Horsey Therapist

Monday, November 27, 2006

Latest horse delight

When I went out to feed some hay last night, standing there blinking in the brightness of spotlight turned on, were four dark horses facing me, side by side all in a row two yards from the doorway: Sofia, Bo, Kacee, and Rusty. Oh how I wish I had had my camera handy!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I did not ride Rusty

I love this horse. He is eager to go on adventures 99% of the time. Today was no different when I came out of the barn into the paddock with halter in hand. But no, not today, Rusty.

Why not today? Well, because he has some puffy areas on his back where the saddle would sit -- puffy and bare of hair. Consequences of some interherd dynamics since little Bo joined us. That pony is athletic!

Rusty must grow to about 17 hands when his life is up. Round and levitating and gorgeous. And somehow that little pipsqueek of a pony -- 13 hands or so -- can get his teeth on Rusty's withers at the gallop.

I am so very grateful that nothing more than hide damage has occurred here. Not counting fence damage, that is. But both are repairable, either by me or by Mother Nature. And day by day the horses get more comfortable sharing space. I watch their personal bubbles shrinking.

One day I will be amazed watching Rusty and Bo share a pile of hay. Today I was amazed watching them standing still about three yards apart. It wouldn't be quite accurate if I said "hanging out" because the vibe wasn't quite a hanging out vibe. It had some watchfulness, but no commitment to defensiveness or offensiveness, not even on the edge. Some readiness, yes, of course.

If there is no more teeth contact, I should be riding Rusty again in a few days. I am liberal with tea tree oil, Eclipse wound healing cream, and healing intentions.

Lively herd...




Quiet herd...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

End of a teaching day

Teaching therapeutic riding lessons today went well. The team of horses, volunteers, and site staff worked well and creativity infused our time with students. We are still getting used to teaching in the indoor arena, a new arrangement this season.

On the way home, a glorious sunset caught my attention time and time again. I stopped to take pictures and although none do justice to the real thing, here is what I captured on camera.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chilly ride

We rode today! Neither cold nor hunting season kept us away from a lively 'trail ride' on the near-by dirt roads. The youngster who has been riding with me for a few months joined RNB and I for this adventure and it was fun. We rode Prince, Rusty, and Soli, and all were forward and responsive and a bit on the edge of lots of life. There were some controlled trots, some intermittently controlled canters, and some full out galloping. The horses needed it as much as we did. They've been spending a lot of time on soft footing (muddy paddock and/or damp pasture) and I know it feels good to stretch out on some firmer footing!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Horses getting along



I love this picture of Bo and Sofia, gazing off in the distance. I've read that being able to see across distances is soothing to a horse. I'm guessing it relates to their self preservation and the need to see what is around them and decide whether to eat, nap, or run depending on what they perceive in their environment.

Progress with building

The arena has two sides covered. We will use trampoline type fabric to cover the remaining openings along the sides. That fabric allows air to circulate while keeping most precipitation outside.




The house has many of the rafters in place. The crew expects to place the rest of them today, including some odd angles with the second timberframe dormer.

Four pictures of one rafter's journey:









We joked about creating a saddle to add a measure of comfort for the men straddling the beams.

Status of building at end of day yesterday.




It poured rain overnight and fields here are flooded. The cows are stuck across the brook which now covers most of the lower two pastures. We'll soon see how the drainage is at the new place.

RNB envisions me trailering over to ride in the arena when it's done. I say, let's see what the roads are like at that point!

With the rain and deer hunting season and the excitement of the timberframe arrival, I have not ridden much in the past few weeks. I am taking the slow approach to expecting much from our new horse, allowing him lots of time to acclimate and settle in the herd. I've already found he has started to look to me and approach me out in the field similar to how the other horses do. He's watching them come to me for closeness, with or without scratches. He's wondering about all this.

Where am I this time?









It's hard to get good pictures in an indoor arena setting without a tripod. I have to turn off the flash option and hold steady. No success getting the photographic subjects to stand still!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Where am I?

Can you guess?





Rafters

Such an interesting pictorial depiction of a timberframe building coming to life... Here is a series illustrating one rafter coming into place.









We are tremendously grateful for the unusually cooperative November weather and the amazing skills and teamwork of the crew!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Activity in the herd

I love watching the horses when their life is up! (Do you know you can click on any picture and get a BIG version of it?)





Rusty watches Bobo's first meeting with Soli




Rusty and Kacee coming to intervene




Some cantering down hill while Sofia and Bobo watch




There was a pattern... Bobo would approach one or more horses. Rusty and/or Kacee would chase him away. All would graze or move someplace. Bobo would approach again. Rusty and/or Kacee would chase him away. All would graze or move again.

Here is Bobo looking on, wanting to be part of things but without much of a clue how to get along -- yet. He is learning some essential lessons about being part of a group from the horses themselves. Already he's looking and waiting at a distance, not charging up to anyone like he did at first. No sense in my doing much with him before he settles into his horseness.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

On the horizon


I wrote this yesterday morning before I brought Bobo home...

I'm about to head out to pick up a pony I just bought from a rescue organization. He's sweet until he's not sweet. Reportedly has not been successfully turned out with anyone other than his favorite mares du jour. 15 yo shetland/arab cross with supposedly lots of trail experience. But ZERO ground manners around other horses, and some missing ground manners around humans. I met him a couple of weeks ago when I helped trim at the rescue, and he seems simply to not stop and think that anyone might have a thought other than himself. But not too hard to redirect. However that was in a barn with no other horses around.

As I lay sleepless last night thinking ahead to today and tomorrow and the next few days/weeks/whatever, I remembered my experience with Rusty when he wanted to kill Belle, Harry Whitney's mare who had been in the round pen with my 5 year old mare -- Rusty's gal pal -- the infamous Glorious Sofia. Harry coached me to the other side of a potentially very dangerous situation. Dangerous to Belle, and likely to me and Harry just because we were in the vicinity. So I think I have something to draw on. Indeed that event in TN was a little rough around the edges on my part, but successful. I suspect I have a little more finesse to offer this pony. For one thing, he's smaller than Rusty and I won't be afraid. Ain't that a foolish thing to say! In any case I have a better understanding of timing, of blocking a thought without anger, and deeper connection to that 'faith' piece that Harry speaks of -- having faith that the horse can make the change. I saw it in small ways with the pony while handling him while he was being trimmed.

Bobo




This little fellow is home with me now. More to come as I explore who he is and what he thinks about things I ask of him. So far, he's quiet and safe to be around. I've been blending with him while he walks around, approaching him from any angle and he's fine, picking burrs out of his mane, asking for feet, and rubbing him. All at liberty. I want his mind and cooperative attitude with me established without tack first. So far, so good.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dreams are manifesting

Arena


House


Sunset view



I'm a bit antsy with having little time to sit and cogitate and put into words some of the inner and outer happenings of late. It will suffice that I share a few pictures. I realize I do not know what this new building will create for me in terms of my current level of horse involvement. Certainly these past WET weeks would have seen me riding and handling horses more than I have been! Though yesterday was warm and sunny and I was out on the trails with some friendly folks and perfect horses in a comfortable teaching environment. Here I go, trying to cover many bases in a few minutes...