Sunday, August 30, 2009

Watching the Sun Rise and Other Happenings

I had a really early morning one day last week (more on that in a later post). So early that it was still completely dark when I was first outside so I had the opportunity to watch the sun rise. I am not a super early rising type of person by choice, although sometimes I am already outside when the sun is just starting to come up. Usually I'm busy doing something and although I'm peripherally aware of the gorgeous colors breaking across the sky I'm not actually watching it happen aside from the occasional glance to appreciate the beauty for a second. I took the opportunity last week to actually sit on one of the benches in front of the barn and watch the sun rise. Everyone should do this from time to time, it is such a peaceful and joyful experience.

The last few days were busy with the usual stuff around here. Gwen the farrier was here on Friday so that is always a busy day. Jason spent what I'm sure seemed to him like a million hours replacing a part on one of the tractors on Saturday. He had to replace the exhaust pipe off the manifold thanks to hitting a tree branch. Apparently it was one of those things where he had to take apart half the tractor to be able to get to the part to take it out and replace it. Of course he then had to put the tractor back together after replacing the part. I have to say he was quite proud of himself after completing that project. When he made the comment that he was not only impressed that he had done it but the tractor "still ran perfectly" it kind of made me wonder if he should have done this himself!

Sunday morning I kept freaking myself out over stupid things. Ever since we had our rash of visitors in the barn whenever I see Cloudy or Olivia, our two barn cats, I always think they are a raccoon for a second. I went to open the door of my tack room this morning to feed the cats and say a gray thing out of the corner of my eye sitting on a chair and I freaked thinking it was another raccoon. I tentatively looked back in the tack room to double check and it was just Olivia.

Then when I was feeding I went to put Dustin's feedbag on his head and there was a big, fat tick right in the middle of his forelock. My first thought was "gross!" I hate ticks, especially fat ticks. So I pulled it off and smashed it with my foot, ugh. Then when I was scrubbing the pet cows' 300 gallon water trough I felt something on my arm. I looked down and it was a huge spider crawling on me. That really got me going as I screamed and tried to flick it off me. Of course I didn't see where it went so I was convinced it had simply been relocated to another part of my body and I kept slapping myself and twisting in circles trying to find the spider. I was oogied out about that for a good hour and kept checking myself for spiders. Who am I kidding, I am still convinced I have a spider on me somewhere as I sit at my desk almost 10 hours later. Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up and be past the spider incident.

