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12/30/2010

Work Out

What do you get your boys for Christmas which also benefits your strengthening goals? 

Thank You Santa!
What am I doing in my morning workout, to add to my exercise routine?

Nautilus! 
~~~~ 
Is riding your horse a work out? Do you work out to ride your horse? I thought that Dreamer would be good exercise for me, which he most definitely has been. But I also found out that to be the rider he needs, I needed to increase my core strength and aerobic fitness.

(I joke that soon when I get into the saddle, Dream is going to turn his neck and look at me and say, “You been working out?”)

I like core strengthening exercises that I’ve been combining with weight training. I feel they make me more strongly balanced, which can only be an added benefit for horseback riding.

Many have probably seen this:  Pilates for Dressage

 Also, here is an interesting web page with a surprising number of kcalories reported burned in not just our riding, but in the everyday care of our horse(s).

Fitness is made up of three things: strength, endurance (training your heart as a muscle), and flexibility (doing your stretches). An exercise life should include all three.

____________________________

On a different note, do you know what the  difference is between my Breyer 2010 Thoroughbred ornament and the original?

I’ve painted a blaze on the chestnut! This horse already had Dreamer’s two white back socks, so all I had to do was add a blaze to make him nearly identical. Thanks go to my husband for this thoughtful gift.
____________________________


Also, a while back Juliette did a post asking if our horses remind us of any animals. It has stuck in my head. In the spirit of the New Year’s Day Parade, (which I will miss) here are the animals I often see when I take care of Dream and his little black mare (Ebony)…

When Dream lies down, he is without a doubt a camel.

May 2007 just a few weeks after coming to us




When he surfs over the top of the partition wall separating the grain room from himself, with just partition wire and his big back all I can see, he is cresting like a whale.



When we are doing ground work and he’s distracted, he is a dragon all lit up:




When the boys watch Jurassic Park and I go out to feed the barn, he looks nothing less than a huge herbivore, no smaller to me than the dinosaurs I just saw:






And of course, Ebony can only be one thing, especially since eating more than her share of hay. She is a big, round, fat for the winter black bear. 


Ebony Spring 2009
   

Happy New Year~!


Work Out, 1994

12/20/2010

Starlight

There is plenty to write about, but there is only one thing I really want to write about. It is the same thought that comes to me every night as I walk to the house from my last visit at the barn: that peace is free.

It comes to me when every inch of snow is filled with glittering sparkles, a thick white and blue blanket, the stars overhead matching with their own symphony of lights on black background. 

It came to me early on, before Thanksgiving, when I did something I had not done in a while, which was to sit against the wall in Dream’s stall as he ate his hay. I have spent many minutes adding up to hours like this in the past, and have learned his favorite places in the hay. He eats and touches me with his nose once in a while, like a good host, acknowledging my presence. When the temperatures are frigid, I can pull a pile of hay on top of my lap, which adds to my warmth, and hand feed him his favorite strands. We hang out.

Munch, munch, munch. Dream reminds me that the only real time is the present. He reminds me to stop thinking, and just BE.  Doing the work he has always done for me.

Last night, we finished decorating our indoor Christmas tree, but the only one that had pictures taken of it was the outdoor one. I had put white lights on a tree in front of the barn which Seth, “wielding his might ax,” cut for me. Our tree stand is a bucket filled with water which froze the tree trunk upright.

Yesterday there was some melting off the barn roof. The water dripped onto the tree and when I went out at night, it was covered with real natural icicle ornaments…so beautiful, sparkling with the white lights behind them. It was like having an unseen hand decorate your tree for you!

Several hours later at bedtime I told Scott about the tree. Knowing my horse tree brings me happiness, he immediately grabbed the camera and went outside in boots and bathrobe to take pictures of 'The Miracle of the Icicles.'   It’s the little things:

…that get you through the day, or a moment, at a time--  and loved ones to share it with.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. 
I am thankful to have a place to talk horses!

...and to any and all visitors: the time you give is unique, and its value immeasurable. 

~May 2011 be the best equine year we’ve seen yet~ 

 Starlight , 1879
Lexington on both sides 
Foaled May 25

this is the first Starlight registered in the U.S.A.
