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12/18/2011

Looking Ahead

Hello, hello, and hello! This is just a quick visit before I update with a much longer post after Christmas. I'm not that busy with the holiday: I just want to introduce Ginger, because her full name, as middle-names-given-by-my-daughter go, is Ginger Christmas Cookie~ and if that is your name, then you should be on a horse blog at Christmastime, if one is available to you...

She came with the name Ginger, and has no known birth date, so we gave her Christmas day for a birthday, also.

Ginger
Christmas
Cookie

Here she is on our family Christmas Card:

Ginger and Aislinn 2011
I have lots more "catch-up" news and things to write in 2012, but right now I just wanted to do this quick introduction. I will tell more about Ginger soon, also.

(Don't worry: Ebony and Dreamer are on our Christmas card, too!) I will make sure those photos get posted in later posts.

I am going to link to here, last year's Christmas Post, which a lot of people seemed to enjoy, and now just re-reading it, I really like it: it gives me peace, and its overall theme is still timely for the moment.

I will hopefully spend the rest of the holidays catching up on all your blogs! Thank you for being a place I can always come to to talk horses, and...life. The two are inseparable!

Many Blessings,
Allison

Sir Gallahad, Teddy, Equipiose, Ajax, Spearmint,
Swinging, Man O' War, St. Simon, Sweep, Broomstick,
Flying Fox




9/04/2011

Lil E. Tee

What a wild ride I have been on! And I don’t mean just the horses…

We dropped our oldest (Saul) off at Norwich University on August 21, 2011. He had a great time during Rook Week and made a lot of friends, but once the academics started, things really started to open up to him as far as his dreams are concerned. 

He has been admitted to the NUCAC-DF team, as a freshman. He was passed through two programming classes and can double major in Computer Security and Computer Science if he wants to and still keep his math minor.



After seeing everything that is offered at the department, Saul decided to drop the Cadet program. He does not have plans to commission into the military, and the extra hours can be spent on his academics and special projects for the NUCAC-DF. He is able to commute to classes this semester, and he may take up residency next semester if something opens up before snow seriously flies.

In all this time, Dream met me at the barn every day with his warm calm eyes and his own personality which kept me grounded. Aislinn and I enjoyed him and Ebony every day.

Hurricane Irene came through our state during this time. It took me a while to realize Vermont was on national news for the devastation from the storm. Local big media put together this story.

We just noticed that all the water and wind have slightly bowed one of the walls in the animals' barn. Scott and some of the boys have been out there reinforcing it.

The official start-up date for our homeschool is this upcoming week. I will have even less time to write while the weather is still comfortable, but what I like best is reading the updates everyone else posts.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone!


Lil E. Tee*, 1989
Won 1992 Kentucky Derby
Buckpasser, Bold Ruler, Northern Dancer,
Mahmoud, Princequillo

*This post is named after the horse that won the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 1992. I don’t have to look up the date, because it was within fifteen minutes of Saul’s birth nineteen years ago that that race was run--and won!


8/05/2011

Go Litely

It has required "going lightly" to keep up with family excitement, worries, and horses.

It’s been going well with my goals for the horses this summer. Dream and I are now finally working in the Arena, and Aislinn and I have been able to ride Ebony down there. Aislinn had a nice ride on Ebony yesterday. I have to remember that she started riding much younger than I did, so I cannot expect her to be able to do the type of riding I did at a later age when I started.

Lake Champlain's Northern Lights cruise boat
Scott and I went on a Lake Champlain Northern Lights cruise with Saul on a send-off event from the Norwich Alumni and Family Association. I usually get sick on big boats. It was my first time using Dramamine, and I was relieved that I felt fine and could enjoy myself.

We have been having special days with Saul. He is on leave from his job now and does not leave for Norwich until Aug. 21. I am so happy and excited for him. I guess the actual missing will derail me later, which is fine...it’s for a good cause!

I submitted my first book for publication to an agency. They say it takes about five years of rejections before you are published. I’m suspecting the process is just as important as the final outcome. I’ll be submitting to more agents, then book publishers, and then working on the next book to submit.

