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Look who got a new horse!  Introducing Guinness (we tried to change his name and it just didn’t stick so Guinness he remains). He’s a 13 year old 17.2hh Irish sport gelding that has extensive dressage training and zero trail experience…. yeah fun times. 
I’ve had him two weeks now and things are going well.  He still prefers to work inside the round pen but our first trail ride went well enough considering there was someone shooting in the woods while we were riding.  He’s a bit confounded by uneven ground and he gets a little antsy about trotting without a rail… but considering that he’s been off work for 6 or more months I think he’s doing fine.

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He’s quite the drama king too.  He informed me early on that he only will tolerate soft brushes because he’s “sensitive” and he gets grouchy when I use any of the coarse brushes… he’s getting better about that but its quite funny to watch him pout.

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He loves treats of course and I’ve very nearly taught him how to bow using treats as motivation.

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He’s a big boy… everybody on the farm loves him but is afraid to ride him except me.  His dressage training makes him a somewhat complicated but I enjoy having a running conversation with my ride so I enjoy him… evidently that makes me weird. 

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This week has been insane.  Normally things are pretty sedate around here… the biggest issue of the day is figuring out what to make for supper… seriously… it’s pretty low-key.  This week has been a bit of a departure.

First- there was rain which made mud which caused Woodrow to slip and “go off” in his front legs… I believe that he slid in the mud but honestly I didn’t see it happen so I can’t say for certain… but there was mud on him and skids in the paddock so it seems a safe assumption.  So while wrapping his legs I discovered that he’s continuing to clip himself so I slapped on a set of petal boots to help with that… the ones I bought for Lady… the ones that are PINK.  Woodrow was not amused… his stallion sensibilities were totally insulted!  Happily he is all well today.

Then- L has had a recurrent stray dog.  She has contacted the people that own it multiple times and this time when she called the number was disconnected and even with driving to where they said they lived she could find no one to take the dog back.  She does not have room at her house for another large dog so guess who has a new dog?  Yep… we’re suckers.  We named him Sully and it’s believed that he’s a Lab/Husky mix… he’s a wonderfully sweet dog and spends the bulk of his day sleeping at my feet.  The only draw back is that he cannot be turned out with the other dogs because he is a bit of a wanderer and also because his Lab-ness makes him want to pick up the roosters and geese… in his mouth.  He hasn’t tried to actually kill any of the poultry but we really feel that picking up the roosters and carrying them around is maybe not a great idea so he’s on leash at all times outside.

Then- We are having a bumper crop of pecans this year so M and the boys have been spending the afternoons picking up the multitudes of nuts all over the yard.  While searching near the bottom of the pecan tree Xander came across a small furry critter with giant eyes cowering into the shelter of a rock.  It was a roughly 7 week old Flying Squirrel that had either been booted out of its nest, fallen or somehow escaped being eaten (we have red tail hawks that nest in that same tree).  He was about to make a really quick snack for one of the farm cats so we made the decision to bring him in.  He has done exceedingly well and so we’ve named him Remi.  M has raised several orphaned squirrels over the years, we have a pic of her and her first squirrel Monk taken when she was about 11 years old I think.  I have also raised a few, most notably Iora.  Remi is our second flying squirrel and I must say I love the little guy’s personality.  Not quite as skitzy as regular grey squirrels and he definitely has a bit of a sense of humor as he really likes to play peep-eye after he’s eaten and thinks that pockets are the best thing ever created!

All 3 of the above things happened on the same day.

A couple days later I got a call from L saying that her mare had a rotational fall over her pasture fence and was unable to walk, had a wound to the knee and was really really not well.  So I hitched up a trailer and went off to help.  7 hours of effort, 2 horse trailers, 1 broken whip, and a gashed eye brow later… we got the mare on the trailer and to L’s uncle.  The mare really did a number on herself and there was some fear that she had punctured her knee tho it was finally decided that it was only a cut.  It was a bit emotional as this is L’s only horse and she and the mare have been through quite a lot over the past year.  L almost lost the mare in a freak pasture accident where the mare impaled herself on an 18″ piece of wood (it went through her chest and came out her neck) and then while helping the mare rehab, L had a freak accident catching her toe in the arena sand while pivoting which shattered her ankle.  So it’s been a rough year.

I don’t usually do any of the hauling because I always have J on hand but J’s work isn’t likely to find a friend’s horse being hurt as a good excuse to be late so I was on my own.  I ended up having to pull L’s barn’s gooseneck trailer instead of the little 2 horse.  I’ve never pulled a gooseneck before so that was… fun… not really.  It was such a comedy of errors.  First the mare wouldn’t go on the trailer, reared up and came down gashing open her eyebrow. Then I had to drop our trailer and pick up the gooseneck… only I’ve never actually hitched up a gooseneck… so… yeah.  I was pretty pleased that I got it in 4 attempts.  Then once we were finally on the road I discovered that I had dropped my wallet at the farm so I had no license and no money.  Then I discovered that L didn’t have a copy of coggins, and on top of that her coggins were expired, THEN I found out I had only 1 brake light, 1 turn signal, and 3 running lights on L’s trailer.  I had the worst stress induced migraine of my life… I could just see being stopped and going straight on to jail with that many things going against me!  (Note- I’m a goody goody about rules… I follow the speed limit, I stop at stop signs… you get the idea… so my stress level was pretty pegged out by the time I actually got home)

Happily the mare is doing ok and I made it home with my sanity barely intact.  Sully was happily sacked out on the couch sound asleep, but was eager to go out for a walk once I got home.  The kids handled being minimally watched by my aunt for 3 hours without killing each other or destroying the house.  Remi did not die from lack of food (thank God… I would’ve been so upset!) and other than a mountain of dishes in the sink, a pile of laundry that never got done and a stack of school work that needed sorting… it all worked out ok.

