Sunburned in March. Who'd o' thunk it?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Perfect Pony Play Day

I was feeling lazy this morning, as in too lazy to load everything up and trailer a horse up to the farm. I thought I'd ride Jaz down our road. Mr. Fry, knowing I was battling inertia, began painting lovely scenarios of all my friends having a wonderful play day, and I would miss it, and then I'd be sorry, and blah blah blah. Okay, already. I get it. You want to sleep this afternoon (night shift) and it will be easier if I'm not here.

Jaz, the stinker, took took one look at the trailer and me heading his way with a halter and took off with Baby D on his heels. Fortunately, he didn't escalate that game and I had him the next try. Jaz doesn't load the first time anymore. I used to load Poco first, then Jaz would walk right in, but he takes a few minutes now. No big deal. In his moment of hesitation, Daltrey marched right on in there and started eating the hay in the hay bag. I didn't want to chase him out (are you kidding?) so Jaz and I just waited until he decided to stroll on out before trying again.

Pony Play Day today consisted of Nita, Heather, Sarah, Kris, and her vet friend Erin. Dr. Erin is a small animal vet who has always liked horses, but never had the opportunity ... well, you know the story.
Nita preps Ishka, who is going through a particularly awkward stage: seriously butt high and ribby, not to mention a winter coat like a yak. That's Heather behind, and yes, that is Pokey's butt on the right.
Dr. Erin rocks out on Nita's mare Keeley.
  Sarah on Heather's mare Ash.
Old friends

Kris rode Ishka. Heather rode the Pokemon. Nita also rode Ish.

No superlative I can think of comes close to describing what a great time I had on Jaz today. We trotted up a storm. I don't think I have ever felt as relaxed, comfortable, and secure in my seat as I did today. I could have ridden like that all day.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend with your ponies.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blazing a New Trail

Today Jaz and I went down the other road in our development, which we have never done before. I drove it yesterday to get the lay of the land. It isn't connected at all to our road or any of the offshoots of it, so I never have any reason to be over there. It's much different than the road we live on.

Our road has 5-acre lots, while the other has 2-acre lots. There are more houses, more vehicles, more people, more dogs. The ride is shorter and the hills steeper. To get to the road, we have to ride several hundred yards on the easement of a fairly busy highway. As soon as I pointed him in that direction, Jaz started acting up. I couldn't get him settled, so I got off, only to discover that the reins were crossed under his chin. Oops. How did we do that? Fixed it, got back on, and off we went. He was on high alert, so I talked and sang to him the whole time. He didn't like some of the (to him) unusual things on the side of the highway, like mile markers, flood markers, etc., but we did a few circling moves and got past them.

We met a little girl named Crystal who was obviously enamored with Jaz. She was thrilled to feed him an alfalfa cube.

We didn't take one of the side roads off the main road because when I drove it yesterday, there were no less than 5 dogs running loose. Man, I hate when people let their dogs run. Spaniels and Yorkies don't have a lick of sense.

On the way back, along the section of highway I alluded to earlier, there was a group of about 6 horses pastured on the opposite side of the road from us. They had ignored us when we went by before, but this time they came charging toward the fence. They were far enough away that there was no excuse for Jaz to start calling, backing, spinning, etc. I was afraid he'd take us out onto the highway and get us killed! I got off and popped him about three times until he stood still and shut up. I mounted again and we went on, but the other horses were running and bucking, happy for the distraction, and for some reason, Jaz felt compelled to react. I ended up having to walk him to the entrance to our road. We are the first property and the honey hole is just across from us, so we stopped there before heading in the gate.

Mr. Fry said Baby D ate his grain and never called out. Good boy.

Last week when we rode at Iron Ridge, Kris's gelding Voodoo was out in the pasture inciting the other horses to riot. Jaz and I were in the arena, far, far away from the drama, but he acted up nonetheless. It's crazy to me that we were walking down the highway with motorcycles and semis whizzing past us and Jaz was fine. Horses far enough away and separated behind a fence should not be causing him to act like an ass. Any ideas on how to work on that?

I remember now why I'm tired: I must have dismounted and remounted 6 times.

Will we do it again? Maybe. Our road is the better ride. I may do it again just to shake Jaz up.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's Someone's Birthday

Who can it be?
Somebody tell me who!