I am happy to have some indoor time cooling off today, and will be seeing what everyone is up to with their horses and otherwise, soon. Happy August!

Go Litely, 1985
Bold Ruler, Ribot, War Admiral, Pocahontas
Nasrullah and Man O' War each 2ce
Princequillo and Tourbillon

7/19/2011

Funny Cide

There is a signed print of this horse in the doctor's offices of my Mom's work. Yes, I was in New Jersey this past weekend...my Mom is a trooper to the extreme, and she is going to be fine, thank God. She is now recuperating from the surgery to her 3x broken ankle, and she is looking forward to getting on her feet again. Thank you so much everyone for your good thoughts and wishes!

On my way home from my old home (New Jersey) I exited at what I thought was a rest-stop...what I found was Saratoga Springs. I’d never been there before. It was perfectly quiet down Union Avenue on this Sunday evening and I could see the track and barns from the road. Further down, we passed huge, fabulous houses and a fancy restaurant or two.

I forgot everything. I was transported to a time and a place where Man O' War was sold as a yearling... I could see the barns he walked through (Secretariat and many others, also. And many still do.)


Saratoga race track from Union Ave.

Saratoga Race Course opened on August 3, 1863.

It is the 
oldest organized sporting venue 
of any kind 
in the United States.  

Saratoga is typically open for racing from late July through early September. I guess that is why it looked so immaculate: they are preparing for the season to begin any day.

I imagined the early 1900’s-- ladies strolling the sidewalks in long gowns, with gloves, fashionable hats, and parasols. Cool drinks in tall glasses for the women and tinkling aged whiskey on the rocks for their gentlemen escorts.

Saratoga in 1907

Saratoga was also known as The Spa for its rejuvenating springs and spas. At the turn of the century, the cool mountain air of the northeast was the place to be in summer. There was no jet-setting across the Atlantic. You went up to the country.

I know, because my Mother's family owned and operated a boarding house resort in the Catskill region. As a consequence, my Grandfather brought his family to the races at Saratoga quite frequently. My grandparents loved the races.

Like many other race tracks, Saratoga is not without its tragic stories.  
Go For Wand is buried there.

When we got home, I told my Mom about seeing Saratoga.


(Distorted Humor x Belle's Good Cide)

A Danzig and Seattle Slew horse. 
And too many more champions to list...(you name it).
Highest earnings of any New York Bred in history.


Because he was born with an undescended testicle which made him uncomfortable when he ran. 

 

7/11/2011

RoughN' Tumble

After finishing the grazing pastures (May), in which the final one was held up for two weeks while Scott’s back was out, we had a month of baseball (June). My computer was also down for about three weeks for a swipe and updating.

The horses enjoyed the new pastures and had some riding.

As soon as baseball was over, I prepared for my New Jersey Family’s Second Annual Camping Weekend at our house (camping out in our soccer field). We had a wonderful time; it was over July 4th week end and the weather was beautiful. We enjoyed the property, the pool, the rivers, and each other. I rode Dream for my Mom, and Aislinn rode Ebony, and my nephew (age 4) had a pony ride which Ebony wanted to give.

Unfortunately, the morning they were leaving, my Mom stepped wrong off the steps and fractured her ankle in three places. She has surgery in New Jersey this Friday, so that is where I will be this weekend. Yes, it makes one absolutely ill to consider the pain that someone you love so much is in. I keep reminding myself that this is temporary, can be fixed, and she can heal. My mother will be 70 this year. As usual, being near the horses offers the utmost in feelings of "right now is okay"-ism.

me and Dream  July 2011

So far, I am meeting certain goals with the horses. Dreamer and I have been as far as the bottom of the arena. I’ve been having issues with him working alone too far from the barn. You cannot see the barn from the arena because it is two fields away from, and lower than, the barn. Dream asked to go to the bottom of the field with the arena in it. We were riding outside the arena. I figured if he could go comfortably around the arena, he’d be better off inside it.

The first time I brought him into the arena, I left the gate open; I showed him the open gate. He was to be lunged with tack on. He panicked and called for Ebony as soon as I led him into the arena. He trotted nervously on the lunge line. When he was able to walk and hoe on the lunge on both directions with his focus on me, we ended. It did not take long to reach that point.