I chose her for my sister's birthdate, which she shares


12/05/2010

Rock Sand

This post was lost recently, so I’m going to re-cap:

Here is a picture of the horses the day our snow started; the one that you know means you will not be seeing grass again until April:

got snow?

 We had three and a half full days of snowfall without stopping once. It was that fluke storm that came through and gave us 29” of snow. Since then we’ve had some melting. The horses at Old Friends were enjoying the snow.

I mentioned our snow stick, a gift from my brother and his wife, which we use to keep track of our ground cover:
snowstick next to bird feeder


road aggregate, superior drainage 
I talked about how we got fourteen thousand pounds of road bed in the fall, which was dumped outside Dream’s stall and near a muddy gate spot, and put inside of Dream’s in and out box stall to raise its level in time for this spring’s thaw. My family crew moved all that road aggregate in a matter of a few hours: pretty amazing.

Dream is now raised several inches higher in his stall, and we've had to raise his water bucket and will probably have to add a wall partition board and raise his inside door, too. 

I had mentioned my beet pulp recipe: soaked in hot water, add some oats and chopped carrots, a tiny bit of brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little of the grain supplement out at the barn. 

There has been plenty to write about, and I keep writing posts and not getting them up here. But I do hope to add an update soon. In the meantime, happy pre-holidays, everyone.

Rock Sand, 1900
Winner of the English Triple Crown, 1903
Damsire of ManO’War (Mahubah)

11/26/2010

Stop the Music

It has been a few days since I’ve had a chance to write or be at the computer. I see several Thanksgiving-related posts. For us, it was a triple-day, with a new observance added in:

1.) Thanksgiving.
2.) Our fourth son’s 13th Birthday, which leads to the new observance:
3.) We are now the proud parents of four teenage sons, ages 13-18, and...
4.) It was the 4 year Anniversary of my sister’s passing.   xoxo

I hope to be on with lots of good thoughts again soon. In the meantime, it will be fun catching up on my blog reading. I have the good news that a friend of mine is here on blogger with me!

Hail to Reason and Tom Fool

11/19/2010

Dream Weaver

I had the most unusual dream last night. Did you ever have a dream that you know is  more than a dream?

Kitty, the woman who trained me to ride/care for horses, was sitting in a room in a comfy chair. She told me she knew where my Misty (2nd horse) was. I became really excited and told her I wanted to buy her back. I became emotional. I told her how I could ride Misty anywhere.

(This is the thing I’m working on with Dream right now.)

She leaned back, looked at me, and said: 

“But Allison, you rode her everywhere-- 
that is why you could ride her anywhere.”

Hmmm.....

I felt horrible for a while, after I woke up and was thinking about Misty. Then I knew just what I had to do. I put my snow pants and sweater and coat on right over my pajamas and with boots and gloves (it’s snowing this morning) went out to the barn, beating even Caleb’s early morning haying of the horses.

our picnic table

I have to go away this weekend, but I wanted to groom Dreamer before I left. The rain two days ago made his coat nice and soft (they have in and out stalls into the pasture). I don’t know why he stands in the rain, but it washed the mud off him. He was in a wonderful mood. 

While brushing, I had a chance to realize how much this part of our relationship has grown. He does not really like to be touched. When he first came to us, he’d stomp his rear leg during brushing, swish his tail, and otherwise advertise his annoyance to me.

Today I was in his stall with him completely bare of halter/lead/not tied, with him eating his hay while I groomed. I have learned to curry and brush softer. He is so much calmer. I can feel that, in this, we have a relationship. He knows what I expect and what I do; I know his ticklish spots and what he might do.

At one point I looked at him and was caught by the surprise of seeing 100 horses that I 'know' (have read about), as sometimes happens when I look at him. I feel like I am looking back into the 1800’s, and further…I see them all: his pedigree.

At the same time, I smiled at seeing this big red soft fuzzy huge calm horse in my little Vermont pioneer barn. It is like having royalty stashed in your wood shed. It makes me laugh.

He is so beautiful, and out of place, yet he belongs here~ with us.

I can’t wait to get back from my trip and start riding again. We will keep making our ever increasing circles away from the barn. Last ride, I swear, he resisted when his nose was pointed toward home. I think he was ready for a little adventure.

