dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, September 28, 2012

Caption This:

what a ham my baby is. This was taken right before supper - Steele is in Irish's stall.

Let me hear your creativity- caption this photo for me please.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dogs, cats and horses, oh my!

This post is not about Steele. I wanted to share a story about Marin my cat.

Martin was dumped on someone's property as a kitten along with his mother and 1 other kitten. I was visiting a friend and her neighbour came by to see if she knew of anyone looking for a cat. I had lost my other cat a few months back and since I know that cats find us (not the other way round) I figured this was my to be my cat. We chatted for a bit, my friend gave me a glowing reference and the wee kitten came home with me.
 I sent a text on my way to Ed "Coming home with kitten. will explain later".
After much discussion we settled on the name of 'Martin'.
Martin a few days after arrival.
Martin quickly made friends with d'Arcy:
love d'Arcy's expression here
We quickly came to realize that Martin had decided that he had 'Cat Rights' and 'Dog Privileges'.

I'll take this. you can have the floor
he will fish out some of d'Arcy's food!
Martin is now a  full grown cat and firmly believes that he is 'all that and a bag of chips. '

On Monday I was riding Irish in the ring. It was a beautiful September day with a hint of Fall in the air giving everything a fresh feel. The dogs always hang out when I ride. d'Arcy supervises and Belle meanders about. This time Martin joined us.

The dogs know to stay out of the ring, although Belle needs reminders every now and then. However, Martin is, well a cat, so he does what cats do- which is whatever he wants. :roll:

It was an interesting ride as Martin tried to find the perfect spot- he tried climbing the apple tree, laying by "E", rolling in the tall grass and sitting on the fence post. Poor Irish keep trying to figure out where he was going to be pop up next. None of these locations cut it apparently so he decided that the most perfect spot was on the diagonal line from M to K. I didn't see this until I turned on the diagonal on a trot. I figured he would move so kept on the straight line. Martin laid there looking at us but didn't move. But when we got closer he moved- unforutnatley it was on the same line we were trotting. He must have figured we were chasing him- his fur stood up, his tail curled and he bolted out the ring where he turned around and gave us his 'cat glare'.

I didn't think anything of it and carried on with my schooling. A few minutes later I'm doing a 15 metre trot circle at R. When I reached the quarter line between I and S Martin came leaping out of the bushes as us with his RAWR face.  Seriously, it was like he was hovering above the brush- all four feet extended. It's probably what the mice see right before the end. 

Poor Irish almost had a stroke. He swerved, broke to canter and acted like the hounds of hell were on our heels. I was laughing so hard I could barely steer.
I got everything back under control and carried on. Irish had quite the pep in his step after that!
This is what I think Irish saw:

Martin was no where to be seen after that. He had his revenge.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In which Steele meets his vet

I have to say that I have a wonderful vet. I am fortunate to live in an area that has an excellent vet clinic that does large and small animals. I've had this same vet for my horses since I've owned horses. He's has a ton of knowledge and he listens to the owners. His daughter has just joined the practice as well. Both of them truly love horses which is helpful when you are a horse owner.

Irish needs to have his teeth done about every 6 months as he forms hooks at the back. There is no equine dentist in the area but my vet has educated himself well and he does a good job with Irish. I noticed recently that Irish was displaying signs of problems- fussy in the contact and knew it was close to the  6 month mark but I then noticed that he was spitting out his grain. I called the vet right away and made an appointment. In the meantime I soaked his feed so it was soft which fixed the issue.

Irish had his teeth done in the stall. Steele watched from the outside dutch door completely riveted. And a bit jealous that he wasn't getting any attention. I have to brag about how good Irish is with the vet- no tranquilizers needed even with the gag (device to hold his mouth open so the vet can get at the back teeth). 

I know that my vet is a busy man but he took the time to discuss the Triple E vaccine with me. About 3 years ago it hit our province and a few horse died of it in my area. I've been vaccinating ever since but he was recommending a fall booster as this is typically the time it appears. So Irish had that done as well.

I then put the halter on Steele and brought him out. My vet gave him a quick once over, said some nice things, moved his legs around, etc. Steele stood as good as gold. My vet then grabbed one of his teeth implements and said that he just wanted Steele to feel it in his mouth, but he wasn't going to do anything. So while I held the lead line, the vet put on of his files in Steeles mouth and moved around a bit. All he did was open his mouth but Steele kept his eye on me the whole time- it was like he was saying- is this ok? When the vet took it out and put it in his bucket Steele wanted to go and check it out. As a first time he was excellent. Some horses freak out over it. Steele then had his needle. All he did was drop his bum and make a face. Then a quick apple and the horses were let back out.

All in all a successful first meeting.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I'm Famous

Hi everyone, Steele here.

You know that photo at the top of my blog? Well mom has it in an art show. Her local photo club has an exhibition in the local Museum.

She got a lot of positive feedback on my photo. But I could have told her that would happen- after all look at her model.

I think that I deserve extra treats tonight, don't you?

that's me on the right. She also did the photo on the left too but the subject isn't nearly as handsome, is he?

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Blanket Inspector

The weather is turning cooler so it's time for me to start blanketing Irish. I put his sheet on Sunday. As I turned him out I said "now don't let Steele tear it off". He gave me a look that spoke volumes.

Any bets on how this is going to go?

On a lighter note, I have to say I have the two cutest faces ever:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One lesson leads to another.....

Last weekend we had the remnants of Hurricane Leslie. The rain was at times torrential which meant that the horses were not out for their full days of grazing. Saturday morning I let them out and when the rain really started coming down hard I went out to get them. It was no problem but they weren't happy to be left inside for most of the rest of the day.