My rides on him have been pleasant with a lot of discussion. I went off once when he was exploring an area near Scott’s vegetable garden. Something moved in the bushes, and I was not ready as he lurched violently to the right. I am fine from the fall.


Ebony worked well and honestly for me in the arena. My goals for her, besides her diet (more on that after), are her ability to maintain a gait and maybe learn to carry a rider at a canter this year. Here she is with her favorite rider.

Aislinn and a slimmer Ebony  July 2011

Ebony has not resisted the grazing muzzle. Her new reduced weight is being maintained with the muzzle on during grazing hours, except for one hour at evening. When they come down for the night the grazing muzzle comes off. They both get a little hay before and after grazing, and they have access to the barn and water during all grazing hours.

If anyone needs a grazing muzzle recommendation, I definitely recommend the Shire's brand grazing muzzle.  You can read my review of it here. I did sew moleskin onto ours, as Ebony developed a sore under her jaw, but the muzzle came very soft in materials initially. Ebony healed right up.

I hope to visit blogs. All of the nice weather hours are spent in advance, it seems. I hope everyone is having a wonderful, SAFE summer. I really want to see what is going on with everyone.




(Free For All x Roused)
Whisk Broom, Bull Dog, Teddy, 
Spearmint, Ajax, St. Simon,
Maid of the Mint, Flying Fox


5/09/2011

Greener Pastures

We got this picture before beginning our 3rd day of work on our grazing pasture-rotation system:

my offspring and me, Mother's Day 2011

In 2008 I received a completed arena for Mother’s day. This year, my gift is the opening of one of our new grazing pastures for the horses! We collected our materials and started this work last week. On Sundays, we get free rental of a post-hole digger machine from my oldest son Saul’s work.


I used to wonder why my lawn looked better than the horses’ pasture. You have grass, you put horses on it, horses eat the grass, and it grows back, right? No—not really.

Horses will eat what they like best, first. Meanwhile, plants and weeds that they do not like to eat will continue to grow. The grass the horses like already has two problems:

1.) It has been nipped short, so its ability to photosynthesize with its remaining green plant material has been severely limited. It will recuperate at a very slow rate (thus, my lawn looking better than the pasture) and it will draw energy from the roots* to do so.

2.) The uneaten, less desirous plants are growing fine and are shading the needed grasses, making it even harder for the needed grasses to grow.

*The roots of the desired grasses will be much shallower because they were not allowed to grow or develop. The wanted grass can even die off, leaving you with nothing but weeds and poisonous plants.

So, what to do? Fence off the pasture into sections. We will have four grazing pastures by the time we are finished fencing new grazing pastures above our orchard.

Step 1: Let the horses eat in a pasture that has 6 to 10 inches of length of desired grasses. Let them eat it down to only 2-3 inches of plant length remaining.

Step 2: Move the horses to the next pasture. Cut the pasture above, to cut back all the undesired and uneaten plants, and leave it to grow. The grass can now compete with the undesired plants.

Step 3: Watch all of your pastures. If one is getting too long before the horses will get to it, cut it. You do not want the grasses to go to seed. Then a lot of plant energy is taken from the stems and roots of the plant. Cut before it goes to seed so that the horses are eating the grass when it has the most energy in the stem.

My most-used pasture behind the barn was fenced-off last week and is now in pasture recovery. It is being allowed to grow, and we will be quickly killing weeds and undesirable plants as they come up. We are adding seed to this pasture and nurturing forage plant growth.

The horses will be transitioning slowly to their new, greener pastures, and unfortunately—I’ve had to order a grazing muzzle for Ebony, our pony. It was either that or shut her away from Dreamer and the new pastures. A grazing muzzle allows a horse to get about 20% of what they would normally get without it. She will only have to wear it during grazing times. The horses will be closed in to the upper zone near the barn at night so that I can remove Ebony’s muzzle. This area is mostly grazed short already.

The horses will also be able to access the barn during the day for water, cooler than the trees’ shade, minerals, and fly relief. There is a gate system which shuts off unused pastures but still allows barn access.