If I want to go anywhere, I have to be willing to go everywhere. 

my Misty Morning
1982



(Remember the song? 1976)

11/16/2010

Seize the Moment

Today was forecast to be the best weather day of the week. It was 50’ by noon so I dismissed school. Soon enough, we will be inside with the wood stove going and only able to spend about fifteen minutes at a time outside. So I opened the doors and let everyone run out…

A few minutes later I looked out my window and, listening to the sounds I heard from the woodshed, I could not help but feel like I was in a time warp; a confused and mixed up world.

The boys were working on throwing 2 cords of wood into the woodshed. They had music playing, T-Bone, which I believe is Christian rap. So you have to imagine this picture with rap music:

 
"If we get it all done, Dad will have more time to play this weekend!"

Meanwhile, outside my window, I saw:

Aislinn can usually be seen carrying Bea.

My daughter, with a candy cane hanging out of her mouth—Scott loves Christmas and starts early. It just seemed funny, with rap music going and green grass and blue sky outside. None of the pieces fit and I appreciated our uniqueness weirdness.


Since I had my camera, I took some pictures:


This is Stella, our Lab/Shepherd. Her dad Star died last summer at age 14 ½. Stella is wearing the “don’t shoot me, I’m just a dog” bandana. We post No Hunting signs. She accompanies me to the barn every morning and evening, just like her Daddy taught her.


This is the Arena in the lower field. You can barely see Mt. Mansfield (VT’s tallest peak) in this photo, but it’s sticking up in the back, with some clouds over it.



My favorite white birch.
The boys chopped down trees in front of it that were blocking my view.
It’s the little things!


The right side of the pasture and Mt. Laraway. 



With all this picture taking I was looking for the horses. Where are they? Then I heard funny sounds from the rear of the barn: Ebony’s stall. Sure enough, Dream was in there, seeing what she had left for hay! Oh, Dreamer! Her diet is strict enough!!


Sentimental.


Dreamer's stall (empty).



The upper barn.



Caleb heard our friend/new neighbor Rebecca talking about getting ducks, so he is building her a duck house. Caleb loves to build and to bake. He makes us very happy~!


In this picture the day is getting darker and grey. You can see Mt. Mansfield now, with snow on it. It looks like a big glacial rock, and it will until well after our thaw.

What a beautiful day. Aislinn and I cut down flower stalks by the Arena. Then I lunged Dream, walking, working on ground work, and after, let him graze for a bit in the soccer field while I stacked some brush near the birch tree. There is always something to be done!

Later on, as the sky darkened, it looked like we will get the rain/snow they talked about for tomorrow. If it’s one thing I learned living in Vermont, it’s go outside while it’s nice, because tomorrow-- or in half an hour-- who knows!?


Seize the Moment, 2001
(s) Bertrando


11/15/2010

Addendum

Yesterday we tried Ebony in the Dr. Cook’s bitless, which was a cob size so I was able to make it small enough for her. She showed up her brother and took to it immediately, so that part of the riding went well.

Mondays are not usually a ‘horse’ day for me (except for feeding and cleaning), since I’m getting the school up and running for the week, and usually recuperating from an exhausting weekend of work and play.

My friend told me to keep the bridle one more day so I went into Dreamer’s stall today and tried the bridle on him, checking the fit and then just gently using it as if I were riding, to see if he could tell what was being asked. I practiced a few times on both sides with him. I’m still not sure if he ‘gets’ it, but one side was much better than another in his response. 

grazing in the Arena, Spring 2009


Since I don’t have a bitless bridle, for now I can continue to go with a halter and lead ropes, for both him and for Ebony. The weather looks like we are going to start with warm and sunny tomorrow to rain, cooler temps, then snow by the end of the week. This weekend I am going to New Jersey.




Addendum, 1999
(s) Unbridleds Song


11/13/2010

Turn the Tide

Today I was able to try Dream for the first time in a Dr. Cook bitless bridle, borrowed from my friend from MD (who is becoming my neighbor on Monday when she and her husband purchase property behind ours!)

