dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, January 29, 2024

Shaking Up the Status Quo

 I have been really remiss in blogging this month.  Mostly because it's been a quiet month on the horse front. 

I did get to ride a bit when we had a January thaw. The ring was soft but not too bad. I had decided to ride Carmen first and then lunge Quaid. Well, Mr. Quaid took exception to being left behind. We mostly ignored it but then he backed up to the fence and let fly with both hind legs, getting them tangled in the middle tape. Fortunately, the fence did what it was designed to do: rip out the insulators and loosen so he could get his leg free. I was so pissed at him.  Fortunately, he escaped without a mark, although I hope that he got a real jolt from the electric. 

here he is grazing as though nothing happened.
Remind me of this when I want to get another baby

Carmen was very behaved through all of this. But when it was all quiet and I was thinking that we were done she gave a shy and a bolt at nothing I could see and so we weren't done. 

After this the weather turned freezing again so riding was done. Two days after this event I found Carmen with a fat leg int he morning. 


I have no idea what happened but I suspect that the frozen surface with mud underneath contributed to it. I contacted the vet but we figured out a plan without her having to come out. If her leg didn't go down in a few days then she'd come out: Bute, ice boot, wrapped at night and voltaren (which I didn't know about but worked great). Fortunately, the treatment plan worked and within 72 hours her leg was back to normal. 

Lest you think that the month is all doom and gloom, this guy turned 7 on January first. 

the best sidekick, oops I mean 
'head of security'

January really isn't a month to do much in terms of horses. But it is great for making plans.  February is going to be a busy month for both horses. 

Quaid goes on February 1 for four weeks of training at Mike and Nikki's. They are the ones that do the Obstacle Clinics. I am excited for him to do lots of learning. It is definitely time. This will be the first time I have ever sent a horse for training. I've usually either brought someone here or bumbled along with good intentions and luck. This time I want to start things off well. So while it's weird for me to send a horse away I also know it'll be be good for both of us. Quaid is growing like a weed. He's a solid 15'2 behind now and filling out. Although he continues to look mismatched in every single photo that is not how he looks in person (I swear). 

Me: Quaid pose for your fans
Quaid: Sure! *stands awkwardly*
And this was the best one! 

Which leaves Carmen. And I did a lot of fretting and planning to figure out how to manage her for the month. Then a friend of mine offered for her to go to her place. It will be perfect: she's just 10 minutes away and has an indoor. So Carmen can get some training in too. this will be good because lately she's been quite challenging in her ground manners. I can't figure out why and I've been dealing with them as they arise. My only thoughts are that without me riding and her dominance of Quaid she's getting a bit dominant with me. Which is never gonna fly. 

I think separating the two of them will be good for both of them, even though it will be incredibly weird for me to not have horses at home for the first time in 12 years.  I am hoping to get up to where Quaid is a few times to see how he's doing. Then in March everyone comes home and hopefully things will be thawed enough to seamlessly pick up the work. 

His first running braid. Not bad at all

Saturday, January 13, 2024

It's Funny Because It's True

 In september I joined the local photography club. I used to belong many years ago but it dropped away because of the busyness of life. I have missed the creative outlet so decided to rejoin. 

Quaid: is this why you alway point that 
rectangle at me? 

It feels good to knock the rust off. Last week I went to the first meeting of 2024. There was a speaker talking about how to make money with photos. I realised after a bit that I was likely the only one who had no interest in making money but I do enjoy learning.  It was a good session with lots of interaction. 

As I listened I became more amused. It was summed up when one participant said 'I don't want to make a living, it would be nice if I could make enough to cover my equipment'. 

Now I know that good camera gear is expensive.  Like I say, why have one expensive hobby when you can have two? But I couldn't help but relate this to horses. I don't think that any of my friends think about recouping their costs of having horses. 

So I decided to say something. I said that I was really enjoying the presentation even though I had no interest in making money from photography. 

But I said, I have another passion- horses. And as I listen to you talk about the money you spend on camera equipment, printers and stuff, I have to tell you that compared to horse owners y'all are amateurs. The only way to make a million dollars in horses is to start with two million.'