There is still a trail around all the new pastures that we can ride through, and gates installed between pastures to allow us to continue to ride through our “park” area. It’s beautiful up there, with a stand of old White Pines I call “the Grandpas” (remember, I love white pines.)

Fallen White Pine needles will deter plant growth in a wide area at their base, so I do pay attention to where the babies sprout up. We let as many stay (in tree lines, for example) as we can and take down pine babies which will take up too much pasture growth.

Next to the arena and extending to the property line, adjacent to our “park area,” is a southwestern corner of the property which is completely forest. I am pretty spent physically from the weekend, but I loved our Mother’s Day! We were done by 4:pm, and Scott worked on a nice dinner while I let the horses in to the pasture for their first introductory time.

Ebony walked her way through the old fence spot, into the new pasture, to eat, eat eat...
Dream rocked-and-rolled his way in with a gallop, a rear, a kick, all done with a mid-air spin. I love that horse. 
Nijinsky, Native Dancer, Speedwell, Stop the Music,
Dr. Fager, Nothirdchance, Tom Fool, Hyperion


5/01/2011

May Day

I had my first spring ride with Dreamer yesterday. It feels like the best ride we’ve ever had!

I did things a little differently. Instead of climbing up on my big boy and ordering him all around (I did not realize how little I was listening) I tried what I used to do with Ebony when training her to go out on trail (recommended by John Lyons) which is to let her pick her way. She loves being out and sometimes does not want to come home.

So my attitude toward Dream was not, “follow me,” but rather, “let us go together.” I still led when necessary. I did quick halts while we were out. When he hesitated, I decided. I directed many of our steps…

but I was listening, listening, listening with my body and my mind the whole time. I brought him just to the edge of his comfort zones (for distance away from the barn) and just to the beginning of his curious zones (where he wants to explore).

We went out front toward the arena (south), and west into the orchard, uphill. After a bit of tooling around we went into the soccer field (south of the barn, right in front of it.) Six family members were sitting there alongside the upper barn which is alongside the soccer field.

Dream was feeling good, so I let him pick up a trot. He did the liveliest trotting we’ve ever had. He trotted without hesitation around the ends, and not just on the straights. All of the observers were oohing and aahing. He was genuinely being admired.

Scott said Dream was SO PROUD OF HIMSELF. The children observed it, too. They could see his eyes and his demeanor. Instead of being surly or sour, the big boy was trotting around like a champion.

This means more to me than anything else: his confidence and happiness.

[I made the family tell me later three times about how happy he looked.]

Then we went out front again, in the yard where he hand grazed recently after lunging. He stopped where he had grazed and just stood there…lowering his head slightly…lowering some more…

I was laughing and told Dream he could not graze in his bit. I told him I knew what he was saying, but that he’d have to trust me. At the right time I asked him to move away from the area.

He did, and after a little more directing around the yard from me, I went into the soccer field and dismounted. The family was still there, and he got winners circle attention. I un-tacked at the barn and brought him out to a different spot on the lawn to graze.

This is the first time I have ridden him at home without some type of incident taking place, no matter how minor: balking, swooshing to the side, etc.

I am going to enjoy the light of our successful ride and hope and plan for many more to come. 


Our first home ride in May 2007

 May Day, 1875
Sir Archy, Bertrand


4/29/2011

Universal Theme

As I am staring into space one evening...
~
                             Scott: “What are you thinking about?”
                             Me:    “Horses.”
A slight pause.
                             Scott: “Is that the automatic default mode?”
                             Me:    “Yes.”


I do not believe in the term “Super Mom.” I think all moms who do their best for their children are super, whether they work in or outside the home, and regardless of how many children they parent.

Sometimes people wonder how I make it all work. I wonder that myself, too, sometimes. As far as the horses go, I find myself doing what a lot of us probably do: running that part of my brain on what I call a “parallel life.”

It’s like this: you get up and do your morning routine. But your brain is with your horses. You do your work. It may include the horses, or someone else is doing it for you. A part of you is revolving around when you will be with them again.

Caleb hays the horses early morning for me (on most days). I go out mid-morning to do my barn chores and a second feeding. Meanwhile, I’ve done my morning routine and I’ve been teaching.

