Saturday, February 21, 2015

Spring and Earthshakes

That word is probably foreign to many of you right now experiencing crazy winter weather. I really am looking forward to spring....but I know that I should not be, because winter has skipped us this year. While that sounds cool and all, it has meant milder temps, more mud.....and that in of itself has been a pain.

But the real trouble lies in so many areas you don't normally think of. It trickles down....I know people who have lost their employment because the lack of snow has affected tourism. The lack of snow pack is going to greatly affect our hay season (prices will sky rocket, and they are already to the moon) and our fire season? I can't imagine. Two years ago we had a terrifying forest fire situation within view from our front porch and it is not a scene I want to see again!

 Oh and the other night we had an earthquake shake us awake! That was slightly unsettling.

I am thoroughly enjoying My Boy right now. I am just bursting with excitement to reconnect with this horse and I think he is actually enjoying coming out of "retirement." I never thought I'd say that for this boy! I have so many thoughts and new experiences in my head (such as riding bitless) and I will try to share them with you over time. I am changing my perspective on riding. Mostly because what I want to do with my riding at this time in my life is completely different from where it might have been 7 years ago when My Boy came into my life, before I had a child, got married, etc. It's a pretty big deal, to know what and where you are going with your horse/s. It's an honest question we should all check in with ourselves from time to time. Our time is precious, our commitment to families and jobs and other interests.....I just think the end goal of owning a horse should be for the joy of interacting with that horse in some way that is beneficial to both, whatever that might be. I guess I didn't realize how easy that was- it doesn't always have to be a production. Even just a brisk morning hand walk up a long winding dirt road in the trees (the above photo) can be such a spirit-lifter for both myself, and my horse! (Hence the John Muir quote.)

My mom got back into horses after a hiatus, and now is selling the black Missouri Fox Trotter mare that she bought. It turns out Foxy is a lovely trail horse, but isn't overly fond of being ridden in an arena, and something my mom is just not confident working through with her. Unfortunately she has to board the horse and part of the year would like a horse that doesn't mind being worked in an arena.

I hope you all had a great Valentine's day with the loved ones in your life. I'll be back soon!

Ranch Girl

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pony Goodbyes

SO, a lot of changes happening. First, I have decided to sell my mare Luna. It was a heartbreaking decision and after many tears shed and many uncertainties and changes of heart, I am sticking to the decision.

I got Luna as a 2 year old, before I had a baby. My world is forever changed and trying to balance it all and put in the commitment to ride and work a green horse is not working. My Boy was getting seriously neglected (okay, not literally, but, he hadn't really been ridden much in the past few years) because any free time and funds I had went into Luna's training and riding. She was to be my future trail horse.

{This horse makes your heart go pitter patter!}

But I don't really need another trail horse. I have a great Appy under my nose, who at 21 years young still has many good years left if I can keep his arthritis in check. He's been there, done that. He is not bombproof and he is quirky, as most of you know from my blog. But I know him, I trust him, and there are still unknowns with putting miles on Luna, that I just can't take right now. Things change in our lives and I think being honest with ourselves when something isn't working out is the best for all involved. Yes, I could just feed her and let her sit for years until my children are grown. But is that fair to her? Not this horse. She craves people and attention and if I can find her a happy home, then my heart will be happy for her. Will I regret it? Maybe. But we can't live on "what ifs" and regrets. Things happen for a reason. Maybe she won't sell and she WILL end up with me.

I have only started "advertising" through word of mouth. I'm going to be selective with who I want her to go to. Someone with lots of confidence and experience working with green horses, and hopefully mustangs, but not necessarily so, as I think she'd make a great ambassador for the breed! She needs someone who will ride her often, all seasons, and sometimes just brush and love on her, because she loves that!

 In other news, Luna was out on trial with a family but she was too green for the intended rider, so she came back to an empty pasture because while she was gone, I moved My Boy to a local stable for a month so that I could use the indoor arena and give him a tune up (we've had a really, really wet winter and the arena is too slippery here.) I have enjoyed the time getting to know him again. He is such a good boy, but still a horse and does goofy things. I am using him to build my confidence again. I had some great trail rides on Luna last summer, she was really dong well, but still a bit jumpy at times- just needs more miles experience. But it did rattle my overall confidence a bit. I have some new ideas and thoughts about my riding with My Boy that I am excited to start with this spring. I feel like I, yes ME, am creating some of his "issues", and want to try to help him become a healthier, happier, sounder horse. Its going to take some teamwork. I will let you know how it goes!

The SD came to the barn with me one day and got to sit in an English saddle for the first time!

The SD watching a training session. She said that horse looked like one of the horses we saw in "Cavalia!" Good call, this big Percheron/QH mare does have that look!

 My Boy being a barn boy and wearing a blanket! Big change from his life of leisure!

{Photo taken the weekend before LB passed away. We got the horses out for the kids to groom and then we led them around bareback in halters. LB is the little black Mustang mare on the left. Heart of gold.}

In other, very very sad news, we actually said goodbye a great little mare a few weeks ago. A few years ago a local lady gave us a 24 year old Mustang mare that she raised from a foal. We gave LB to my 8 year old stepdaughter. She really was the kind of horse you could put anyone on! My SD rode her everywhere. Her only vice was that she put her head down to snag bites of grass on rides and was pretty relentless about it, ripping the reins right out of your hands if you didn't catch her in time. But if you could keep her from doing it (or late in summer when all the grass was good and dead!) she was awesome.

 Unfortunately, LB started to get lethargic and go off her feed a bit. Weeks later and several blood tests later (one of which showed she was anemic) we found her down in the pasture breathing heavy and sweating. We got her up and out of the pasture. A call to the vet revealed they had just gotten her latest blood work results from UC Davis. She was showing high pigeon fever. Probably an internal abscess. The vet came out and took her temp- 105. Her heart rate was the highest he'd seen in a horse. After he examined her she layed down next to him and her breathing became extremely labored. It was so, so hard, but there was nothing we could do to save her. She had many good years left in her, it kills me that something can come and take a horse like that. Apparently, it is fairly rare for pigeon fever to stay internal. We have no idea how sick she really was, by the time she started showing symptoms she was probably beyond saving. Even starting her on antibiotics was questionable, because they can interfere with the abscess working it's way out (there is a big technical term for that which I am forgetting right now.) The hardest part was for me to make the call to lady who gave her to us, who had grown up raising, training, riding, and showing this sweet mare.

So, it's been a crazy, tough, but also good, month.

In other news, I am occasionally substitute teaching and still looking for a part time job, which seems impossible in a small town!

I hope your new year's are off to a great start!

Ranch Girl