Watching the sunrise from the barn
Same picture taken a few minutes later
Norman leading the way for breakfast with Sky and Bridget following behind. As I get to know the residents I think about if I would like to ride them, if I would have liked to own them in their prime and just generally fantasize about them. I would have loved Norman when I was a kid. He had the most adorable looks combined with a great jump and great movement with the all pony personality. Any kid would want Norman!
Tony and Dustin; Tony is a Dutch Warmblood and kind of an oddly put together horse. He is really long and lanky. That said he is naturally so balanced with a huge canter stride and a really nice trot. I would love to ride Tony. Dustin is a Westphalian and a son of the famous international show jumper Starman that was ridden by Anne Kursinksi in the Olympics. Dustin was a high level jumper himself before he was hurt. He has a really goofy and cute personality and has a very balanced and athletic canter. However his personality is somewhat ADD and I don't know if I would point him at a huge oxer. I'm sure he would jump it but I'm not sure if I would be the right rider for his personality. He is a love bug on the ground though and I could hang out with him all day.
Cuff Links. Anyone would want to have had Cuffie for a pony - enough said! How could you not want a pony as perfect as Cuffie??
Apparently Winston found some mud to roll in. Winston was a hunter and was owned for the last several years by a wonderful lady who bought him after having not ridden for a long time. She said Winston was really good to her and very patient with her as she re-learned to ride after a long time away from riding. I get the impression that Winston would be great for building confidence in a timid rider or as a first horse for a child coming off of a pony.
Elfin; Elfin was also a hunter and won a lot during his last year in the amateur owner hunters including being fifth overall in Zone 4 for the younger a/o hunters during his last year and reserve champion in the younger a/o hunters at the Zone 4 finals that year. Elfin is my kind of ride. He is smaller but he has the stride and he has his own motor. All things being equal I will take the smaller horse over the bigger horse which makes me an oddity in the h/j and dressage worlds. Most people in these disciplines feel that the bigger they are the better they are but I've always liked a more petite horse.
Winston, Faune, Asterik, Trillion and Sebastian. Asterik would hands down be a horse I would pick. He is beautifully bred, beautifully put together, a perfect 16 hands in height and was also very versatile. He showed in both the hunters and the jumpers and won in both at the biggest shows. I've been on Faune a couple of times and he is a lovely horse to ride on the flat. Soft mouth, beautifully trained and really fun on the flat. He won everywhere in the hunters and has an awesome jump as well. Faune is also huge at 17.3 hands and I really prefer to fall off of a smaller horse myself. Take about six inches of height off of him and he would be perfect for me. Trillion was also a national champion hunter (in fact he and Faune went head to head a few times) and has the most awesome rocking chair canter stride. You can just envision him hunting down to a 4' oxer on a hunter course when you see him canter. I would have loved to have had a chance to ride him. I am always saying that Sebastian would have been so much fun to own. He did everything - field hunter, show hunter, jumper, eventing - and did them all well. On top of that he has a teddy bear personality that makes you want to hug him all the time.
Slinky; I love all of the ponies here and Slinky is no exception. He isn't really a division pony as he doesn't have the true pony hunter toe pointing movement. He was a specialist in the pony equitation divisions and I can totally see that with his macho man personality. He would have loved the equitation type courses with the rollback turns. He would have also made a great dressage pony as he has a lot of suspension in his gaits.
MyLight, Buffy, Missy, Lily under the trees and Cuff Links by the fence. MyLight is a thoroughbred mare I know I would have loved to own. Great personality on the ground and nice mover. She was a dressage horse and I can't see her as anything but pleasant and fun to ride. Buffy is a thoroughbred mare and showed in the hunters. Buffy I am pretty sure would buck me off! I don't know why but that is just the impression I get of how Buffy would feel about me riding her. If Buffy were a bit younger I would love to breed her as she is truly a stunning mare when she strikes a pose and shows off her conformation. Amy and I were both admiring her last week. Missy would be unbeatable as a very first pony. Sweet, kind and gentle, she is the type that would be so careful with her little rider. Lily was a jumper and is a quarter horse/warmblood cross. My impression of Lily is that she would be very bold to the jumps and very careful. I like a bold horse in the jumper ring although I don't mind a more timid horse in the hunters. Lily also strikes me as one that could be on the hot side as well. I like horses with their own motor but not necessarily really hot horses simply because I don't ride them well. I've had my share of hot horses and learned to ride them but I don't naturally ride a hot horse well. Actually I don't naturally ride anything well but that is another topic!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friday Pictures

This is going to have to be another pictures only post, no ramblings or random thoughts from me again. (The crowd stands and roars in approval). It has been a really busy week this week and I'm behind on life so enjoy the pictures. Have a great weekend!
Leo and Chance
Harmony and Lily
Snappy; although Snappy is well into his 20's his gallop stride is still awe inspiring on the rare occasion that I get to see it. Mainly I get to see him eat! It is easy to see why he competed at the four star level in eventing under Mark Todd.
Mr. O'Reilly
Faune, Winston and Trillion
Lightening and Lucky (Teddy and Chili are hidden behind them)
Missy, Lily and Cuffie hanging out together
A peaceful scene
Faune and Sebastian

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wednesday Pictures

Three bays; O'Reilly, Snappy and Slinky
Harmony, MyLight and Lily grazing with Missy taking a nap
Picture of part of the farm taken from one of the hills
Amy shows us the best way to groom a tall horse like Faune is to get up on his level
Baby letting us know he was very displeased about being bathed; the look says it all
Grazing early in the morning
Mr. O'Reilly showing off his adorable ears
Dustin hurrying through the pasture
Elfin is often in a hurry to get somewhere
Ivan in the front with Apollo and Baby following
Our visiting geese hanging out in one of the pastures

