warm spell in late December

Oh, goody, there's my person. I'm sure she's bringing treats.

Oh, goody, there’s my person. I’m sure she’s bringing treats.

I'll just meet her half way.

I’ll just meet her half way.

posing for the camera. She loves to take pictures of me.

posing for the camera. She loves to take pictures of me.

what's next, boss?

what’s next, boss?

dec 26 barn 046

I like it when we leave the indoor arena and amble down the laneways with our buddies Heather and Kaleigh

I like it when we leave the indoor arena and amble down the laneways with our buddies Heather and Kaleigh

something interesting over there!

something interesting over there!

I know you have a carrot in your pocket. Fork it over.

I know you have a carrot in your pocket. Fork it over.

Bye for now, see you later

Bye for now, see you later

 

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great riding weather

On Saturday it was a bit chilly but it has not gotten super cold yet and no snow. My horse has a rain sheet on but no winter blanket yet. He is happy in a huge pasture with lots of other horses. I went out to find him and he was glad to see me. Here he is walking over.???????????????????????????????Cute! He’s always happy to go into the barn for grooming and treats.???????????????????????????????So I threw a leg over bareback, to stay warmer in the cooler weather. We did a little lateral work, jogging, and a few canter circles around the sand ring. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And I got a few hugs in, too. 2014-11-08 13.49.11After that we all went out for a walk. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Gabby thought it was a good spot for a snack! Tundra got an itchy spot.stretchIt was a fun day at the barn, as usual. ???????????????????????????????

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back to riding

I was cleared for riding about a week ago, and have been walking in the arena a few times. I now am OK’d to trot in the arena, and this weekend I’ll be able to enjoy some of that.

first day back!

first day back!

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Easing back to riding after surgery

August 7 I had surgery to remove my entire thyroid, so I’ve not been riding since then. I asked Kyle, a good rider who takes lessons and rides at my barn, to exercise Tundra for me. He’s been doing a great job. I was able to come to the barn and watch recently, and snapped a few photos. Here are some:???????????????????????????????That’s the two of them at the start of the ride. Tundra likes Kyle, partly because Kyle is kind and competent, but also because Kyle is relaxed and talks to Tundra frequently. He calls Tundra “buddy”, praises him when he’s done something well, and just chats with him as they work. ???????????????????????????????You can see Tundra’s ears are listening to Kyle.???????????????????????????????I love this picture because for Tundra this is an nice trot. Kyle also takes Tundra over cross-rails and low straight fences, and canters from a walk.

I’m planning to go to the barn this afternoon and ride for the first time since the surgery, just staying at the walk and in the arena. Hurray!

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falling off–it happens

When I told my husband why I had to buy a new helmet yesterday, he expressed sympathy for my bumps and bruises. Then I shrugged and said, “It happens. If you ride, you’re going to fall off.” That made him irritated, because he thought I was too blase and accepting of it. Later on that day, after he left to visit his family, I was talking to him on the phone. “Did you tell your sister about my fall?” I asked. His sister is a life-long rider. “Yes, I told her.” he said. “What did she say?” I asked, knowing the answer already. He replied, grudgingly, “She said ‘It happens. If you ride, you’re going to fall off.'” Yup. It’s all part of the life.

On the day of the fall, my friend and I tacked up for a nice ride. Here we are in the stabling area with chickens on fly patrol:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????It was a quiet day at the barn–everyone was gone to the county fair and lessons were cancelled. We did some great ring work, and then headed to cool out in the sugar bush. Here’s a picture of the sugar bush from another day:???????????????????????????????But my friend’s horse, Champ, decided we should go for a walk in the hay field across the street instead. So, we went over, at a relaxed walk. I dropped the reins and held onto some mane so that if he did spook at something I would be less likely to hurt my back, since I had a sore back from gardening. My friend and I were chatting and enjoying the summery day. Most of the way through the ride, Champ stepped in a loose loop of nylon fence line that a deer must have run through and left on the ground hidden in the grass (the fence is not electric). I saw the whole thing but it happened so fast I couldn’t do more than start to say “His feet are stuck…” but my then Champ had felt his hind feet caught in the loop of fencing and he decided to take off. He powered off at a good clip and Tundra decided to not wait around to find out what was wrong. My friend fell off right in Tundra’s path, and to avoid her he dodged hard right, missing her, then swerved back toward the barn after Champ. But I kept going right, with predictable results.  Other than hitting my head hard on the ground, the only real damage I did to myself, ironically, is spraining my finger because it was caught in Tundra’s mane!

