dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Horse for Sale. Really Cheap.....

No, not Steele.

as if I could be guilty of anything
Let me back up.
Tuesday started like every morning. The alarm went off far too early. I stumbled downstairs and put on my insulated coveralls (it's getting chilly) and headed to the barn. When I came into the barn something seemed off. I glanced towards Irish's stall and then stopped dead. I looked again.
what the...?

 The door that opens to the paddock was pushed off the hinges. Along with the outside frame. the only thing keeping it shut was the latch on the other side. The latches that Ed put in with 3 inch screws.
"What the hell Irish?" I asked.

He blinked at me with doe eyes and waited for breakfast. Realizing that my day was going to take a different turn then I had planned I gave them their food and cleaned out their stalls. When Irish was done he started sticking his head out the opening. The opening with nails sticking out. I have no idea how he hadn't cut himself.

I went around to the outside and wrestled the door back so I could undo the latches. Once they were open I wrestled it further so Irish could get out. I trid to move it further away but a dutch door made of solid wood is a heavy thing. I overestimated my ability to move it independently. So I put it back leaning against the opening and went into the house to get Ed. I have to hand it to him. I called into the house 'can you come and help me?"  And he came out immediately without complaint.

I explained that Irish had wrecked his door. When we got to the barn he looked and said "That's Irish's door"
"I know"
"how did Steele break it?"
"He didn't. Irish did"
"Steele is innocent"
"now that's scary"

 We surveyed the damage. Steele beside us looking studiously at the door. Irish was eating at the hay pile seemingly oblivious.  Ed ducked under the door and into Irish's stall to go get his tools.  Steele started to follow.
"no"  I blocked the door
"but I just want to.."
"see I'll just duck under..."
"but it's easy"
"but I just want..."
Ed came out armed with a hammer and cordless drill. Steele watched with great interest as Ed pounded out the nails. He then turned on the drill to remove the screws. Steele's face lighted up with pure keenness. 

"oooh, power tools! let me try"
As Ed used the drill I did my best to keep Steele away while he did his best to get at the drill. Ed put it down and we began to move the door. Seeing our hands full he took full advantage and made a dive at the drill.
I tried grab it first but he was too fast. he knocked it over with his nose and then vamoosed as I came closer.
"if only I had opposable thumbs"

Thank heaven he doesn't.

We moved the door to a place for safe keeping. After work I helped Ed put it back up.
I believe that Irish leaned against the door until it gave. As we were working on this new and fabulous chore he had provided I realized that had be belonged to a boarder she would have been given notice. But I can't evict myself so my only recourse is sell Irish.

I have the ad all composed:
"Innocent looking chestnut gelding with a penchant for trouble. Peiodically sound unless his arthritis is acting up, or he has an abscess. Likes to hack. Except when he doesn't. Fussy eater but don't be late with his supper.

No reasonable offer refused"
*blink*would you really sell me?

sigh. No I won't.

But knock it off.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

In Which Steele becomes Squeaky Clean

You may recall that back in April I introduced Steele to the idea of Sheath Cleaning. With Irish I have only had to do this about once a year or so. He really is not that dirty. However, Steele is a different kettle of fish. He just seems to be, well, gunkier is the only word that springs to mind.

I had it in my plans to clean him the last week or so but the weather turned very cold and I put it off. Friday, however, was not bad and when I was grooming Steele I could see that he really did not look very presentable. So I warmed up some water and got to work.

You can imagine his surprise - he was in the cross ties minding his own business and enjoying a nice scratch when all of a sudden I got a bit 'personal'.

He tolerated it very well. A little dancing around but nothing too serious.

Irish stayed well away. Like in the farthest reach of the paddock, keeping an eye on me in case I had some ideas. "I'm fine here. Just focus on the young'un"

Only when I was done and put Steele into his stall, did Irish come down. 
Irish: 'hey I smell eucalyptus'
Steele "don't ask"
Irish "all fresh and fragrant are we?"
Steele "leave me alone!"
Irish "I'm just having a bit of fun. 
Steele "well it's not funny"
Irish "come on- walk around a bit"
Steele "why?"
Irish "I want to see if you squeak when you walk"
Steele "MOM!"
Me "okay, guys enough. Here, have your supper"

Today when I was riding Irish I happened to see Steele having  a pee. When he saw me looking, he stopped and gave me a 'look'. "don't even think about it!' 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In Which Steele Expands his Circle of Friends

Where I work we have to option of working extended hours and having a day off every two weeks (in addition to my weekends). Mine is on alternating Mondays. I like having Mondays off, it seems more relaxing than Fridays off. Fridays my mind is still full of the weekend chores I have to do.

This Monday my friend Cynthia came to visit with her daughter Ashley. Ashley also loves animals and is a dedicated rider. Unfortunately the weather was terrible - torrential rain and high winds. However, they were undaunted and we headed out to the barn. While we all talked horses Ashley groomed Irish. It's been a while since new people have given him a groom. However, Irish quite likes young people and totally enjoyed the attention. I liked seeing her correct him when he came into her space or fidgeted.