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Marriage Building

This weekend was full of what I like to refer to as marriage building exercises. Marriage building exercises are big jobs around the farm, or simply time-consuming, pain in the rear type of jobs that are best done with two people. Generally they involve a lot of time, aggravation, frustration, unforeseen problems (and I must admit bad language as well). This weekend our projects consisted of replacing a sheared fence post that Jason hit while bush hogging (oops) and installing some tile drain to get rid of the lake in the alley between several of the pastures.

The lake in the alley has been getting worse and worse and worse. I was getting ready to install a diving board and maybe a nice deck with some sun chairs. It went all the way across the alley so it was unavoidable, and every time a tractor or piece of equipment was driven through it it kept getting deeper. Leading horses through it was fun!

Our friend Mark running the ditch witch

This project was actually very straight forward. The ditch was dug, the pipe put in, and the ditch refilled. Within a few hours we had our proof that it was working as most of the water had been drained out. We'll need to order a load of gravel to complete this project to both fill in the area and get rid of the mud. Hopefully we'll get that done this week and I will never have to deal with what Amy dubbed our wading pool again.

Placing the pipe in the ditch

The next project was more difficult. Jason hit a fence post during his last round of bush hogging. He was looking behind him at the bush hog to see how close it was to the fence line. I guess he should have looked sooner since he hit the fence! The post wasn't completely sheared so it didn't have to be replaced immediately, so we definitely chose to avoid this for a couple of weeks. The weather was absolutely glorious this weekend so we had run out of excuses for not getting this project done.

One completely sheared fence post. We had to finish the job of shearing the post ourselves in order to dig the bottom part out as the fence posts are set in concrete. We thought about trying to pull it out with the front loader of the tractor but it was cracked enough that we were pretty sure it would simply break the rest of the way instead of pulling out of the ground.

Of course digging the bottom of the post out of the ground was much harder than anticipated. I kept telling Jason that I thought it would go a lot easier if we went ahead and pulled all the boards off the post so that they wouldn't be in the way and make it easier to dig. We were going to have to pull them off anyway to reattach them to the new post. Jason kept disagreeing with me. Well, one wrong swing of the pick axe (to bust up the concrete around the remains of the bottom of the post) did some nice damage to the bottom board. At that point Jason decided I might have had a good idea about going ahead and removing the boards to make it easier to swing. What a wonderful marriage building moment, ha ha!

We had to dismantle two sections of the fence to pull the boards off the sheared post

Now we had a much bigger work space for busting out the concrete

We finally got the concrete and the remains of the old post out and the new post set. The boards that weren't damaged during post removal were nailed back on. Then we had to go get a 14' replacement board for the bottom. Since the horses, especially the mares, are pros at breaking fence boards we keep a supply on hand at all times. We retrieved a board from the other side of the barn and got it nailed on to finish the job.
One new post and two rebuilt fence sections

We were both glad to see the end of that project. I can't wait to finish up the wading pool removal project with some gravel. I've also had some interesting rides on Sky and Bonnie this past week but I'm too tired to type about them right now. I'm going to move on to some pictures and wrap this post up so I can tuck in the world's cutest fainting goats for the night and go to bed.
Early morning scene before the fog had completely cleared; Asterk, Ogie and Sebastian
Another early morning scene; Lucky, Snappy and Chili grazing with the flock of visiting geese behind them

O'Reilly has a morning graze with the geese

Sebastian, Trillion, Winston, Asterik and Faune grazing before breakfast

Sebastian and Asterik enjoying the afternoon sunshine

Chance and Leo were heading somewhere in a hurry

Apollo trotting through the pasture


Snappy, Teddy, O'Reilly and Slinky

Lightening and Chili grazing in the shade one afternoon

Tony grazing in the shade


Leo, Homer, Chance, Elfin and Ivan

Cuffie grazing in the shade

Another morning scene; my view as I walked through one of the pastures