I just received “the Tree of Happiness Award” from Ooglebloops’s World and so I am now tagging 5 other blogs that I like to read (mainly horse related).
Our farrier made me this letter M out of a horseshoe. M stands for Morris, Maverick and Maddy. It also stands for Mad Skills, which Morris and Maverick both have.
This hangs on the wall in my room, where I have lots of horse pictures, ribbons and stuff.
I tried to get him to make it a serif font, but we settled on this.
Winter is here, which means that the indoor arena can get crowded. Nobody wants to ride outside when there’s a foot of snow, so we take our chances inside. At any given time, there are eight or more horses in there. When everything is going right, eight horses in the arena is not a big deal. The trouble starts when one horse takes off and the others do the same. Before you know it, every horse is circling the arena at different paces, and some of them are out of control. Sometimes riders on little ponies nearly get run over by riders on 17 hand tall horses. And then there’s the dust they all leave behind as they gallop around. It feels a little bit like rush hour. And although I can’t drive yet, I think I’m learning defensive driving skills.
We already freeze in the winter, can’t the horses be on good behavior when we’re all cold? Why do they wait until it’s 16 degrees out to decide to be naughty?
Only six more months until summer. I hope I survive.
I think every ranch has a designated “kid horse.” That horse is usually the kindest. The gentlest. Bomb proof. The horse you can put anyone on. The horse you trust. Our designated “kid horse” was Rusty.
Rusty was a quarter horse with a bit of Arabian in her. Born a sorrel, Rusty then turned all white. Rusty was a good horse, and for the most part she was gentle, but she had just a little bit of a wild streak in her, maybe that was the Arabian blood.
Now Rusty was a really slow walker. The slowest on the ranch. My personal opinion is that her slow walking led to her classification as “kid horse.” I think none of the grown ups wanted to ride her. No one likes to ride the slowest walker, so the kids rode her.
Rusty crow-hopped, bucked, reared and shied. She was crafty. While acting mild-mannered and innocent, she would look for opportunities to buck us off.
Once, I jumped on her bareback after catching her in the pasture. (She would always try to nip your butt if you were getting on bareback so you had to be fast.)
She had just a halter on, and that was generally not a problem. I was lazily riding her along, after all, it was Rusty. We came to a creek a few feet wide and suddenly she just got it into her head to go and she jumped the darn thing. A big jump. It was probably the first and only time she jumped that creek. Normally she’d just walk right through it. I’m convinced she knew that I wasn’t really paying attention, not riding like I should have been, and knew I’d go flying if she took a big jump, which I did. And I didn’t land in the creek. I landed on the bank. I broke my arm that day, but I learned a big Rusty lesson. But Rusty wasn’t done.
She nearly killed us all one summer.
As kids, our job on the ranch was to exercise the horses, so we would go out to the pasture to catch Rusty and other horses we’d ride that day. We’d carry big buckets of grain and halters. Rusty liked grain, but she didn’t like getting caught. That summer she started pinning her ears back and running us over in the pasture. She would barrel right at us. As soon as we’d drop to the ground she’d leave us alone and turn her attention to eating the grain. If any of us got up she’d charge again. Ears back, heels flying. She’d take some serious shots at us. If you imagine a 1400 pound horse charging at you when you’re an 80 pound kid you’ll realize it’s not a situation that’s much fun.
Soon enough the other horses were doing the same. It got to the point we were risking our lives every time we caught horses in that pasture. Rusty was the ring leader.
To this day, when I see a white horse in a field I wonder if that’s a “Rusty.” In the end, I can’t help but love each and every horse we’ve had through the years, each with their own personalities. And maybe, every rider needs a Rusty at some point in time. Maybe it’s those horses with lots of character that build the character in each of us.
I recently spent a Sunday in the stables and organised my locker and since it doesn’t always look this neat I thought I should take the picture now. It’s amazing how much stuff you need to ride beyond just the basic tack.
A: My Charles Owens Eventing helmet. Helmets are very important. Last year I got two concussions, then I got this new helmet. I haven’t really had a bad fall since getting this helmet, but hopefully I won’t get any more concussions. The first happened last winter. One of the naughtier ponies in the barn took off bucking and left me on the ground with blurry vision. I felt hazy and confused, and my head hurt a lot. The second concussion happend at Camp and Rally, during the summer.
