dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, February 28, 2024


 It is human nature to assume that we can impose order and structure on our lives. We make plans, we examine failures and think that we can prevent chaos. 

But chaos is inevitable. No matter how hard we try our lives will, at times feel like they are spinning out of control. 

Honestly, if that does not describe life with horses I don't know what does. February has been a month of things creating disorder.  Between the truck debacle, snow storms and unexpected truck shopping has made us feel like we're in a constant game of catch up.  

The snow storm demolished boards in my riding ring

Quaid has been doing great with his training. Except that he's not eating as much as we'd like. Nikki has tried everything so last week I decided to put him on ulcer meds to see if the stress of everything has resulted in his gut being upset. 

Look at this superstar

Tomorrow I go to see him. He's coming home on Friday. With the truck uncertainty and for my own peace of mind I decided to hire someone to pick him up and bring him home. Once I get him home I'll take my trailer and go get Carmen.  And because Ed and I have been working hard on truck shopping, with my new (to us) truck.  

You know who's not in a state of disorder? This girl. 
it was a stormy day so we played
the 'find the ball and get to rest'  game

She's been having a grand time at her spot. It's been really nice to go and spend quality time with her. Julia watched us the other day and commented on how quiet and relaxed she's been. 

Carmen: I don't believe in disorder
 unless I am the source. 

I think that the lesson I'm taking is that we can't expect to be able to completely control everything around us. Instead we have to recognise that no matter how prepared we are things will fall apart at times. The trick is to take a deep breath and figure out what to do next. 

I am looking forward to things getting back to 'normal' for a least a little while. Because in other news, one of these little potatoes is going to be the new deputy of security on the farm: 
German Shepherd puppies from the breeder who owns
Guinness' father. 

Monday, February 19, 2024

Chugging Along

 Here we are in Mid-February and there's a lot more action on the horse front. There's also a lot more snow. 

My driveway in under there somewhere

But you can feel the warmth in the sun and the days are growing longer. 

It might be cold but there's always baking

Carmen continues to amaze me with how well she has settled into her current life. She's definitely happy.

Sharing Marshall's hay even though hers is a few feet away

We've settled into a routine: I clean her stall and then tack her up to ride. She's been really good. Except for one day when the snow slid off the roof. That really scared her and she took off on me. But I got her back in a a few minutes and we had a good ride. She loves the mirrors. I see her watching herself as we go by and it's adorable. 

Mirror Mirror on the wall

I'm curious to see what she'll be like when we return home. But now I know that there's a mellow Carmen in there....

I've been getting regular updates on Quaid. He's doing really well. Nikki told me that he's the most prepared horse she's had in for training. Which makes me feel proud. 

Quaid's new BFF

Mr. Smarty Pants

I swear he looked like he grew when I saw him today.  The wind was howling and he was quite worried about the noise in the arena. But after some work on the ground he settled. It was neat to see that as soon as the tack when on he was all business. Tacking up Carmen can cause her to feel more stress but Quaid really seemed to settle with it on. Like he knew what was expected and was happy to work. When he was being ridden it was like he didn't hear the wind at all. 

His canter is getting a lot more balanced. 

I am so glad that I sent him there. I love how they work with him and how he's always challenged but not overwhelmed. It will be fun to bring him home and see where we can go from here. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

How It's Going

 First of all thank you everyone for your comments. I agree that I have great horses and, even more important, an amazing support system.  I thought I was pretty good post trailering disaster, but ended up having a delayed reaction a couple days later. Nothing serious but it kinda knocked me back a bit. It didn't help that we were hit with a massive 3 day snow storm and Ed was away. 

It was a lot of snow. I cleared one side of my driveway (it has two entrances to the road) so I could get out. It took me hours and then it all blew back in. Fortunately, we hired a guy to plow for us while Ed is away but he had to do his regular customers first.  And we were lucky! Parts of our province got 150cms of snow. People were trapped in their houses. 
SM sent me this photo of Quaid watching
a horse show on his 2nd day there. I think it
was a roping competition (cows were 
involved anyway). 

Interestingly, Quaid also had a reaction. The next morning he had hives that lasted about a day and then disappeared. Nikki had reached out and told me about them and asked what I wanted to do. I didn't want to give him Dex so said to wait and I could run down some antihistamine if he needed it. After that conversation I wondered if it was a reaction to the smoke in his trailer and/or stress. Do horses get stress hives? Is that a thing? Frankly, I'm afraid to google it. 

