Friday, December 30, 2011

Rockin' Down the Road

 Jazu the Wonder Pony at the honey hole

With a high today in the lower 70s, it was perfect for a ride down our old familiar road. Jaz and I haven't done this ride since last spring, but he was a champ. He remembered where The Usual Suspects (madly barking dogs) were and marched right on past. There were even 2 new little yapping dogs running loose that ran after and he stayed completely calm. Stupid people. Good way to a) have a lawsuit brought against you if I come off my horse or b) get your dogs killed because you're in violation of the rule about no loose dogs.

And while we're on the subject of stupid people, whatever happened to common courtesy? We live on a narrow 2-lane road, and people were flying past us. I kept motioning for people to slow down and was getting the dirtiest looks. Jaz is good with cars, but there's no sense tempting fate. I don't understand what it would hurt to slow down a little – you don't have to brake, just take your foot off the gas for a second. I'm sure they would expect similar courtesy from me if I came upon them walking or their kid on a bike.

But enough of that. Great relaxing ride down our road, and I hope to get in another before the Boyz go back to Iron Ridge next week.

Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Forever Afternoon

Tuesday afternoon.
I'm just beginning to see,
Now I'm on my way.
It doesn't matter to me,
Chasing the clouds away.  
— "The Afternoon: Forever Afternoon" by the Moody Blues
from their 1967 album "Days of Future Passed"

It was the very sort of winter day that serves as a reminder of why we put up with those 106° days during the summer: sunny without a cloud in the sky, with temps in the upper 50s. Perfect spa day.
I don't know what a spa is, but it's putting Jaz to sleep.
Not me. I'm wide awake.
Strange, but all of a sudden a nap does sound kinda nice.
Can't. Stop. Yawning.
Wow. They even serve lunch.
Feeling refreshed. How about a rousing game of bite-the face?
Ha! Jaz thinks he's gonna bust a move on me.
I'll get you, old man.
I only asked for a trim, but she cut off about 6".
Still, it's a nice facility. Look at all this clover!

The sun felt so amazing that Mr. Fry and I fetched chairs and beer to survey our kingdom and contemplate our takeover of the world. Another great day to be alive.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Awesome Christmas Present

One of my least favorite things to do is lugging tack from my truck to wherever it is I'll be tacking Jaz up, which is usually the chute at the farm. I pull my truck close to it, make multiple trips to get all my junk out, then park my truck. After the ride, most times I take Jaz over to the truck, tack him down, tossing gear inside as I go. But I still will have stuff lingering by the chute and usually at least 2 trips back and forth.

Not any more.
The back "leg" folds in the direction indicated
and clips to the diagonal bar when you're pulling it.
It all collapses down ...
... for easy transport and storage!

If you're interested:
Time it right and you can even get free shipping.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Home for the Holidays

For the first time since May, Jaz and Daltrey are home. Although not anywhere near recovered from the drought, we felt like the land could tolerate them for a week or so. I have the sheer joy of being able to look out my windows and see ponies pigging out or playing, and I can walk out and spoil them any time I want. Bliss.

Both of them walked into the trailer calmly the first time, with no bribes needed. This was Daltrey's first ride while tied and he rode like a champ, despite the fact that there was nothing in the hay bag to keep him occupied. This was also his first time to be backed out of the trailer. He hesitated and wanted to come back in when that first hind foot hit air, but he listened and exited quietly.

 Not great forage, but certainly better than it was.
 There are a few patches of winter rye like this.
Jaz kept heaving huge sighs.

Mostly, it looks like this.
This is mostly clover with other weeds,
some of which they eat, some not.
But there are still quite a few places that look like this.

Turn the sound way up.
I've never seen him eat so fast.

I have off the week between Christmas and New Year to enjoy them.
Maybe I'll even take that dirty grey one down the road.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Apology for Grooming

a•pol•o•gy | əˈpäləjē|
1 a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure
2 a very poor or inadequate example of
3 a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something, typically a theory

My barn buddies have dubbed me the Grooming Queen.

I usually fetch and start prepping my horse well before everyone else because it takes me that much longer to get ready to ride. I hold the opinion that grooming is one of the most important things we do for our horses for so many more reasons than merely making them pretty.

 What do you mean, I'm a mess? Is that bad?

 I didn't mean it, honest.

The goober he is.
Mmm, your hands smell like ... carrots and cookies!

The beautiful boy he is becoming.

Back in my newbie days, I was clueless as to the nature of horses, and I had no idea how to handle my inaptly chosen first horse. I was unprepared for how BIG they are and how fast they can move. Heather's sage advice: only do what you're comfortable doing. For awhile, grooming was the only thing I was comfortable doing, so I did it a lot. It helped my horse and me relax and get to know each other. It helped me learn how to move him and teach him basic commands such as stand, step, over and eventually lift. It helped me teach him manners and patience.

Grooming has also helped me to know my horses' bodies and accustom them to being touched all over. It's useful in winter to help find wounds, skin conditions, lumps and bumps, etc. that you can't see when they're all woolly. My first clue that something was wrong with Jaz (ultimately strongyles) was that he flinched when pressure was applied to a spot in the middle of his back where there was no wound, no mark, no bruise. That's also how I found the little sarcoid on his chest.

And finally, there is nothing like those huge sighs of relaxation and pleasure that you get for your efforts. As far as I'm concerned, grooming is good for the equine and the human soul.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Grey Winter's Day

Finally got a ride in today after a 3 week hiatus due to either rain or the arena still being too wet to ride. The arena was tilled deeply but not finely, and the horses were a bit put out that they actually had to pick up their feet. I think we all kept it at walk-trot.

This was also a chance to use my new Nikon S9100.
I'm very pleased with this camera so far. I debated as to whether to upgrade to a SLR, but when I really thought about how I take photos, a P&S just makes more sense for me. This one is exceeding my expectations. It's FAST, as in zero lag time between the time you hit the button and your image appears onscreen. 12.1 megapixels with an 18x zoom — now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about. It has a wide variety of automated settings, or you can program it. It's almost like a hybrid between a P&S and a SLR. All these images are right out of the camera, with the exception of being downsized and optimized for fast loading on the web.
 Jaz wasn't happy about having to give up his new blanket.
Looking rather svelte — no more pregnant gelding.
 Rachel and Moon
 Chris showing Poko what a lance is all about for SCA games.
 I was at the end of the lead rope when I took this.
 Sure you can't get any more in your mouth, Jaz?
 Heather and Poko
Kris and Voodoo

It was cold for us wimpy Texans, but great to see my ponies and my pony pals.

What's up with y'all? Got all your Christmas shopping done?
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