Both horses cantered back across the road and to the yard where they like to graze after rides. We knew exactly where they would be–I only wondered whether we’d have any broken reins to replace. Sure enough, after dusting ourselves off, locating my crop in the grass, and putting the fence line back out of the way, we walked back to find our two ponies grazing peacefully away. Tundra looked up as soon as we came into sight and stared at me with a question in his eye. I don’t know what the question was–was it “are you alright?” or “are you going to be mad at me?” or “why the heck did you jump off me when I was taking us out of danger?” He spent quite a while sniffing my head and neck, and I just stood there answering all the possible questions:  telling him I was OK, he was a good boy for not running over my friend! and that everything was fine. The reins were still safely around his neck, and he was not injured at all. Champ was also just fine, and my friend got back on. Since I had whacked my head pretty hard on the ground, I didn’t get back on. Instead I threw out my helmet and planned to get another one. It just goes to show–well, it goes to show that if you ride, you’re going to fall sometimes! It also shows that anyone who rides should WEAR A HELMET!

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love my barn friends

yes 009I struggle periodically with motivation. It goes something like this: too many days go by without riding and I lose momentum, lose a sense of purpose. It’s easier to work in my flower garden or play music with friends, my two other life passions. Then I feel ultra guilty and drag myself to the barn out of guilt. I think I should sell my horse, but it would have to be to someone as responsible and horse-crazy as me, and even then, where might Tundra end up? It’s unbearable to consider. Plus I’m devoted to my barn, all my friends there, the wonderful owners–how could I lose that? So I feel stuck–I just lose enthusiasm for the whole horse thing. ???????????????????????????????

Finally I mentioned this to my barn friends, and I got so much support and good ideas! They made riding dates with me. They suggested I take a few private lessons. They suggest I “crash” one of their lessons, just to watch, learn, and cheer, from the ground or aboard Tundra. They don’t judge, they understand, and listen. I love my barn friends!yes 013

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The things we schlep for our horses

 

“Schlep”, a Yiddish word for hauling or carrying. I took some photos at the barn the other day as we were getting ready to ride. From the horses’ point of view, treats are an important schlepping item. We have the store-bought draft-size container:001And then the standard carrots in a baggie: 002

Or both carrots and treats:???????????????????????????????And some horses get more unusual treats, like pears:003We of course schlep plenty of tack:???????????????????????????????Saddles, and bridles, helmets and halters:010???????????????????????????????And let’s not forget the fly spray:???????????????????????????????Then after the ride there’s water buckets for drinking and sponging off:???????????????????????????????So, I asked my friends a good blogger prompt: “What did you not realize was a big part of being a horse “mom” before you became one?”.  My answer is “How delicate they are and how much of the time we spend waiting for them to get over various injuries, illnesses, or lameness. Another answer was “How much time we spend with them NOT riding.” I will have to ask the question again, because I forgot some of the other answers. It was a nice day at the barn–all of our pony clubbers were away at a big show, and a lot of us just happened to show up around the same time. J. was there riding Fagan.

Fagan getting a treat

Fagan getting a treat

He is a halflinger, and very photogenic:???????????????????????????????Tundra and I entertained everyone with our fly mask drama. He always kicks up a fuss, so I asked H. to take some pictures. Here is the series:

He sees the mask in my hand.

He sees the mask in my hand.

He takes immediate evasive action.

He takes immediate evasive action.

He gives me dirty looks

He gives me dirty looks

He makes me reach for it.

He makes me reach for it.

He gives up.

He gives up.

but not happily.

but not happily.

Champ thought the whole thing was hilarious:???????????????????????????????Kanga didn’t pay attention, really:???????????????????????????????“What, are you talking about me? I’ll just lay right here and see if Tundra will step over me.”

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