B: My bridle and show halter. Clean and ready to use.
C: My paddock boots. It’s just about time to start wearing my winter boots. These aren’t warm enough now.
D: My Tipperary Vest. Again, important for safety.
E. Grooming supplies. Your horse can never be too clean!
F: Treats, because Moon deserves them everyday.
G: What you don’t see is the mice hiding in the corners waiting to eat my popcorn, or any other snacks I keep in my locker. I’ve started using plastic containers to keep them out. I guess the cats around the barn are slackers.
H. I have a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t fit in my locker, a dressage saddle, a jumping saddle, show gear, but more on that later.
Maddy and I have several trail rides we like, however one of them is too scary to ever take again. It’s unfortunate, because it’s a lovely trail, but it passes right by a field of these funny little creatures. Maddy and I think these little guys are cute, but our horses have a different opinion.
For some ridiculous reason, all of our horses are really scared of these little guys. When we ride by them it’s like riding by a field of bobcats, or elephants, or whatever it is that scares horses the most. Our horses get big eyes, nervous stares and act as though their very lives are threatened by these cute little creatures. Are they donkeys? Mules? Burros? Whatever they are, evidently they pose some threat that I’m unaware of.
Our horses are also scared of moose, which we run into on occassion, but that at least I can understand, moose are really big, and not afraid of anything. But these guys? Go figure.
Just one last quick thing – does anyone know where I can find a good website to advertise horses for sale? I know there are a few sites but don’t know which is best?!?
It’s officially winter. Today for riding I wore my big puffy coat. Warm riding pants. Skimpy socks and paddock boots. Halfway through my lesson my feet were freezing. Then my feet went from freezing to numb.
Here’s a tip to prevent your feet from stinging when you get off your horse, slide off cautiously. Then ask one of your good, good friends to pull your boots off for you
When english saddles started showing up in the tack room at the ranch, Gramsie and Gramps did a fair amount of eye-rolling.
You see, we’re ranchers. We move cows and such. Yet for some reason english saddles and other english tack started taking over the tack room, some even getting put away on top of western saddles that had been in the family for years. Gramps, especially, could hardly take it.
Then, at a jumping show, I noticed Gramps with a little bit of a smile. Just a bit. Was Gramps actually approving? As he and Gramsie watched Maddy and Moon sail over jumps the
smiles and twikley eyes came out. I think we’ve won them over.
And Gramps, thanks for making space for all those english saddles in the tack room.
I come from a long line of horse loving people. My grandfather owned a small (but successful) horse farm and rased race horses – I think this is where I get my love of the wild beasts from. He gave me my first horse when I was eight. My mum grew up riding on the farm with her brothers and sisters, who I think of as the original horse whisperer. My dad however grew up on a hill farm in the arse end of nowhere and although he wasn’t into horses he was a hard working man who loved farming and animals.
So you see, all this – it’s in my blood, I can’t help but love horses. I don’t even mind getting up at 5am to muck them out or working late to get them for hunting.
I am one of the lucky ones in life – my job is also my hobbie and that makes me smile.
PS do you like the new header?
Once I click ‘publish’ something huge happens – I become a blogger! Woo Hoo!!
Anyway I guess I shouldn’t write this blog about how it feels to pop your blogging cherry and I should write about Horses and how basically they are my life and my hobbie.
Let me give you a little background story. We lived in London for a few years and then upped sticks and moved up north to a little farm which has turned into a slightly larger farm when I talked my husband into buying a herd of manure producing beasts as he puts it.
As you can guess he isn’t into horses that much and likes quoting Kay Pope.
Never get on something that’s bigger and smarter than you are.
I think I will let him write a little about he feels:
I feel stuck stuck. My cars smell like horse. At times my house smells like horse. My wife and daughters hair smells like horse. Horse everywhere. It’s obviously not a guy thing. Do you see guys at horse shows? Nope. Just little girls on horses and their moms who would like to be little girls on horses.
Anyway while I find my feat please feel free to leave a comment to tell me about your horse(s).