If Only Weekends Were Longer

Sunday, July 13, 2014

This weekend Yogi was on the road!

Yogi is CC's favorite horse. Saturday Bill trailered them to a benefit ride at a small equestrian center 30 minutes away. CC has not ridden as much lately since she just had a baby (a very round, cute baby) so this was a re-launch of sorts for her. She and Yogi had a great ride.

As we were leaving, Yogi went right in the trailer. Nearby there was an Arab kicking up quite a fuss about being loaded into his trailer. Back at the BP, Yogi came back out of the trailer as quietly as  he went in.

There are few things as satisfying as an excellent day spent with a horse you love and who loves you back.

There goes Yogi back to where all of his buddies at the BP were waiting for him.

Then it was time to get out on the trail. But the bugs were frightful. They were biting me right through my shirt! And poor brumby! Even with bug spray they were relentless. It was getting late in the day so we bounded up the short trail, turned around and bounded back and returned to the barn where carrots were waiting.

The next day I reapplied an ample dose of bug spray and out we went. Lilly continued her obsession with the striped maple's tulip leaves. She will grab a mouthful every chance she gets.

But look! We also happened upon this nice arrangement of oyster mushrooms!

I really thought we were going to get rained on. I should check the weather more often. But a little rain never hurt anyone. In any event, it did not actually rain until I was already back home, and I was glad that my flowers and veggie garden got a nice big drink. Although in the pasture I imagined all of Lilly's big spray being rained right off of her. Her fly mask has already gone missing.

While out on the trail, I gave Lilly a tree lesson. This one, I told her, is cherry.

And this one is oak.

This pair I am not sure about. I had to leave my brumby in the dark.

You know how when people get older they worry more about dying? Well I recently had a birthday and this means that I am getting older. On today's ride I observed a million trees just waiting to come crashing down on me. This one is a mild example!

Oh well!

Sour Patch Kid

Sunday, July 6, 2014

There she is. The sour patch kid. Innocently nibbling hay in the morning sun. Don't be fooled by such a darling face. (and it is pretty darling, I must say)

Today I set out on the trail solo. No one was around so it was just my brumby and me. As usual, it was a battle of wills to the trail head. Miss Take-Ten-Steps-and-Then-Stop was at it again. Infuriating, especially since I know her feet don't hurt (she has shoes on) and the trail isn't scary (she knows this trail better than anyone). I decided to go for the Parallel Trail and then at the cottage in to woods, wrap around and come home via the River Trail.  This picture is from Quartz Corner. More refusals to go forward. Is my brumby becoming barn sour?

Is it that she hates getting her pretty feet so dirty? We've had so much rain that the trail in Quartz Corner was a real mess.

As much as Lilly was not too interested in moving forward, she remained very calm about it. She's a very stoic creature. I kept telling her that when you look like a Good n' Plenty candy out on the trail, it is very hard to take such stoicism so seriously. I ended up getting off of her and walking her down part of the trail.

We were momentarily distracted by a toad who was hopping by. Did you know that one of the differences between a frog and a toad is that toads hop and frogs leap?

I think Lilly didn't want to move forward because I'm make her walk over these slippery rocks. And maybe because all of her buddies are back in their pasture soaking up so sun.

As soon as we make the hairpin turn that turns the Parallel Trail into the River Trail, Lilly's pace picked up considerably. Getting her to step out moving away from the barn is like pulling teeth. Going home is always a much more enjoyable ride. I guess the girl knows her direction. An 1100 pound compass. Here we are passing the river, which I have discovered, speaking of directions, is named the South River.

Last summer (or maybe the summer before) when I was starting to learn tree identification, there was one tree that Bill said has leaves that are tulip shaped. I was always like, Huh? Tulips? So today Lilly kept stopping to nibble these very leaves pictured here and I said to myself: Look, those look like tulips! And then, I remembered Bill's tree lesson! Only I could not remember what kind of tree had tulip shaped leaves. Who knows this answer? At home, my naturalist husband told me. Answer at the end of this post!

Even with the initial sour patch quality of our ride, overall it was excellent. The River Trail is actually verrry steep and Lilly plowed up it very gently. Perfect! Back at the barn, she tried to befriend Molly the cat.