Quaid also struggled with eating when he arrived. I don't know if it was stress or that there was just so much going on that he couldn't focus. Nikki called me again and we discussed some things to try. What I think helped the most was putting him near the other horses. He was in a stall that he couldn't see others at first. 

Which all makes it sound like he's struggling, when he really is not. They have been working with him and keep sharing how well he's doing and how relaxed over everything. Nikki even messaged me 'If they only all came as well prepared as Quaid". 

Here's a video of her working around him with the rope: 

You can see that he is completely unbothered by the experience. To me it looks like he's saying 'forget the pole, see if you can get me next!'  

I'm so happy with my decision to send him there. They are very communicative and are looking after him well. 

I wasn't expecting Quaid to have so much trouble settling in, but I did expect Carmen to struggle. 

Turns out I was wrong on both counts. She has taken to her current situation with total aplomb. Tanya told me that 'she rolled in like owned the place'. 

She even appears to have a boyfriend. Her neighbour is this lovable Fjord named Marshall. He's very laid back and those two have really hit it off. He even lets her share his hay net. 

I mean how can you stand the cuteness? 
It's a dinner date! 

Carmen has a large stall that opens into a nice little paddock. She has her own hay but doesn't mind sharing Marshall's. I'm already semi-planning to sneak him on the trailer with her when we leave (shhh don't tell Stephanie). 

I am enjoying having access to the indoor. It's quite nice. The first couple days I lunged and free-lunged her to get a feel for what she thought of it. The far end has a lot of 'stuff' and she was definitely wary. I immediately made that end the 'rest end' and now she loves going down there. 

She's fascinated with these little hobby horses

It's neat to have mirrors as well. I am trying to get used to watching myself. I've ridden her about 3 times, each time going a little longer and asking for a little more. Nothing to get too excited about, just getting back into shape. 

Carmen is intrigued by the mirrors but not worried. She's seen mirrors before of course. 

But after our first ride I halted and dismounted with us facing them. I took off her bridle- which is the usual routine. I normally take it off and she follows me to put her halter on. But this time she just stood there starting at herself. I waited and waited and finally had to go get her. She can be so adorable at time. 

Carmen: I'm looking pretty good

So Carmen is settling in like a seasoned horse. Which she is, of course. I know that intellectually, but I still always feel like I have to manage her carefully. Maybe someday I'll get over that. 

I expected it to be weird to not have horses home. And it really is. I miss them like crazy. But February will fly by and then they will be home. 

And then the fun can really begin. 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Further Adventures of Teresa, Quaid and Julia

 So when I last wrote a post, I shared that Quaid was heading off to training and Carmen to a place with an indoor for the month.  You may recall,  from previous posts, I am not a fan of trailering in the winter. It makes me nervous.  Which makes me work on all sorts of plans and contingency plans (this will make sense later). 

Mike and Nikki are about 3 hours away which leaves a lot of room for different weather. Fortunately, the forecast was pretty good for Feb 1.  My original plan was to take Quaid today and Carmen tomorrow morning.  But then the forecast changed and the weather was going to be iffy tomorrow. Maybe. Probably. It could be rain or snow or a mix or nothing. Could be 2 cm or 5 or 10. 


So I decided to make it a long day and take Carmen after I got home from dropping off Quaid. It would be a long day but everyone would be settled. 

My plan was to leave a 9, missing the rush hour traffic through the city but early enough to have time to drop him off and get back with lots of time to get Carmen loaded (a 10 minute drive). Julia took the day off to be my wing person. Before we left I posted this cute little image with the caption "Quaid is off to school. Wish us luck". 

Oh for those earlier times when I was young and full of hope. 

The first 90 minutes were uneventful. A few slow downs from construction but we made really good time. I even commented 'this trip is going really well'. 

Then I looked in my mirrors and saw a bunch of smoke billowing behind me. 

what? I thought. At first thinking it was spray. then yet more smoke billowed out. 

Where is that smoke coming from?! I said. 

What smoke? Julia said. I don't see any. 

Look in the mirror  said grimly as I started to slow and pull over. 