 Oh, it's ME! It's ME!

I wanna go to Chuckie Cheese! Shotgun!

Happy First Birthday, Baby D!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Moving On

I loaded up Mr. Jaz for a pony play day at Iron Ridge. I thought about bringing Daltrey for the gratuitous trailer ride, but Mike was relaxing, and since I don't tie Daltrey yet, I would have had no way to close the trailer door after loading him. Just as good: he stayed home and got more experience at being alone like a big boy.

If there had been any doubt in my mind — there wasn't— as to whether I had done the right thing by Poco, today would have set my mind at ease.
I went out in the pasture to say hi to Poco and had a brief talk with him about what was going on, but he already knew. It's obvious he is happy and well-adjusted.

There was little by way of greeting between Poco and Jaz. It was more like, "Oh yeah, how are you?" There was no calling, no intense interaction. As a matter of fact, a total oddity occurred. We were in the arena, and I had dismounted to set up some barrels. Heather was still tacking up Poco on the opposite side of the fence, and I left Jaz directly across the fence from him so they were nose to nose. As I walked away from Jaz, he turned and called to me, which he has never done before. It touched my heart. He's starting to get it that he is now the Big Man around Casa Fry. I think he enjoys having all the attention. He even seems to mind me smooching on him less than before. He was pure sweetness, and as always, a joy to ride.

The only rough time I had was when Kris' Saddlebred gelding Voodoo was acting like Mr. Macho in the pasture while we were in the arena. I was a little pissed at Jaz, since he was reacting to drama from a long way away. He knows better.

When we returned home, I opened the door to let Jaz out of the trailer, and Daltrey walked right on in there. I praised him like crazy for that. He walked back out, and I released Jaz. Daltrey walked back in there, and again got tons of praise. Man, I hope it continues to be this easy.

Apparently, we have ALL moved on.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Walk Like An Egyptian

An Egyptian Arabian, that is.

I took off from work today for the sole purpose of riding my sweet Jazu. I had hoped to ride at Iron Ridge, but Heather had client horses to work. Down the road we went. Okay, so it's not quite to infinity and beyond, but todo es bueno.
 Handsome pony saddled — check.
 Doofus boy distracted — check.
 Open road ahead — check.

And we're off!
 Jaz found a second honey hole
about halfway down the road.
 "Yum. I shall recommend this eatery to all my friends."
 Oh no! A horse-eating tire at the
edge of the original honey hole.
(That's our place across the road)
But the siren call of this lovely green
wins out over any obstacle.

The best part about the ride?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To Infinity & Beyond!

Thanks to all who left such kind, supportive comments on my last post. I reread them several times in the first couple days when I needed a lift.

Coming to the decision to put Poco up for sale was a lot harder and more stressful than actually following through with it, although I honestly had no idea it was going to work out the way it did. Since he had already been up there for several weeks, I did not have the trauma of having to gather his stuff, load him up, and either drop him off or kiss him good-bye before he was whisked off. I left my phone at Iron Ridge on Sunday, so had to go up there Monday after work to fetch it. I thought I might get weepy seeing him, but I didn't. I'm so used to having my horses up there, some of theirs down here, etc., that it felt pretty normal to me. He was every bit the suck-up cookie monster he always is, so it all felt the same. He's not really gone, and that does make a big difference. No tears.

You know how some people are suited to the rigid structure of military life?  That describes Poco's need for the more structured routine at Iron Ridge. He needs to be accountable every minute. Heather's been purposely controlling with whom he gets to share a paddock to make sure he's kept in his place. He may not like it, but it's what's best for him.

There are no hard feelings. Poco and I are even. We learned a lot from each other and are now on to the next and best place for us. I don’t have the ability to take him further and he doesn’t have the temperament to take me further. It’s like any relationship that’s run its course. Time to move on. No hard feelings at all.

The truth is, I feel more optimistic about my horse experience than I have in a long time. There was always a certain amount of feeling obligated to ride Poco. I knew that the longer I procrastinated, the worse it would be. When I rode him, it was all about attempting to maintain control and not eat dirt. I can hardly wait for the weekend to ride. Jaz will help me become a better rider, and when I'm ready, he'll step us up to the next level, and we'll have fun doing it. I'm excited again!

I will always love my Wildman Rockstar, but I am done with bad boys of any species.
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