Meanwhile, Steele made faces and tried all his tricks to get attention. But a little patience and it was his turn. When I put him the cross ties I told Ashley to not be afraid to correct him as he can be a bit more pushy than Irish. He was a bit antsy at first but I explained that she was not pushing hard enough with the curry comb. Steele really likes a lot of pressure. After that he was as good as gold. Cynthia came over to play with his mane while I was doing work in his stall. When I looked out Steele's eyes were blissfully closed while Ashley and Cynthia were grooming him.

"finally the entourage I deserve"

After we had coffee, juice and cookies (I made some ginger cookies) and talked horses and photography. Ashley also like photography. I think I may kidnap the two of them some weekend when Ed is away....


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Update on the Driving Lessons

I haven't posted any updates for two reasons. First I have been insanely busy. Second they have been pretty low key.

After the lesson with Ed, the next day I tried it from the beginning without a spotter. He was cool, calm and collected through the whole thing. We've been pegging away at it. What was apparent right away was that we moved around the ring like drunken sailors.  So I've been setting up obstacles and working on steering. I'm trying simple dressage patterns around the ring and we've been slowly getting better. Some days are better than others.

One day we had a discussion about who decided where we went. Steele had some very definite ideas about where he was going and where he was NOT going. I figure that this was a discussion better had on the ground so I persisted doing my level best to stay calm but firm. In the back corner he stopped dead and refused to move. When I urged him forward he backed up. So I shortened up the lines and came up beside him. We made our way into the corner. So I counted that as a win.

Today he was very very good. Especially considering that he had the week off. Our driving circles were decidedly egg shaped. Which is a huge improvement over the squiggly cloud shaped thing we had been doing.  I think that he's finding this work interesting. One thing he is trying to do is to grab the lines in his mouth. I'm confident that we can work through this issue too.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Hungry Horse waits for no one

The end of Daylight Savings time is a real pain in the behind. I hate this moving around of the clock. For whatever reason this year has been really hard. It's probably because I get up at the same time every day I'm finding that I'm waking up an hour before the alarm is scheduled and I can't get back to sleep. It's driving me batty.

The horses are not adjusting well either. I tried to ease them into it by adjusting a bit before by 30 minutes and then shifting them on November 2nd. At supper time they are not impressed to be 'waiting' for an hour. On sunday Steele and Irish were in Irish's stall waiting for supper. While I was trying to get it ready I heard a ruckus. When I came out of the tack room, the door was off the track and both horses were looking at me with a decidedly guilty expression. I must confess that the air was a bit blue. I shooed them out of the barn and they took off. I tried to get it back on but needed more help. In the meantime they took turns coming in and out of the stall. I got annoyed and chased them out into the large paddock. I put the top tape across and then went into the house to get Ed's help.

As Ed sorted out the door I returned to my chores. The two brats  horses ran back and forth by the gate. I ignored them. All of a sudden I heard hoofbeats. I looked up in surprise to see Steele trotting through the small paddock towards me with a decidedly smug/pleased/trying-to-look-adorable face.

What the?
 It seems that he ducked under the tape. Irish is now really ticked off. But Steele marches into his stall and stands there with no intention of leaving until he got his supper!

I did the only thing I could- I sighed, closed him in his stall. I then went and opened the gate. Irish gave a defiant squeal and trotted into his stall. "We'll have no more of this late supper nonsense!"

yes dears. But it really is not my fault.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The day a foal came to visit

A human foal that is. We had some visitors to Oakfield Farm today. Our farmsitter, Joanne, came to visit with her daughter jackie and 2 year old grand daughter, Marissa. We have a painting on our wall of a horse and buggy and that caught wee Marissa's attention immediately. She fixed her bright eyed gaze on the horse and was entranced. I've seen that look before. I'm also pretty sure that my mother has seen that look.

After a coffee we took Marissa out to see the horses. Steele came up to say hi but was not all that interested. Irish however has a love of children that is wonderful to see. While Marissa clung to me and looked a little nervous he carefully and gently extended his muzzle and waited. She gave him a tentative pat and then pulled away. He blew gently and she patted him again. Within minutes she was down on the ground and chatting away with him. Steele popped in and out to see if there were carrots but when they didn't materialize he lost interest in the human foal.

Marissa grabbed a broom and tried to sweep the aisle. She then spied the hay. The went and grabbed a single stalk and offered it to Irish. He carefully reached down and took it from her. She laughed delightedly and went and got another one. Over and over Marissa would grab a single stalk and Irish would take it.

He was so gentle and never touched her hands. Here you can see that she's holding a stalk between her hands and he's contorting his lips to get the hay:

In the interest of fairness she offered a stalk to Steele. He sniffed it and turned up his nose.

Me, I think he was jealous.