 I don’t think I transitioned him properly: I should have released more quickly when he turned his head to the bridle’s pressure. He really did NOT know what I was asking for, at first. I don’t know if this is why, but the first half of the ride was a little crazy-- crazier than usual.


I’d ridden him mid-week, in just a halter and lead ropes (no chain!) and on top of 3” of crusty snow, and he was as responsive as my rides with a bit. In some ways, he was even more responsive. And I do think riding bitless is calming him down.

I was in the soccer field in front of the barn for the beginning of this ride. The soccer field is about 75 yards long and 25 yards wide, sided by an upper barn on one side and a row of blueberries on the other.

This is the first time riding that I’ve just had Dreamer ‘freeze up’ on me. He simply refused to move. Scott offered me a crop, but I declined. Thank God. I think it would have made him explosive.

I had to circle him a few times before that because he was trying to ‘boss me’. But he could hardly understand the circling. That is when he stopped moving at all.

At one point, I did an old John Lyons trick and just let his head be turned left, with his feet planted fore. Sooner or later, he will want to straighten his head, and usually a horse does that by taking a forward step, in which you immediately release the pressure and viola, you’re walking again. I’d used in on Ebony dozens of times when training her.

Well…John Lyons will also tell you a horse can go in 6 different directions: up, down, left, right, backwards, and forward. Dream chose backward and a dodge under me to the left. I was caught behind the motion, but stayed on. The line of blueberries prevented him from going far. Whew! But we were walking again…

After that, according to Scott, is when things started to improve. I got Dream to go into a trot nicely (another story) and then I walked him further and further from the barn in ever increasing circles, another 25 yards from the top of the soccer field to the top of the hill, down the hill a bit and back again—just walking and getting him relaxed. He started to drop his head and take longer strides. I praised him regularly.

At one point the mailman decided to stop at our mailbox, 50 yards down the hill and to the left, near the road. Dream thought this was cause for immediate Ranch Patrol: stand up watching, alert, not moving, not hearing me a bit. I hope to God that one day this horse learns to trust me as his leader. Until then, I know he is not a safe ride. The mailman was soon dismissed as a non-threat.

Another time, our new neighbors drove up the road at the bottom of the hill, an easement access to their acreage. It was the guys, hunting. Dream was fine with me stopping him and saying a quick “hello”.

I didn’t ride much longer after that because gun shots are one of 3 things that Dream hates. Before we ended, we went to the “Adventure Cone,” a cone I put at the furthest point of my goal in barn-bound training, and there’s an apple or some other treat in a bucket there. It is so much better in a bitless! I don’t have to cut the apple or worry about choking anymore. Nor am I breaking the ultimate “No Eating in A Bit” rule.

Get ready to laugh: just as we were closing and walking so calmly and proud of ourselves back to the soccer field, out of the back door comes my soon-to-be 13 year old son, Seth, who did not know I was riding. (Mental note: make sure all children know when Mommie is on horse in yard.) Seth had been upstairs reading and out of the loop. He saw his brothers out at the barn, and for some reason in his almost-thirteen male adolescent brain, this is reason to slam the door as you run all out, yelling like a wild Indian at the top of your voice and waving your hands through the air like your house is on fire, in a primal greeting to one’s brothers.

Seth, age 9-- he will be 13 this Thanksgiving Day

You’d think that with 3 ½ years living in the yard adjacent to my children, Dream would have seen it all by now. But I guess that’s from the safety of his barn and his herd. Anyway, he almost bolted, he definitely spooked, until he realized it was one of his boys. It could not have been too bad, because I had the time in my gatherings to yell an un-Christian thing.

In conclusion, maybe today was going to be an ‘off’ day anyway. I do think the bridle confused him and it was my fault. I may get another chance to try with my friend’s bridle, or I’ll have to order one for us just about immediately.

Ebony’s turn to try the bridle is tomorrow. She seems to be out of her fall heat.
(That was this past Thursday, when she wanted to kill me and at least reach the farrier. Another story…)


Turn the Tide (IRE) 1974
 

11/11/2010

Secretariat's Love

I saw the Secretariat movie with my husband the other night. I’d just finished the book. I have to say Scott was very patient with my dozen or so movie interruptions to excitedly tell him something. I worked very hard to just stay off it and let him watch the movie. He also handled the half hour debriefing on the way to the theatre, very well. This was all after waiting hours for me to put the book down at night, sometimes falling asleep waiting for me...but when we got home from the movie theatre, I read the Belmont race aloud to him.