 Move over mice! It looks like three blind mares! I actually think fly masks are really neat. If only Lilly's was in pink.....

Farewell for now! But before I go, the answer to the tulip leaf quiz:

It's a striped maple!
(I will add that Brandon and I originally thought it was a poplar, but upon his return from Vermont, Bill corrected us! Good ole Bill! What would we do without him?)

I'm Lovin' it!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June is one of my favorite months! It is the best time of the year to get out on the trail. Some think fall is better but not me. Does June make me a little goofy? Maybe....

This Saturday I began my riding day with Lilly down in the round pen. I have been watching Julie Goodnight on RFD-TV teaching other riders circle work and wanted to try some of it out. Well. My brumby did everything I asked her to, but her face was so sour the whole time it was like she had just eaten a peck of lemons.  I filmed a long sequence of my working with her, only to delete it in horror.

Bill also worked with Willie in the round pen. Then he decided that Willie was ready for his first trail ride under saddle.

This was a very big deal. Because if something went wrong, it could potentially be a major setback in Willie's training process. The last thing he needed was a bad experience when his training has been going so well.

But Bill is a guy who likes challenge and adventure. So out we went. We figured with Lilly around, her mellow trail personality (unlike her demeanor in the ring) would be an excellent example for the new guy.

We were right. Lilly was perfect. But there were a few learning edges. First the neighbor's dog, Fox, ran out onto the trail like a little brown rocket barking up a maelstrom. Then, while cantering for the first time up the Short Trail, Willie thought a few airy little bucks were appropriate, probably because he is young and fresh and doesn't know any better. Bill expertly nipped this behavior in the bud. All was recorded on Bill's GoPro helmet cam:

Just click here to see it all! 

Sunday I was back out on the trail with Lilly. We headed for the River Trail because it was such a gorgeous day and I love seeing the water sparkling in the sunshine. The bugs were so obnoxious! To get to the river, the trail is pretty steep. Lilly was extremely reluctant to go down the path to the river. At first I thought she was just being stubborn. But then I theorized that her feet hurt. Those darn feet! They are very hard to please!

I hate to see my brumby in any kind of pain, even a small amount. I got off of her and walked for a while. It doesn't seem very kind to ride a horse whose feet hurt. (The next day while I was at work, Bill put shoes on her. Relief.)

Although taking pictures in the saddle is fun and easy, from the ground I can get some good stuff too. And now that I have this handy dandy funky little tripod thing, I can mount the camera just about anywhere. As I walked along with Lilly, I paused quite a few times to take some pictures using this new tool.

I never said the pictures were of high quality! Here's the real question: Do I care if I look like a dorky goofball all the time? Answer: Hardly ever.


Operation Cartography

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lately I have gotten it in my head to make a map of all the trails that we ride around on. I know there is no real need for it. But I feel like doing it. I think it will be a nice little creation. So now every time I am out on the trail, I am recording in what direction I am going and how crooked or straight the path is. I am constantly jotting little notes down on tiny pieces of paper.

Ah! Here is what my brumby thinks of my map making: BOOOOOOOOOORING! But I can also tell you that in this picture Lilly's bum is facing west and her face is facing east!

If you turn south off the road in the picture above onto the trail, and then take the first right, which (after a series of turns and twists) heads southeast-ish, and then turn west and go down a very steep slope that your horse might hate because there are loose rocks and lots of dried leaves that make her hooves slip and slide underneath her, then you will eventually arrive right here: on the bluff overlooking a dear little river (which I do not know the name of) that makes all of the trail treachery that came before totally worth it.

 At the end of the river trail, but still in the woods there is a little brown house. It is so cute. Mr Eldridge lives there. On this day Mr Eldridge was out with his weedwacker and this alarmed Lilly so I had to put my mapmaking tools away to help keep her from wigging out. After that I did not return to making notes. More time for that later. Here we are coming through the winter pasture and to the road. I was determined to do the river trail and Trollwood!

We made it to the Trollwood gate! YEAY!