When I got I could hear Quaid whinnying. Smoke was billowing out from the back of the truck. I thought I had blown a tire but couldn't see anything. Then Julia looked under the back and said 'the truck is on fire'. 

Call 911! I said. Then frantically thought about what I should do. If it was just the truck I would have backed away but my beloved horse was attached to the truck. Unloading him on the side of a busy highway didn't seem like a good plan either. Honestly, the cars were speeding by this smoking truck without even slowing or moving over. 

So I did what any sensible person would do. I grabbed my water bottle from the cab, went under the truck and doused the fire. The flames flared and then, miraculously, went out.  

I went in the trailer. It was full of smoke and Quaid was giving me the hairy eyeball. But was staying calm. 

Then the fire truck rolled up. The firefighters got out and looked. We heard there was a fire but there isn't one. 

Not now I said. I put it out. 

Then we all looked at the truck.  "oh I see, the back end went out of 'er'.  The box at the back blew out leaking oil all over the back of the truck. Which then caught fire. 

Then it was time to figure out what to do next. I felt at a loss. One of the firefighters was a horse owner and offered to get someone to get us to Truro so I could make arrangements. He told me that it wasn't safe on the side of the road. Which is wasn't. 

I put out a call on FB: 'Help, my truck is on fire on the side of the road. Horse is onboard'. 

Within minutes my phone blew up with messages and offers to help. I was overwhelmed. First with 'holy fuck my truck caught fire!' and 'holy fuck, people are amazing'. 

My phone rang and it was my friend Nicole (where Jane boards). 

Hi Teresa it's Nicole

Hi Nicole how are you? 

Better than you are right now I hear. 


Jane told me to bring her truck to you to haul your trailer. 

Oh thank god. 

Where are you?

*gives really garbled directions*

*silence* I'm sure we'll see you. 

So now that there was a plan I could reach out and let people know. Someone had called and offered to come and get me but they were in Bridgewater. I called him back and said I didn't need him. But I asked him if he could go and get Carmen for me. So we arranged for that. It was one less thing to worry about. 

In the meantime the firefighters did not want to leave us unprotected on the side of the road. They were blocking the lane next to us. But they couldn't really stay. So they arranged for the police to come and block the lane for us until we could leave. 

I had Julia call Ed for me (she had earlier to let him know what happened) to tell him that we were getting a truck and carrying on to Amherst. The truck would be on the side of the road for him to get towed. 

Julia called her sister to get her to go to the barn and wait for the guy to pick up Carmen. He was late but then Tanya was able to go. 

Nicole and Greg arrived with the trucks. Greg looked at the truck, I told them that it had caught fire. 

What did you do? Asked Greg

I went under the truck and emptied a water bottle on the fire I said. 

He looked at me with the 'horse people are crazy' look. 

My horse was on the trailer. I had no choice! I will not have my horse die in a fire. 

Julie went in the trailer to keep Quaid calm,, Greg unhooked the truck, I pulled it forward and he hooked up Jane's truck. Nicole helped me to transfer the feed.  Five minutes later we were on the road.  

I had informed Nikki, who also gave me some numbers to call. I told her we had it sorted. She texted me that I didn't need to come and we could work it out. But I was half-way and I honestly couldn't imagine going home and starting over. 

While we were on the road Stephanie and Tanya texted that the guy had a flat tire so was going to be late. About an hour later she texted that she was on the road. 

photo proof from Tanya

In the meantime my phone was blowing up with so many offers of help and advice. It was amazing. Like all of you- THANK YOU! There's a lot of negative about FB but it can really be a force for good. 

We finally pulled into Mike and Nikki's place. Quaid unloaded and walked to his stall and grabbed some hay. My lesson from this: buy the horse that can stand on a trailer attached to a flaming, smoking truck, while traffic whizzed by, with firetrucks and police cars. Then stands quietly while the truck is unhitched and new truck hitched up. Travel another 90 minutes and land in a strange place and then say 'cool, where am I now? the hay is good'. 

After talking about some things we headed home. Ed let us know that the truck was towed and he would have dinner waiting for when we get home. I love him so much. 

While we were driving I got this photo from Tanya: 
Carmen: I've been kidnapped. 

God I love the women in my life. They are warm and open and generous. With their time, help and trucks. 

What a freaking chain of events. I am home now and exhausted. Julia and I both agree that no more horse plans in February.  

How was your day?