Everything is Beautiful

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I saw this fly bonnet at last year's Equine Affaire and thought it would be perfect for hunting season, never minding that it appears to have been made for donkeys. One year later and I still have not made the needed alterations. So now it looks like Lilly is wearing sock puppets on her ears. Pretty cute, brumby.

I have been having a pretty awesome weekend. We started Saturday off by going to Elmer's cafe and general store in the center of town. I found this hilarious entry on the menu.

Since I was busy with the Equine Affaire last weekend and didn't ride, I was very excited to go over to Bill's right after stuffing myself at Elmer's (gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes and Eggs Benedict sans muffin) and spend time with Lilly. Upon getting her out of the pasture,  I thought her back legs looks a little puffy. However, I tacked her up anyway because I had a feeling she was just stocking up, and a little walk up the road would solve the problem.

Did I mention I bought a new girth at the Equine Affaire? Bill has one just like it and loves it. I liked the look of how comfy it looked. Here you see Bonnie Bell giving it a sniff of approval.

Fits like a glove.

That looks very comfy, brumby. Feeling satisfied with the new girth, my brumby and I headed out.

Even though this spot is only 20 feet away from Bill's driveway, it is the first place I get resistance from Lilly. This is where she starts to indicate that she is not so interested in  trail riding after all.Good thing I have packed some carrots to lure her away from her buddies...who she just wants to bite anyway.

 Lilly's initial reluctance to get moving is not the only part of getting started. Once we get walking along the road, we have to contend with the town of Conway's idea of acceptable road material! This rock looks like it could cause a miserable stone bruise. Ouch!

I always try to make sure the little prongs on the reins point outward. I never thought of this at all until CC mentioned it one time. Now I try to remember to check it.

Oh! Look at this trailside discovery!

Further up the road we happened upon this cute little nest that was invisible in the summer.

I wonder what little bird was in there all summer as we ambled by. I think birds are amazing.

Uh oh! Someone is coming! It turned out to be an old guy in a chevy pick up. As he passed by he asked me if I was OK. I guess when you see a horse with a saddle on but the rider on the ground, it is a fair question to ask. I told him I was just investigating a bird's nest.  He smiled kindly and drove on.

There's my crop on the ground again.  Looks like Lilly is attempting to trample it. Maybe she was hoping it would snap in two when she stepped on it.

This is what happens when I ride alone. I pause for strange photo shoots.

I am not exactly sure what Lilly thinks is going on. But she never complains.

I think I qualify for the brumby cheerleading squad. GO TEAM BRUMBY!!!!

This rock made a good makeshift tripod.

I got so involved in my crazy photos that I did not realize that it was getting late. The sun started to drop behind the mountain and it was starting to rain a little. As we started back, we ran into Bill who was on his way to the Winter Pasture to give the horses there some hay. He reminded me it was getting late.

I almost forgot to show a photo of Lilly's new boots from the Equine Affaire!!

 Sparkly pink boots in action!

Puffy leg update: All better. Just getting Lilly moving around solved the problem just like I thought it might. 

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I will conclude my post with some mushrooms called turkey tails.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The Return of the Equine Affaire!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I wait all year for the Equine Affaire! This year it was Nov 13-16 and so on Saturday, Brandon and Kestrel and I made our annual trek there. We always start with a portrait in the parking lot. It was REALLY cold!

There are several buildings to visit at the Equine Affaire. One is filled with vendors. This building is always our first stop (after getting a baked potato from the baked potato vendor, that is....one must be sufficiently fueled for the EA!). Right away I spied these pink boots. Aren't they totally great? Brandon hated the blunt, rounded toe.

 Kestrel and Brandon love the Aussie booth with all of its pistols, machetes and knives. They could care less about all the cool saddles. Kestrel says this booth is one of the reasons she comes to the EA at all. Ballerina one minute, knife investigator the next! It is a pretty cool booth, I agree.

Uh oh. Detached horse leg in the Better Living Building.

 How cool is that?

 This booth (which is set up by a vet/horse hospital in New Hampshire) had all kinds of interesting yet creepy things in jars. There were  two tiny horse fetuses in jars. You should have seen how small their hooves and ears were.

 At 3pm Chris Cox had a demonstration in the coliseum focusing on gaining confidence in the saddle. He had two participants--ladies who felt afraid to ride their own horses. All I can say is that Chris Cox is amazing. Not just for his horsemanship, but for his skill at pushing someone to flex the boundaries of their comfort zone while keeping them feeling safe and supported.