Today it’s on and off raining/storming so my plans for today have been foiled.  I’m really proud of my children and had planned to take them to the apple orchard today for a picnic and some apple picking but since the weather has tanked I think that we will just have to have that picnic on the living room floor instead.

Now… what to have for supper???

Sorry for the horrible quality but I was using my droid and it’s nearing death’s door… regardless I was pleased to get any footage of Lucy’s first time under saddle.

We’ve been riding a pretty good bit lately.  All of the TBs are officially started… even Lucy. Since we’re riding so very much I thought I would give a quick update of each horse and how they are progressing.

Starting with the TBs…

Jen has continued to shine.  Her wallflower attitude in the pasture completely melts away once she’s under saddle!! She’s got a work ethic to die for and a willing attitude that’s going to take her far whether she’s the steady eddy mount to one of the kids or a joy-hack for one of the adults. She has consistently proven herself as a trail mount and is starting to work on polishing up her form in the ring.  I think it won’t be long before Julie or Lauren or maybe even Xander is showing her in a walk/trot class!

Diva has returned to active riding.  Her first trail ride with Lauren was noisy (lots of neighing) but drama-free.  Diva has a whole lot of attitude packed into her 15.1hh body! But she’s a consistent, sane, safe mare on the trails.  She’s a bit rough around the edges schooling wise but we’ll start polishing that up soon enough.  At this point I’m just happy to have her back in the riding rotation!

Razen has recovered from his knee injury and subsequent cellulitis.  It was a nasty injury… what appears to be a kick from one of the mares then blossomed into cellulitis that had us cold hosing his knee multiple times a day plus a 10 day run on antibiotics.  Happily it’s healed up nicely and he’s returned to light hack work with J.  Razen continues to have a boy scout’s confidence with a can-do attitude!  If J were ever reincarnated as a horse I feel certain he would come back as Razen! They are surprisingly similar personalities!

Paris is funk-free and has returned to a very active riding schedule!  She’s settled considerably since her early days here at the farm and is showing herself to be a very quick learner.  She’s just started jumping and all I can say is WOW… the mare is awesome!  She has a lovely big trot and a gorgeous big canter and her natural jumping form is just incredible!  Great things are in the future for our Paris!

Lucy is our big surprise!  Julie backed her on Sunday and boy were we surprised at what we found!  Instead of a skittish, nervous mare we found a sane, sound, calm and collected mare with the attitude of a schoolmaster!  Very surprised to find such a calm head on that horse’s shoulders as she was a bit of an “up” horse when we first got her.  Two years off to heal from her track injuries seems to have been all she needed and now she is very eager to be in the regular riding rotation!  Her trot is huge and lovely while her canter needs a bit of work (altho to be fair she wasn’t in a large enough area to really extend) but we are all eager to see how she progresses now that she’s ready!

Noorah has also had nearly 2 years off to heal from her track injuries.  She is a much more nervous mare than Lucy and hasn’t exactly settled into the idea of being a riding horse.  I’m still getting a lot of confusion from her when we lunge her under-saddle so I think it’s just a matter of letting her gain confidence slowly.  I’m happy to say that she no longer appears to be as body and foot sore as she once was so there’s hope that she and J will have a chance to bond up again in the near future.  I’m actually hoping that J will get a chance to ride her this afternoon… I will update with how that turns out!

Pip is turning out well.  He’s got the cutest canter and the sweetest trot… he’s just such a pleasure to take out on a hack… no fear of water, no problems walking over logs or patches of dappled sunlight… no problems with ravines or steep downhills.  He’s just so very willing!  His only draw back right now is that he’s not very responsive turning at speed.  I’ve eaten a surprising number of leaves as Pip is fond of taking me under low branches!  It is getting better and he is still a baby at 4.  He’s coming along as nicely as I could hope.

I started ground driving Woodrow a few weeks ago and he’s taken to that beautifully.  Honestly he’s better with steering than Pip, but that’s why I love starting my new babies out ground driving… they seem to understand what I’m asking with the bit without having to figure out the person on their back at the same time!  I have let Xander ride around on his back while driving him and Woodrow couldn’t care less!  He’s standing somewhere above 16hhs now and seems to be growing more every week!  I have no doubt that he’ll be over 17hh by the time he’s finished growing!

We are actually a bit concerned about Bingley.  He seems to have quit growing well below 15hh and which such a big dam we really thought he would be bigger.  IDK… maybe he’s just plateaued for a while since he’s only 2.  He’s also developed these odd lumps along his ribs.  At first we thought they may have been a reaction to bug bites but the skin moves over the bumps so it’s not on the skin… they appear to be some sort of calcium deposit on his ribs. I’m wondering if it has something to do with him being a bottle baby… I think a call to the vet to consult is in our future.  I sure hope that it’s a short term situation as Bingley is such a pet with everybody here at the farm.

Maddy is  consistently cantankerous.  At nearly 20 she’s the been-there-done-that mare in the lower field.  Honestly tho, other than a little more grey around her eyebrows she’s looking the best I’ve ever seen her!  Fat as mud on minimal feed and full turn out, she’s the picture of health!

Fantine, Lady and Belle continue to do well on full retirement.  Lady was fully retired this past week as it’s become grossly apparent that she can’t handle the stress of even tacking up.  She’s earned her rest and has become best buddies with Fantine.

Skye is a bit resentful that he was pulled out of pasture gluttony to become Xander’s mount!  Oh the tricks that pony knows!  I have a feeling that Xander is going to be one tenacious rider after the schooling he’s received from Skye!  Nothing like a cantankerous pony to make or break your riding career!

So that’s about it for the horse update.  I’ll try to update more often now that we’re riding more!

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