Sunday dawned clear so I let them out again for a bit. I then heard some thunder and the dark clouds came back so I went out to get them. Irish spied me coming and headed to the back of the field with Steele following. I followed and almost had Steele's halter on when Irish bolted away with him following. They then proceeded to run like fools around the paddock. I was not impressed. First of all- it's not a good idea to have a horse lead you on a merry chase around a pasture. Second they could get seriously hurt sliding on the wet ground. And third, my field was getting cut to pieces- ruining the grass and leaving holes.

On monday I decided to begin to work on having the horses come to me. After work I grabbed their halters and one lead line and some apple pieces. I then headed out to the field but walked parrallel to where they were and ignored them. Steele raised his head and looked at me. He started towards me but then Irish headed the other way and he followed. I ignored him and wandered around the field filling in holes, throwing a ball for Belle and just being busy. Finally, after about 5 minutes, Steele couldn't stand it anymore and came over to me. I gave him a piece of apple and walked away. A few minutes later he came up and I repeated the action. He was intrigued and I could see him thinking this over. We did this about 3 times. Now I had Irish's attention. He was smart enough to know that this was a trap but jealous that Steele was getting all the treats. However, he wasn't as keen.
 Within 10 minutes I had Steele following me to the barn. I brought him in and put him in the cross ties to groom. The idea was to groom him and bring him back out again. It was all going according to plan until he spied Irish through the barn doors out in the field.

Then it hit him: he was in the barn while Irish was out grazing. 

He began to test the cross ties. Up until now he hadn't done that, but today he did not want to be in them. He would walk forward, come against them, push harder, and then back up. I really like my cross ties- they have a bit of stretch in them so there's nothing to lean against- they give a bit and they have the quick release as well. I talked to him a bit and continued to groom him but he was getting more agitated. I figured that the best thing would be for him to figure it out with me being calm and matter of fact about it. Once, before I could prevent it, he twisted himself around 180 degrees so that he was facing the other way but one of the ties was over his neck. He was stuck. He looked at me with wide eyes and I quickly and calmly came up and unsnapped him, turned him around and hooked him back up. Not what he had in mind at all. Now he's quite a bit ticked off and started calling. I ignored this. After a few calls Irish came down to the barn and into the stall next door:

Irish: "WHAT?!"
Steele: "I'm trapped!"
"You're not trapped. You're in the cross ties. You've been then before"
"Yes, but you're out on the grass. It's not fair!"
"You're fine. Stop being a baby"
"can you stay?"
Irish stays and starts to eat the hay. I go back to grooming Steele. After 5 minutes, Irish decides to leave.
"sorry kid, but I want some real grass. You're on your own."

Steele watched him go and I watched him becoming more and more tense. We walked forward- hit the end of the cross ties, backed up, walked forward again. I thought that he was going to throw a major hissy fit so I shut the barn doors. That way if he got loose he couldn't take off. And then it was like he figured it out- he stopped and stood still. I waited one minute, and then unsnapped the cross ties. I put on the lead line and led him back outside. I made him stand still and then let him go. He left quite politely.

I went back in the barn and grabbed some more treats. After about 5 minutes I went back out and repeated the first lesson again. In 5 minutes, wherever I walked Steele was right at my shoulder. I would walk forward about 5 steps and then turn sharply left or right. He stuck right with me. Periodically he would get a reward. Irish then horned in on the action. It was kind of fun. I would walk, tell them to 'whoa'. Ask them to back up and then walk forward. It was a lot of fun. I should mention that I had my dressage crop with me just in case Steele or Irish got a little pushy. Good thing too, once he shoved me a bit with his shoulder and walked on by. He looked like a strutting teenager- all he needed was a hoody. I snapped him on the butt with my crop and walked away. After that he was very polite.

Today when I came out the barn he came trotting right up as soon as he saw me.

Tell me- what do you do to teach your horses to come to you in the field?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Assistant

As I said in my last entry- Irish and I were away at a horse show last weekend while Steele and my husband, Ed stayed home. Last time I went away and left them I texted a lot to make sure things were okay. I believe that Ed was a bit insulted by that so this time I was strong and didn't do that. I figured that if there was a problem I would find out. Since the phone stayed silent all weekend I wasn't worried.

When we returned home Steele was ecstatic. As he did last time he greeted both Irish and I. He stayed with me for a bit and then trotted out to see Irish. Poor Irish- Steele kept biting him on the tail to get his attention. Irish would ignore it until it became too annoying and then he would tell him to piss off. Steele would back off and graze trying to look completely innocent. Once Irish was engrossed in the grass again (after all he didn't have it for three whole days) Steele would get an evil gleam in his eye and come at him again. Is it wrong of me to laugh about this? Of course I won't be laughing if Steele eats Irish's tail to nothing. I may need to put some soap on it......

I asked Ed how things went and he said that it was all fine. He then told me this story:

Ed decided to put some pasture seed down in the bare areas of the field. He had his hand spreader and the bag of seed. As he was spreading he looked back to see Steele with nose fully in the seed bag strewing it around gleefully. Ed said that he yelled at him but was ignored until he came back to the bag. At this point, Steele lifted his head out and looked at him innocently 'oh were you talking to me? I thought you were yelling at the dogs'. Ed picked up the seed bag and put it outside the fence. After that Steele followed him with his nose over his shoulder as Ed walked back and forth spreading the seed.

Obviously I need a webcam. I am so sorry that I missed this but the visual in my head is funny too.