My point being, of course, that we should follow our passion because we love it, not expecting to make money. (Of course I know that some people make a living with horses, but not us AAs). 

This comment fell into the room like a stone. Uh oh I thought. And then scrambled to say that of course people can try to earn money and I wasn't telling people to not do that. All the while thinking "One day I will learn to keep my mouth shut. Maybe when I'm dead'. 

Then in the lull, one of the members said Oh, you have horses? Do you think we could come and do a field trip at your place? 

Of course I said. 

Horses, somehow their magic transcends all the expense and work. 

Sunday, January 7, 2024

2023 Performance Review

 Well it's that time of year again. Winter has landed and this leaves me with time to reflect on my goals from last year and to plan out this year.  Not that anything is ever guaran.....


Me: Yes Carmen. 

Carmen: Well it occurs to me that you are in a conflict of interest- doing the performance review on yourself. 


Carmen: I mean, it's much more useful coming from an outside source, don't you think? And as. your partner I think I'm in the best position to provide the feedback. So it's settled.  

Quaid:  What about me? Don't I get to have some input? 

Carmen:  not yet, you are too young. So settle down skippy. Now, let's see what we have here. 

#1: 'Figure out what it means to be retired'.

Carmen:   Well we all know how that worked out. I think you should return to work. 

Me: But, but, I think I did really well. I've read a lot of books and got lots of riding in. 

Carmen: Exactly. Far too much riding if you ask me. Clearly you need something to occupy your time. 

Me: Can I just point out that I also had a lot more time to serve you and both of us are in better shape then we've been in years?  Also, next year I'll have two horses to ride and that should take some pressure off of you.......so.....

Carmen:  Okay, you do have a point with that. Okay, let's trial it for one more year. You can be on retirement probation. 

#2: Continue to work on keeping Carmen with me rather than making her own decisions

Me: I am quite pleased with this one. I feel that we are communicating much better and I have become more clear in my aids and sticking to the plan. 

Carmen: I see your point but you do recognise that this is supposed to be a partnership and I should not be stifled. 

Me: Not stifled, just not blowing up because you're tired and a bird flew by. 

case in point

Carmen: you really do not appreciate it when I save. your life. 

Me: But we had far more good moments this year then bad. In fact you were magnificent. Look at our success at the shows. 

Carmen: Well that is true. I was pretty good wasn't I? 

#3. Show as much as possible

Me: Well we did two. Having some unexpected vet bills made me cut back on some plans. 

Carmen:  Which is more than enough really. 

Me: But we did so well at our shows and at 2nd Level. I was really happy with how we grew from one show to the next. 

Carmen: I was really happy that you began to trust me and loosen up a bit. 

#4: Support Quaid in becoming a grown up horse. 

Quaid: This is me! I get to talk about this! I did really well this year. After such a terrible start. I never want to do that again. 

Me: The beginning was hard on all of us, but it was a great year for both of us. You are pretty solid with: 

  • lunging
  • ground driving
  • playing with flags, tarps etc
  • self-loading
  • hanging out a shows (still need work on Carmen leaving)
  • being tacked up
  • standing while being mounted and dismounted
  • and being ridden. Even trotted for one whole circle. 

such a rock star and baby genius

#5: Work on my riding skills: independence of Seat and Hand

Me: We should probably let Jane weigh in here but I think that I have improved a lot. 

Carmen: I will agree that you are much less annoying than you were. Not that there's not still a lot to work on. But I do appreciate the consistency and that you try. 

Me:  Thanks! I know that being fitter has definitely helped. And having Jane's help was critical. 

Carmen: I do like Jane. I'm not always sure why because she makes me work really hard but she also appreciates me for the magnificent mare I am. And she makes you easier to carry around. 

#6 Have Fun with the Horses

Me: We had a lot of fun this year, didn't we? Obstacle clinics, riding clinics, shows. Playing with liberty, travelling together as a little family? 

Carmen: hmmm

Quaid:  I had a fun summer. Lots of people to meet and play with. It was great. Can we do more next year? I'm kinda bored now. 

Carmen: be careful what you wish for kid. She's got that look in her eye again.