 Chris told this participant he'd like to see more weight on her mare. He also told her she needed a bigger saddle! Her bum was kinda large. He said it nicely. But he meant it. The second lady was really scared. She hadn't really cantered very much. She really wanted to grip the horn. Chris had both riders cantering around without any bridles on their horses. But of course, even though they were in the saddles, Chris Cox was really the one riding those horses, if you know what I mean. It was very inspiring.

 Brandon and Kestrel are very good sports at the Equine Affaire seeing how they don't ride and Brandon is always one step away from a horse allergy attack. They end up spending a lot of time just waiting for me as I flit from booth to booth and demo to demo. Thank goodness there is an excellent fudge maker there, and fresh squeezed lemonade to die for.

 And Karen and Paul are always there! Another delightful facet of the Equine Affaire. Do you see Karen smiling ear to ear? Because that is how you feel when you are there. Just plain happy.

In the next post you see my purchases in action on my brumby!!! Stay tuned!

Parting shot:

 World's Best Pet Dog and Husband in Neighbor's Cornfield. Run, Getty, Run!!

Romping Around the Hills

Monday, November 10, 2014

 There are horses like mine in the pasture who totally ignore you even as you are mangling their ears putting the halter on their heads. And then there are horses like Cody, seen here, who are so friendly and curious and interested that you had better be ready for big ole horse lips in your ear. Personally, I find this supercute.

After getting nibbled by Cody, I tacked my brumby up and headed out.

Oh my! What is that on the hillside? No wonder my brumby is nervous on this part of the road. That looks like a large rock....

...with gnashing teeth!!! Or is it a cranky pac-man roaming around the woods ready to crunch horse and rider into little pebbles? Oh dear.

This stump was another scary feature! Usually we'd be on the trail and not this road. But Bill said I was riding in "prime time" and it's bow season around here. So we kept to the road. Which is unpaved, hardly used and like a trail anyway. But for a horse, I guess danger is anywhere.

 On this particular ride, I left my comfort zone and decided to ride the perimeter of the Blueberry Pasture. No one is in it now and it seemed very appealing. Of course, I don't like riding in big open fields because I know Lilly loves to recklessly gallop through them...sometimes without really asking first.

But getting a view like this is extra nice. So it is worth mustering up the courage to get there.

 This long legged horse was also in the pasture. 

We were on our way out of the pasture when guess who was coming in???

Click here for a video answer!

Right across the road from this Blueberry Pasture is the Winter Pasture where a small herd of Bill's horses are. Naturally, we had to visit them.

That's Jodie (the fattest of the bunch), Yogie, Ruby and (not in the photo) QTee. Was there squealing during the visit? You bet.

Here's the kind of picture you get when your mare sends out a squeal right as you are taking the photo.

If you'd like to see video of the cute squeals, click right here!

There is no hunting on Sundays, so the next day I was back at the barn headed for the trail. But initially, the most exciting thing was that Lilly got to wear her fiery flames saddle pad for the very first time.

We started out on the New Trail and then decided to go to Carrot Bridge and back.

Uh oh. This hump of roots was rather alarming to my brumby.

 Signs of early man on Bill's property.

 One of the nice things about riding in the colder months is getting to actually see the layout of the land.

 Lilly was moving sooooo slowly that it felt like it was taking hours to get to Carrot Bridge. Click out this video to get a feel for how it was going: Just click here.

Is she ever slow! Sometimes I have to get out the crop and give her a little pop.  Over an hour later, we made it to Carrot Bridge: celebratory video seen here.

The truth is that we can't even walk across Carrot Bridge because a horse's hoof will probably go right through it. So we go into the creek. But because of this big dumb log, getting into the water is harder than it should be. This is all my own opinion of course.  In any case, I am always trying to saw this log out of existence.

And I fail at it because my saw is too small. So I kick at the log a few times. In the end, I get on my brumby and we go around it. Lost the battle but not the war as they say. I will be back! One day, that log will LOSE!

Here's a spot on the trail where we must go right or left. Right will take us to over to Bill's property quickly and then we can be on the New Trail and home in no time. Going left will also get us home, but via Sunset Trail and the road. Going left is what we usually do. Lilly wanted to go left so badly.  She is attached to her habits!

As we neared the very end of our journey, we came across Bill and Cody just coming up the hill. When Lilly first saw them, she clearly was not expecting it because she spun around and took off running in the other direction! So much for being afraid with all four feet on the ground. What a fright! As we were galloping away, I thought I was going to fall for sure. But get this:  I was able to do a one rein stop! (Which I probably could not have managed in an open field, one of the many reasons why I love being in the woods). In any event, Bill had his GoPro on and got some of it on film! 

If you want to see it, just click here! You can just see Lilly's white fur in the video.  

After all that, it was time to get Lilly brushed and fed and ready for bed.

Until next time, dear blogging friends!