In winter, the horses always get a snack and then their evening feed, so their hay allotment is spread out over four times a day. This helps them stay warm and sane.

Now that spring is here, the kids know that we worked hard all winter, so we can end the morning lessons at one o’clock. Everything I needed to show them for the day has been done. They can work independently to finish, and I check their work at four o’clock and go over any questions with them then.

In the meantime, if their morning responsibilities are caught up, and they can get their other work done by four p.m., they have any spare time for outdoor pursuits. And guess who will be joining them outside? That’s right. It’s horse time.

I have three solid hours. Grooming, tacking up, riding, and clean up all usually take me about two hours. My extra minutes are spent on time with the kids outside and/or gardening.

When I get back inside, I can check work and be available while dinner cooks. I usually have dinner planned by morning. (This one thing saves me hours it seems.) Just walking into the kitchen already knowing what I am doing saves a lot of time for me.

Meanwhile, if it’s non-pasture time, the horses have already had a snack. One of the children have done this for me. After dinner I go outside, finish their meal feeding and set them up for the night.

I have been known to leave the property.
I have heard a lot of people say they love the benefits taking care of animals gives them because it gives regularity and a schedule to life that may not exist otherwise.

I guess those of us with horses lead an alternative lifestyle. Work, career, family…and someplace, a part of our brain is at the barn: feeding, caring, training, riding, health care—all the many necessary things that we oversee for our horses either directly or through careful delegation.

I would love to hear some of the things you do to lead your “parallel life.”



Nijinsky, Arts And Letters, Bold Ruler, Princequillo, 
Nashua, Count Fleet, Jet Pilot, Bull Lea

4/27/2011

April Flowers

Today was awesome, weather-wise, and it was Dream’s day. After a thorough grooming his coat started to gleam with his beautiful coppery chestnut color. Then we went out for lunging and “reward” grazing on the lawn.

My plan is to begin the season lunging him in all the areas he shows lack of confidence working in. The reason is to have his focus and attention. However, I may take him for little rides in-between, in areas where he is already confident or may still want to stretch his borders.

I am pleased with how he is getting more and more used to my handling him (leading and lunging) from the right side. Today he was even better going right than left. It could be that he was already bored by the time we circled left. I wanted to keep the session short, but had already gone over my allotted time.

He used to get upset when I led or lunged to the right. He would pin his ears and fuss.

I’ve studied my training notes in preparation for spring, and I’ve made my 2011 Goals. I will post them soon, maybe with the notes included, which are a good summary of where we’ve been since 2007.

Photo by Saul 2007

April Flowers, 1991
Rialto, Nasrullah, Tourbillon
a Brazilian horse

4/25/2011

Happy Sunrise

Happy belated Resurrection Day, everyone! I had just enough time yesterday between visiting a local Christian church and putting the ham in to take a horse out. It was Ebony's 'day' (turn). I hoped for a better experience than one we'd had recently. That day was cloudy and windy. To read just about Ebony, skip to the bottom, because I have some family stuff to share.

This day was our first "good" one weather-wise in...weeks? We've had rain, snow, hail, and just on Saturday, 70 m.p.h. winds! My barn was creaking above and I sent Aislinn inside, praying as I finished my chores-- glad my horses can leave the barn whenever they like. But the 1840's post-and-beam construction still held. There must have been angels.

One happy guy Levi under that helmet
There is a new face in our family; it's mechanical: Levi has found his dream dirt-bike. He patiently (with encouragement in the patience department) looked and looked and it paid off: a brand new bike was being sold locally in his price range and even in the make and color of his preference! 

It is a 4-stroke, so it does not have that horrible We-Rrrrrr high pitch that some dirt bikes can have. It resonates on a low level and it purrs. Naturally this is important to me for the horses' sakes. Ok, for my own sake, too!

The horses have really paid no worried attention to it. Levi stops riding when we start, but yesterday Ebony walked right past the dirt bike on a lead rope and all was fine. The horses have also had the opportunity to watch Levi riding for a few days.