This is my favorite sentence from the whole book, when Secretariat is running the Belmont:


“He makes sense of all the mystical pageant rites of blood through which he has evolved a distillate, a climactic act in a triumph of the breed, one horse combining all the noblest qualities of his species and ancestry-“ *

* Excerpt from: Secretariat, William Nack, Hyperion, New York, NY, c. 2010, pp. 400-401

It’s not even a full sentence, it’s half a sentence, and one can easily see how wonderful an author William Nack is. I loved every page of the book. There were times when I was in the middle of a page and my family would have to call my name two, three, and four times to get my attention. There isn’t anything I can add to the praise of six-time Eclipse Award-winner William Nack.

William Nack had a cameo in the movie: he asked the first question at the first press conference. I think that's wonderful, given that the movie is from his book, and it was his work as a press writer 35 years ago that gave us all this great information. I recognized him instantly from his picture in the back of the book, and was once again whispering excitedly to my husband, only this time I was also grabbing his arm. Later, I checked the web to make sure I was correct, and found this great article.



The movie did a good job portraying Penny Chenery’s rediscovery of her horse life--
                                                           and so, the rediscovery of herself.

If you're wondering if she's still doing it, this story is from last week: 

We liked the movie’s theme song, written by director Randall Wallace:

"It’s Who You Are"

It's not the price
It's not the game
It's not the score
It's not the fame
Whatever road looks way too far
It's not what you have
It's who you are

It's not how fast
It's not how far
It's not of cheers
It's who you are

In darkest night
You make your sun
You choose your race
And then you run

It's never the glory
It's never the score
It's not about seeing about who's less and who's more
‘Cause when you find out how fast and how far
You'll know it's not how much you have
It's who you are

You lose the moon
Then be a star
It's not too soon
Be who you are
Whatever road looks way too far
It's not what you have
It's who you are

 It's never the glory
It's never the score
It's not seeing about seeing
Who's less and who's more
‘Cause when you find out how fast and how far
You'll know it's not how much you have
It's who you are

When you have found
How fast you can run
When you have found
Your place in the sun,
It won't be just you that you'll find
Has made the run and the climb
It's everyone

It's never the glory
It's never the score
It's not seeing about seeing
Who's less and who's more
‘Cause when you find out how fast and how far
you'll know it's not how much you have
It's who you are
It's who you are

Learning to bend and not to break
Living to give more than you take

11/08/2010

Ebony

We did go and try our little black 12.2 hand mare Ebony bitless on Sunday...I rode her first while my two youngest waited with their helmets and boots on. I'd forgotten that I have a pair of reins with snaps on the end, so we just connected those to the sides of the halter. We had a western saddle on. Scott was around so he stayed for most of the riding, but he didn't ride.

Ebony seemed just fine! She stopped just as well, turns were fine, etc. The temp was 52' in the sun but the slight wind had it to about upper 30's. The mountains just one range above us are thickly dusted with snow. It's slowly moving its way toward us...in fact we've had ice falling from the sky all day today. (The kids sledded for hours, in the ice storm. Kids are amazing. I stayed inside and played business woman with the accounts and the phone and fed the woodstove fire. That's how to get old and miss your kids' growing up real quickly. Lazy me today!)

So-- then our youngest son Noah had a lesson on Ebony. He and Ebony are one year apart, 10 and 11 respectively. It was great knowing that Ebony did not have a beginning rider on her mouth. And she was so good for Noah. Another convenience was ripping out hand fulls of grass between riders to feed to Ebony, and not breaking the "no grazing in a bit" rule. Ebony was also fine for Aislinn. I think that girl is becoming Ebony's favorite rider. She seems to say, "Let's go have an adventure!" whenever Aislinn gets on her. Girl love...

After those two short lessons I got back on Ebony to take her out a little further, down the hill to the lower field and to circle the arena. She was happy to be out but spooky at the same time. I had to go between the woods on one side and an apple tree and the arena on the other, when a grouse flying up near her in the woods made Ebony jump/bolt toward the arena fence. All I could think was, "Don't damage the fence!" (It was a gift.) But she regained her sensibilities quickly. And I kept my seat in front of my husband.

