Monday, April 27, 2009
Ever have one of them?
I should have known better but I saddled up with a bad attitude and it was all downhill from there.
As they say, if the horse is doing something wrong, look first to yourself.
I did. And I didn't like what I saw.
Shea and I headed out for a quick hour as we're both slowly getting into better shape.
But I wasn't satisfied with her stops, so we worked on them quite a bit. Over and over, I should say. I knew it was getting tedious and we were both getting frustrated. But instead of breaking it up and coming back to it with a fresh attitude, I kept on. And got more frustrated.
We didn't have fun. Please forgive me, Shea, 'cause it was My Bad!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I didn't think much of hay racks until a respected horsewoman visited my barn last year.
I have hay racks in my stalls.
She didn't like them. She argued that horses don't eat from trees (at least not usually), so why should be prop up the hay for them? It becomes a choke hazard and just isn't natural.
I thought about it and could see her point. Most of the time, I don't use them.
But during mud season, hay racks can keep hay out of the muck. Lots of horses won't eat hay once it gets wet, muddy, and/or trompled.
That means less wasted hay.
So that's an advantage to counter the choke risk...
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
When the Comments Overwhelm the Story
I wasn’t surprised when the comments started overwhelming the story of Honey, the rescued pony in Enfield.
At one point, I was tempted to take down the page and plug the flow of rhetoric. But, I was so lucky to have avid readers and writers. By the end of the day, many had expressed my very frustrations!
Here is how the story has played on NickerNews:
First, there was concern that Honey had been moved from the pot to the frying pan, trading a terrible situation for one which would prolong her misery due to the dubious horsemanship of the rescuer.
Second, many vouched for the Good Samaritan’s motives and efforts.
Then, many implored bickering parties to see the bottom line:
For now, one horse got help and seems to be improving.
Still others told readers that ANY rescue attempts were selfish and that in her condition, the only humane result was immediate euthanasia.
The article and subsequent fired-up messages have roiled some readers, but let’s remember the broad spectrum of acceptable horsecare here and let’s remember that we don’t all perceive what’s best in the same way.
And we may never know what the best result would/will be. Last I checked, horses didn’t speak English. It’s only our interpretation that we go on, right?
If you were Honey, would you cry, "Put me out of my misery!" OR "Feed me!"?
Many NickerNews readers have been glued to guest columnist Kim Stone’s notes of her Texas trip.
She’s been having the time of her life at Martin Black’s ranch in Sanger, Texas. And lots of readers seem to relish in her activities. I know I am!
If only I could pull up the stakes, drop everything, haul my horses crosscountry and devote weeks to learning more horsemanship. I’ll take that “vacation” over sitting on the beach any day!
And, from checking out the comments, that’s the sentiment of many.
Sure, we’re envious.
But I think we’re proud, too, because Kim is like a lot of us – forty-something, not exactly bankrolled by a corporate sponsor or deep pockets. Kim has worked hard to get in this position and she prepared like a law student studying for the bar exam.
And from what I’ve read, she’s making the absolute most of her time there. Her enthusiasm - for learning, for working with her horses, for experiencing all the Blacks have to offer – is infectious!
Monday, April 13, 2009
I love Shea. She is my 8 year old PMU girl and she's one of those horses who is All Try.
We've come along way since I brought her home a bit over a year ago.
We head out for trail rides and mix things up a lot. We work on quick starts and stops, sidepassing, turning, etc. All with minimal cues (or, I should say, minimal for us. I know that means downright blatant cues for some of you advanced horse folks!)
BUT, she can get goofy. Take sidepasses: I will put pressure on her left side and she will move beautifully away from the pressure. Heck, she can sidepass down the whole driveway!
But then, I'll ask her to go the other way and put pressure on her right side. Does not readily compute.
The dear girl will stick with going left. You must mean left. I'm so good at going left. And left we go. After several paces, she straightens herself out, but it's pretty amusing, nonetheless.
And she's very good at predicting where I will ask for something in particular. Oh, this is the section where we gallop.
Or, you usually ask me to stand at this point.
Or, it's the last mile and we always walk with wicked loose reins.
So, in turn, I have to be creative and keep her guessing!
We have a good time.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
I took my rescue quarterhorse mare out for one of those spring rides today. She's a good girl, for the most part. But she's pretty darn green, having spent the first nine years of her life in a stall with three other horses and then several years at a rescue agency.
ANYWAY, we're heading out... she is more and more convinced that life as she knows it will end if she goes farther away from the barn. Her conviction only gets ramped up when the girls at home whinny for us.
So we're bouncing along. She's bucking and throwing her head up and I'm hanging on.
At one point, she goes up and I go down. I hyperextend my thumb as it makes contact with her neck. Ouch. Cannot use it. Cannot grip the reins.
This makes for an interesting time. Of course, I don't want to bail. This would mean heading home and letting her win the battle. So we continue our "conversation" with me wincing all the way down the dirt road, away from our barn.
When I got to a comfortable point of success, we turned around.
Then, of course, she got all jiggy with the expectation of seeing her girlfriends again. Prancing sideways. Spinning. But we made it back with some level of discipline and teamwork.
Now if I can just find someone to hold a rake and muck my stalls!