So now we are in the car (Saul), truck (Caleb), dirt bike (Levi) stage with our children and I really like it! It's fun to be so busy and functioning. Saul rounded up his four oldest brothers into wood and yard work yesterday. They left in Caleb's truck to return equipment. Fun, and a huge blessing.

Okay! So Ebony turned out to be extremely quiet and nicely adventurous! Aislinn and I groomed (and groomed, and groomed) her and set up cones in the soccer field. I rode her in a western Wintec. She spooked in place near the vegetable garden and row of blueberries. It's her least favorite place to go past. (Exactly where a panther can hide.)

We headed into the front yard, above the lower field and arena. She asked to go west toward the orchard and upper fields. We border with a cow pasture up there.

I said that's ok, let's go up there. I call it the "park." Caleb keeps in mowed around majestic pine trees. I have a special place in my heart for pines. My Grandma in New York state had a pine forest we would walk in...

We walked half way across, and then I cut the park in half and headed down the orchard toward home. Ebony asked to go back up and do the rest of the riding all the way around, so we did.

Pine limbs were down across our usual path. I watched my pony see a way clear and pick her way through the same path I'd have taken. Maybe I have the makings if a mature trail equine here?

Her early education always included trail work. I am really proud of her right now because she started out the day nervous, but she forgot about it quickly. 

I knew when we got back that it would be asking a lot for her to give Aislinn a lesson in the soccer field. Still, I had to ask. She was somewhat resistant and gave Aislinn some training in getting a horse going. Still, that is all part of the education!

I love quiet pony days.

Ebony had a ten minute grazing reward when her saddle was off. (She really does not need the calories any longer than that.) 

Meanwhile, Super Husband and Super Boys had cooked the ham and all the trimmings including the most delicious homemade rolls--in between taking turns riding the dirt bike!

I missed Scott's ride (dirt bike) and he missed mine (Ebony) so we had to laugh. Levi has agreed that I will ride his dirt bike and he will ride a horse in trade.

Now I have all week to catch up on everyone's wonderful blog writing! 

  
Nearco, Tourbillon, Hyperion
a Japanese horse

4/17/2011

Last Party

I do not like to put anyone through what I've been doing lately with the stories I’ve been posting. As I scroll down my page, I see: fire (2010), equine injury (2009), blizzards….and now I have to point you to the Western Adventure story of Ebony coming into our lives. Because... it's her birthday!

Happy Birthday Ebony~! 
Ebony was twelve years yesterday, and in honor of that,

I am hoping to drive Aislinn out to see the field of Ebony’s birth sometime soon. 

With Dream, we observe the day we met him, his birthday, and the day he came home.
With Ebony, it’s all the same thing. 
So there are a lot of horsie celebrations in spring, and this is the last one.

Happy Birthday to our girl~!

Nasrullah, Nijinski, Tom Fool

“broke down 2005 put down”
R.I.P. 

4/13/2011

Happy Day

Dreamport came to live with us 
4 years ago today~!
 I wrote some about that day at the end of this page
I feel like we are just getting started. 

Welcome Home  April 13, 2007

 This is something I’ve never had a chance to mention before: in June 2009, Dream stepped on a two inch nail.  I remember this crisis time with my horse very clearly. He and I built up so much trust during this time. That first night, he slept with his head in my lap at times.

It all worked out for good and left Dreamer and I much closer and more connected. 

It initially happened when he pulled a door knob off the back of the barn by Ebony's stall. Then he stepped on the nail that was exposed. When my horse did not come in for grain, I went out to find him. I think it had just happened. I found him two steps down the path, with a doorknob nailed to his left hind foot, which he was holding aloft.

I still have the doorknob and nail going through it. The nail entered the foot at the bottom point of the frog and went straight in, just pricking the center of his coffin bone.

He stood perfectly still and let us do all we needed to do. I put Ebony away immediately and one of the children held Dream. I pulled the nail out and let it bleed as he held it up. I sprinted for supplies. I immediately soaked the area with peroxide (I know you don't use peroxide on a puncture, but my choice was to take the risk because peroxide kills tetanus.) Then I poured povidine on it. Then I put sterile gauze over it and wrapped the foot. His foot never touched the ground exposed.