Before that, when I was between the arena and the road, which has about 35 feet of grass lane before the hill-drainage ditch-road itself, a car coming up behind Ebony spooked her slightly as it crossed into her line of vision. 

I don't think having a bit would have made any difference in Ebony 'un'spooking any sooner.

She was my sweet little lady (I need to remember this, next spring, if/when she tries to take my head off again) and after riding, how wonderful it was to stop in the front yard on the hill by the gardens and loosen the girth and let her have the reward of grazing.


May 2006
Here is our shaggy girl giving Aislinn a ride 4 1/2 years ago; 
Aislinn is not quite 4, and Ebony is 7. 

(My husband was still learning horse safety, 
and I made him wear a helmet at all times...)

Ebony, 1728.
-from Flying Childers (s) and Old Eony (d),
at the breed's foundation: 1714 and 1715. 

11/05/2010

Think Twice

I did something silly today. Well, daring-- borderline stupid.

I’ve been intrigued by the use of bitless bridles I’ve been reading about. I have two good reasons to give bitless a chance: our horses.

My Dream gets melancholy when it is time to bit up. And he does not open his mouth or accept the bit. His mouth has been seen by the vet and an equine dentist.

Ebony has a wonderful mouth. I trained her, and hands are one of my better riding traits. She has students on her now, and I have been worried from the start about her sweet mouth.

So bitless could help both problems..?

Dream has herd-bound issues. He scoots sideways and has been known to get me off, twice: the first time he bucked (2007) and the first time he reared (2008).

So this morning I decided to try riding Dream with our Western saddle and two lead ropes. It’s raining, but my riding clothes can stand up to that, and so can the Wintec saddle. A halter and two lead ropes is nothing like the proper bitless bridle, but I just wanted an initial reaction.

Dream was a little wet (the horses have in-and-out stalls). I got him ready while he munched some hay.

He got sad when he thought the bridle was coming, just like he always does. He put his head in my chest. He always does this. (I used to joke that he’s saying, “I am sorry for what I’m about to do to you.”)

I cheerfully told him there’s no bit today! I did cheat, and put the chain of the right hand lead rope over his nose, crossing it over the top of his halter nosepiece so that it’s not completely rubbing him. I ran it under the halter and snapped it alongside his left jowl.

He went to graze as soon as we stepped out of doors (it had stopped raining). I had the right lead tied loosely around the saddle horn, and it prevented him from grazing. I don’t know if I would have let him graze for a few minutes if he’d succeeded..?

As soon as I was ready to mount he turned into what I call my ‘angry, dark red horse.’ Ears go back, faces are made, he tries to bite me, etc. I spoke to him for a while and let him do walking laps around me. When I stopped him, he took a long breath. I praised him (to which he tried to bite my hand as I stroked his neck) and I got on.

All of this behavior was physically checked by a vet, a horse chiropractor and a horse massage therapist (both of whom gave him treatments), and saddle fits have been checked, etc.

After I mounted, he walked away from the barn so I let him go as far as he wanted. I let him stop and look around and then I asked for a walk. We went further out to the front rise of the lawn. We tooled around the gardens up top and the bonfire it and looked at the cars in the driveway next to the house. He gave me some scooting near the gardens, his furthest spot from the barn. I used my voice and he stopped. I went close to the barn and had him do some tight circles in both directions. Then we left again.

I have been putting the pony in her stall lately when I ride because, after living alone for 7 years, she has taken to calling him when we are out, galloping around the pasture, etc. He almost unseated me this past summer over her antics.

(He does the same things when I ride her, but she’s much better about it all.)

But I didn’t lock the pony in today, so she was cantering and calling, but she eventually stopped.

We were now in the “soccer field” in front of the barn, which sometimes doubles as a smaller riding arena. We did some riding there, turns, and stops.

The guys from the electric company were out sooner than I thought they’d be, down the easement maybe 500 feet away, to our right: the sound of big saws clearing the electric lines of trees in the woods. You know, that high pitched “WWRRRrrrrr, WWrrrr, WWRRRRrrrr…”

Fortunately they were out there yesterday, too, so Dream at least did not have to be that surprised by the sound.