 Nature calls! Here is my brumby waiting for me while I pee on the side of the trail. Hope there are none of Bill's trail cams in this neck of the woods! I would hate to have my bum recorded on film!

This is what will first greet you in Trollwood after you for a second pass through greener woods and then trudge through a stretch of mucky mud. This here used to be a pasture. It is where Bill and Lila and I saw a bear last year. On this ride I was yelling out for the bears to let them know we were coming through. WE COME IN PEACE! I yelled.  WE DON'T WANT YOUR BLUEBERRIES EITHER, I added. The blueberry patch is just to the right of the entrance of Trollwood.

Lilly and I were out in the woods a long time. I was also trimming some low hanging branches and twigs so I don't get them in the eye if we are cantering. This picture captured Lilly eating one of the trimmings. What a nice gentle eye she has. She was a stellar companion on this ride, patiently waiting for me and sidepassing like a pro when I asked.

Back at the barn, I spied this little guy.

It's a rarely seen grey tree frog!!!! We usually hear this creature more then we see him. Don't let that small size fool you, his trilling is QUITE LOUD.

 Down in the round pen, Bill is still busy working with the new guy. He is such a graceful mover. We've named him Willie. It's not the name he arrived with, but it's his Bear River Horse Farm name and I think it is darling and sweet. Just like him. It just also happens to rhyme with Lilly.

Bill has not cantered Willie under saddle yet, but I would not be surprised if that happened very soon. All the same, there is no hurry. Best to take the time to get it right. The better Willie is trained, the more confident we will feel about his prospects when it comes time to sell him. Excuse me, to find him a new and spectacularly loving forever home. Because that is what we want for him.

Driving home, I came across some more horse people. It's my neighbor and her friend on Rose and Jack. Happiness is having horses.

Paradise Found

Friday, June 20, 2014

After frolicking around in Maine, it was time to get back into the fabulous world of my brumby.

 So while snakes lounged near gardening tools and flower beds....

...and husbands chased dogs in the yard....

...and teens immersed themselves deeper and deeper into smartphones....

 ...I tacked up my brumby and got out on the trail. In this picture we are on the Ridge Trail. I had gotten off to do a little trail maintenance. Lately while riding along certain paths I have noticed that in tree boughs above my head there are other branches that have detached from other trees just hanging out, probably waiting to fall until I go riding by. So while Lilly waited, I got rid of some of the worst offenders. That's right: I find them offensive. They had to go. She is usually very good about patiently waiting for me. I position her so she is facing me as I work. This way, if a large branch falls, she can see it and feels less like running away in terror. Later on the Short trail I asked Lilly for a nice little canter and she galloped so wildly up the hill I was almost unseated! I took this as a sign that she was feeling really happy and sound.

I wonder what Lilly thinks of my belt buckle! It was a gift from Karen P!

Wednesday night after work, I headed over to Bill's to ride. One summer I rode in the ring at least one night during the week. Even if I didn't ride long, I made important strides that summer, so I'd like to do it again. As usual, as soon as I got to Bill's some clouds rolled in and it looked like rain.

Sometimes I get down in the ring and it looks like this: a blank canvas just waiting for lessons in horsemanship to get scrawled all over it. It is always better for me to have a plan of attack when arriving in the ring. It is so easy to get distracted down there.

For example, there are potential boogie men in the woods on the far side of the ring. That night we attempted to confront them.

Bill was also around doing some work with the new fella. In the time that we were in Maine, Bill was working with him constantly. In just 7 days of working with him, the newbie has learned to give to the bit and carry a saddle, will disengage his hindquarters when asked, can ground tie reasonably well and Bill has even ridden him! Here he is going through some of his routine. Standing in the stirrup is one part of it.

And flexing at the poll...Clinton Anderson says you cannot do this enough. He says even if you do it a million times it will not be too much.

On this particular night, Bill trotted him for the very first time ever under saddle. It was perfect.

Of course, this isn't the first time Bill has ever trained a horse to ride. But still, it is impressive what he has done already. If you;d like to see the progression on video, you are in luck. Bill;s go-pro has captured each day of it.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7

Well, those are the first 7 trainings at any rate!

 June, my long lost love, how I adore you!