We sat there with hay and water for him. He did not want to move. Scott and the vet had been called. Scott has a forty mile/one hour commute home. When Dream heard Scott's voice, he called out. Then he limped into his stall with us. 

[That taught me how much he relies on Scott, even though I have been Dream's principle care giver and only rider to that point. Maybe he remembers men/a man as a place of authority in his past--perhaps his trainer.]

The vet was at another emergency and got to us as soon as possible. My horse just stood rock still in his stall. I missed Ailsinn's spring dance recital as I sent her and the family away to attend.

Dream was perfectly quiet for the vet and his assistant when they arrived. I asked them to try to always remember Dreamer when people try to say Thoroughbreds are crazy. Dream knew he needed help, and I was truly amazed at his bearing.

Our vet showed me how to do intramuscular shots into Dream's neck for one of his medicines. The other medicine and pain killer went into an IV that was inserted into his neck permanently until we were finished using it. The vet had me pull a tee shirt over Dream's neck to protect the IV equipment as long as he did not rub it out (which he did not, thankfully.) 

I spent some time knowing that a bone infection would mean death for him. I prayed and cried a lot. But I knew his chances were good because of the vet's excellent care and our quick response to the injury.

I have to add, that summer Scott was down to one pair of dress pants for his job, but he ordered the x-rays for Dreamer before replacing his wardrobe.The x-rays showed a healed coffin bone.

Dreamer seems to be perfectly fine from all that now. I remember it as a time of trauma yet also developing closeness and healing. He found out that a foot injury does not mean a home change; I hope it helped him realize he is here with us, no matter what.

So, Happy Anniversary, my Friend~!


Happy Day, 1996
Danzig, Northern Dancer, Turn-To, 
Bold Reason, Sir Gaylord, Ribot, Buckpasser

4/11/2011

Everlasting

This gives a whole new meaning to the term, "mending fences."

I left up the 2” white non-electric strapping on my arena for the first time this past winter. Today I sewed together two ends where the nylon thread I used (fishing line) had come out. Still, I think I will keep removing the strapping every fall to put it back up in the spring, like I usually do.

After fence mending I took Dream out into the soccer field for a little lunging: walking and “hoe” to start. He did fine. When we went around to the right he needed more encouragement. From what I’ve read, most OTTB’s work better to the left.

After ending at a good point to the right, I walked Dream to a different part of the field and gave him the ‘command’ to graze. I want him to know he has to wait for permission to put his head down. We work in a halter a lot, so this eases things.

Grazing consists of scouring the grass for the earliest green he can find. But I know he appreciated it.

I had mentioned an article I want to share. Remember Secretariat’s big heart? You’ve probably already heard about this, but here’s an article on what some people call the X-factor, or large Thoroughbred hearts.

Dreamport’s Grandsire Seattle Slew is mentioned on the list of horses that carried this beneficial mutation. All of our TB’s go back to the horses mentioned later in the article.

Here is my favorite picture from Norwich University, the Library:





Eclipse and Snap, Regulus 2x


4/10/2011

Better Self

Taking Ebony out today was the first ride of spring. She acted like she’d never been ridden before in her life. Aislinn got to ride, but only with Scott there next to them and connected with a lead rope. While I was on Ebony, I used praise and encouragement and tried to ignore her spinning and acting up. We got to “walk” and “hoe” done well, so I ended it and Aislinn got her ride.

Yesterday, Scott and I had a wonderful day visiting Norwich University with Saul.

I decided not to take the web writing job. The way it was set up was not going to benefit us financially. I can see how it works well for others, though.

We’ve had rain and warmer temperatures, so we are finally being reduced to just patches of snow on the fields or melting piles along the edges.

This week we have a horse anniversary and a horse birthday, so I will be back soon. I have found an interesting article that I also hope to share.

Ebony, Spring 2006

War Admiral, Black Toney, Teddy

4/02/2011

Taking Off

I am in New Jersey with our three oldest children (young men!) to see my nephew in a college play. Scott and our three youngest have care of the horses at home. We still have about 18 inches of crusty snow to melt, and ice on the path through the snow. There are other higher piles of snow in the fields, up to 48 inches.