I headed into the back yard behind the house. There is an upper barn between our house and the animals’ barn. We tooled around there for a bit. I asked him to go between the grill and the picnic table and not to hit my head on the basketball hoop.

I could feel him interested: his mind was off the pony. That’s good.

We kept up the riding for a while. I noticed his breaks weren’t as good without the bit.

He scooted on me once again in the back yard but I just used my voice. He got tense again when we left the backyard toward the barn but I thought “relax” and he dropped his head. I praised him. I gave him some opportunities to just stand and rest for reward but he really didn’t want to. I praised him whenever appropriate.

We went back to the top of the soccer field and after a bit I dismounted. My good boy just stood there wondering what was going to happen next. He took a relaxation breath when I got off. He was standing there in a halter and lead ropes in a western saddle and didn’t even think about grazing.

I took a handful of grass and fed it to him and told him to eat. I loosened the girth and told him that today his is my cow pony after a ride, grazing his breakfast.

Scott met me outside and was disappointed to have missed our ride. He was impressed at the “no bit” effort and I explained to him what I’d been learning about bitless riding lately. He thought it sounded good and made sense.

After Scott checked on the electric company tree cutters we took Dream inside and did the morning chores together. Dream was relaxed, quiet, HAPPY. Scott carried the saddle inside to dry. It was slung over behind his shoulder, and with his cowboy hat on, I have an image of my husband to last me the rest of the day.

And I have a ride to think about. Next time we will take Ebony out, and try her bitless, too.


Since we’re talking Western--

Aislinn and her cat Beatrice

Aislinn was born 4 years before we adopted Dream; 
she was born the Year of the Horse and her name is Gaelic for "dream!"


11/01/2010

Without Omen

It's coming!  Winter Riding

Our "first snow" came and went two weeks ago when we were away for a wedding.

This morning, this is what we awoke to...

some wet cover on pines and grass
It makes me feel comfy and new. I already have my little "Let It Snow" sign hanging up in the living room. (If you can't beat 'em...)

Do you have any favorite winter riding products or tricks to keep warm?
(Like riding bareback.)

After 2 years I have accumulated, from Mountain horse: the Original jacket, the Fusion paddock shoes, and the Polar breeches. I have my Darn Tough Vermont wool socks. I'm headed for a pair of Heritage extreme winter riding gloves. There's the static-free helmet liner and face mask, easy to find up here (45 minutes from Canada). And the free Patagonia long underwear from my best friend. And the Carhartt wick-dry undershirt for Christmas, from my son Saul. So far I can heartily recommend all of the above.

Dover Saddlery has been having regular sales on the Mt. Horse winter breeches, their Original coat, and the Fusion footwear.

Without Omen, 1974.


10/19/2010

Present


Dream and me
I thought I should put this post up in case I leave comments and someone wants to check back. I had six month's worth of posts on here from Dream's Birthday in 2008 (March) until September of that year. I took them down: they were mostly about my exploration of natural horsemanship with our 2 horses. I've saved them in my training/notes binder.

I hope that I am able to offer the same comradeship I need, mostly: supporting, encouraging, understanding, and reveling in life with our OTTB and other horses.

There is more about me/us under the page tab above.

Hope you have a great day-

my previous blog

Present, 1854.

10/10/2010

Dreamport

Dreamport's Page with his story is Here.

We are having a beautiful fall season of color, after a spectacular summer which blessed everyone who had a vegetable garden. I wanted to list this blog featured on the Old Friends site, the Old Friends Blog, updated weekly.

Dreamport's sire, Leave Seattle is rescued and retired there!
(We send him and his friends a donation for treats sometimes.)

Dream felt the same way about racing as his father did.


Dreamport, 2001. XOXOXOXO

10/01/2010

Life

This is an encouraging site about the retraining of 2 off track Thoroughbreds, Honeysuckle Faire. It's featured on the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's home page, which is where I saw it.

Homeschooling keeps me from having time to post, but
there are a lot of folks out there with OTTB's writing wonderful blogs-- and I'm enjoying visiting them. (Links are on my sidebar.)



Life, 1957.