I am trying out a web writing work-at-home job. The company owner lives 2 and a half miles from me, in our town. If it works out, I will at least defray our grain and bedding costs. Also, I have dedicated an hour each day to readying a children's book for submission to a publisher. This route, if successful, usually takes some years for income to appear-- so the other writing can supplement us right now.

The horses are really shedding now. I think that they shed out with or without our help. I don't mind taking the shedding grooming tools to their coats in order to help them. Yet it seems that one day, suddenly, they just "let go" of their coats, like taking off a jacket.

And underneath is a beautiful shiny spring horse! We are very fortunate that Ebony's coat (she is a true black) has never faded in the summer sun.

Well, I am going to go around and visit blogs now!

Taking Off, 1973
Nearco 2x, Teddy  
 

3/24/2011

Rescue Me

The horses are so bored, it is painful to go out to the barn each day when I feed them and try to explain again that I just cannot take them out of the barn and paddock area yet. 

Even though it is beautiful, the kids and I are hanging on to the last vestigials of our patience as snow melts each day but also continues to fall.

The snow is still deep and crunchy and the footing is unsure. I cannot judge the ground underneath the uneven snow. The path leading to my house is narrow and freezes at night.

To a horse sunning itself and shedding in the sun each day, this makes no sense. I look like a total lame-o.

Sometimes Dream will find any excuse to burst out of the in-and-out stall like it’s a starting gate (kids making noises with buckets, pitchforks, anything) and will run Ebony around the field. They roll in unison and Aislinn calls them "Reverse Appaloosas" because they are snow dusted with white spots.

At least the snow has melted to a point that the fences are at a dignified height. This summer, we have to add eighteen inches to the fencing along the horses’ winter area. In winter, the snow gets so deep on the hill of the paddock that the top wire of my fence eventually falls below Dreamport’s knees! He just stands and stares at the white wasteland over the fence and decides that crossing would bring him nothing, except further from the barn area.

I think the situation insults his royal bearing and takes advantage of his generous nature, two things which I do not want to do.

We need hay again, and today I have decided to write the children’s books that are on my list. We need hay a lot since this big Ferrari of the horse world with the speedy metabolism has moved in, and I’d like to earn some income to help out.

So I hope others are enjoying spring, whether it has actually come to your little corner of earth yet or not.


Ebony


Rescue Me, 1974
Native Dancer, Bull Lea, John P. Grier, Princequillo

3/12/2011

One More Time

I could not put Aislinn's drawings up without posting this watercolor by Saul a few years ago:

Chincoteague foal


It's one of my favorites by him, not just because it's a foal, but also because I think he captured its wobbliness pretty well.  I also love the bright cheeriness of its colors.

The watercolor Saul did of the day Dream and Ebony met is here.

I am headed out to the barn to give Dream a shedding-grooming. We've had wet weather and have lost fourteen inches of snow so far.  Two more feet of melt and I will see the ground!


One More Time, 2009
Northern Dancer, Secretariat, Mr. Prospector


3/10/2011

Real Quiet

My boys have been busy with their visiting cousin all week, so my daughter Aislinn finally had a chance to view the horse drawing video she received for Christmas. 
Easy 2 Draw Horses with Cordi

She has been having a wonderful time with it. The video shows her blocking, shading, blending, texture—and she’s more able to draw horses like she’s always wanted to.

Since we are all horse lovers, I thought I would share some of the drawings. Aislinn is eight and a half, but has been working on drawing horses for years.

This is the first thing she drew, after the first lesson:

#1 Appaloosa

Then the rest of the day she drew these:

a foal

full horse


horse rearing, colored with chalk



Then the next day she drew:
her favorite drawing so far


mare with attitude

the second Appaloosa

She's using more texture in these last two.


And today it was:  


a bucking horse

So Aislinn's been bringing these up to us for three days and I really wanted to share them.

(I really need Cordi to make a sequel to her drawing video!)


Won Kentucky Derby, Preakness S., 2nd in Belmont S. (1998) at 3.
1998 Champion Three-Year-Old Colt
Died in paddock accident (fractured vertebrae) 9/27/2010.