My Partner is Delight

My Partner is Delight
Heading into the great unknown

Friday, December 11, 2009

Speedy Learns English


Now that my son has outgrown Speedy I need to sell him - that is the horse needs to be sold, not the boy. There is now officially no one in our house who is small enough to ride him. Sure, I do put training rides on him myself, but he is nowhere near big enough to be a regular mount for me. And grandkids, well lets just say I am hoping for some, but they are too many years away to justify letting this horse stand around.


I am praying two things. One that he will get a great home not far from me like his brother Spinner did; and two, that it will be a long long time before I ever have to sell another horse. It is heart wrenching to give him up. It isn't that I don't want another kiddo to love him, in fact that is my dream for him. What worries me is that once he is sold and the papers are signed I lose all control over what happens to him. My fear is that someday he might end up in a worse place than the one where he began.


In October I had the opportunity to send him for a month of English training. My hope is that the more rounded his training the better of a show pony prospect he will be. I am very pleased with the results. In fact, we found out that Speedy likes to jump!

Here are a couple of pictures of him with a little girl who recently came to try him out. He was a super star for her that day. I was so very proud of this little guy whom 2 years ago was starving in somebody's field!



I have a few ads out there and if he doesn't sell by Spring I may have someone ride him in a jumper show. Isn't there anyone out there who needs a pony who is practically perfect in every way?

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Happy Trails Foxy!


A am so pleased to share that the gal who has been leasing Foxy has decided to buy her. She also owns Spinner and I couldn't be happier with the home where they live!

Picture in your mind trees and a river bank and grass...

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Moonlit Ride


A Moonlit Ride by Carol Herlihy

There's moonlight dancing o're snow covered ground
Enticing me out for a late night 'go round'
Donning jacket, some gloves, and a wool hat
I sneak out the backdoor, silent as a cat.

Emerging outside in the brisk winter air
A soft nicker of welcome from my sweet mare
She's chestnut and furry, a right jolly old girl
Oh, my pretty pony is always up for a whirl

With two hay strings attached to the halter for reins
she knows what we're doing, no need to explain
As we ease open the gate and head for the stump
I slide onto her back and pat her round rump

Into the forest so silent and still,
Are you ready to go for a wild winter's thrill?
The trails are all silver, with shadows in blue
Dark pines like sentinels, watching us two

Threading the woods on these ribbons of snow
Twisting and winding to the meadow we go
Prancing and jigging then tossing her mane
We dash away over the sparklingly plain

Her hoof beats fall silent in this white ocean expanse
Moving faster and faster, as fast as we chance
Wind tingles my cheeks, my heart's pounding away
Skimming over the snow, whichever which way

She brakes to a trot, sending snow all about
Her breath plumes of white as she exhales it out
Arching her neck and pricking her ears
Dancing and prancing, shedding her years

Back into the woods so silent and deep
no sounds mar the silence, all are asleep
the moon and the stars are our beacons of light
as we head back for home, its nearing midnight

I slide off her back and remove all restraints
then toss her some hay so I'll hear no complaints.
A pat and a hug plus a hard rub of the head
then it's back in the house and quick off to bed.

I came across this poem HERE and thought I would share. I haven't ridden at night in a long time. I feel inspired.

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Junior Apprentice Trimmer

Today Julie came out to trim Star and Delight's feet. Star was her usual wiggly self. She doesn't believe in just standing about and relaxing in one place.

The whole time I was holding her she was moving her head around getting into everything within reach. She thought she needed to make a call on Julie's cell phone and spent a lot of time trying to pick it out of her pocket. Then she tried to get eye level with the work Julie was doing on her front foot. I swear it looked like she was trying to learn what Julie was doing. Then she grabbed the hood on Julie's jacket and then the strap on the back of her chaps. Then she did it all over again. Can horses have ADD?


Then it was Delight's turn for a trim. Star was like a 3 year old child rather than a horse. She was there the whole time, getting into everything, busy busy busy. Delight just sighed. Being the mother of a few busy kids myself, I can relate.


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The "Off" Season


This morning I spent some time out in the pasture with Delight and Star. I haven't done that in a long while. It was a bit foggy and a lot cold. I expected to be breaking ice and filling water tanks. Some sort of December miracle happened however, and my kids had already completed that chore. I found myself with the valuable gift of free time.

I used a curry and went straight to their itchy spots, leaving the "start at the head and work your way back" grooming rule completely behind. If I spend too much time on one, the other gives me a gentle reminder by bumping me gently with her head.

My horses have a way of drawing me into their herd, grooming my hair with their noses and breathing into my face. They come close and press their heads and necks in for a hug. Their love and acceptance fills up the deepest reservoirs of my spirit.

I am thankful.

Sometimes when I am grooming one, she grooms the second, wiggling her nose all over her wither. Today the second turned around and groomed my back, so we three were a complete circle of happy groomers.

This is the "off" season for riding. The days are short and cold and the weather seldom cooperates even for a trail ride. But, it's the time to reconnect really. No training schedules, no time lines.... just time to be with my pony girls.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quote of the Day

This quote expresses what I am trying to learn right now.

"Something I often tell my students is: Before the horse can make a change, you have to make a change. This doesn't necessarily mean a physical change either. It can be a mental change - changing the way you view your riding. If you've ridden in a particular way for ten, or even five years, and achieved show ring success with this style, it becomes almost a leap of faith to accept that there can be more beyond this. It is a huge act of humility to admit that you may not be *correct* in your riding, after several years, and put yourself back into the mind of a beginner and have to learn to learn again. "

This is taken from the webpage: Why Ride Classically

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Monday, June 29, 2009

From the Milk Stand

I know, I know... this is a horse blog. But I love all of my critters so that's what I like to write about!

I have been milking Mia for almost 3 months now and I have learned so many things from her. Almost every day has a lesson for me and I have witnessed several amazing events as I have sat in the same place at the same time everyday. I am beginning to think that everyone should sit in the same place morning and evening and just look around. But, more about that later.

So to begin I will show you my stand.

The clear vessel with the red rag inside is my milking bucket.


I sit here every morning and every evening at 9 o'clock. To the left is the small goat pen and to the right is the chicken coop. In the background you can see one of my brooder pens for the chicks and turkey. In the back corner are the grain bins containing various and sundry feeds for the many species of animals on our farm.

The orange cord brings power to the heat lamp for the smallest chicks. It's not in use right now as those chicks are grown and have a "date with destiny" soon.

In the foreground is my helper Amelia. She tests the goat milk every morning and evening for me. If the milk ain't right, it doesn't go into the house!

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Mia Moo Update!

Mia is doing so well! She has grown attached to me and me to her. I have to be careful when I go outside because if she hears my voice she cries until I go and pet her. Most of the time I am happy to oblige.

I brought Merri home to be her pal, but right now she still prefers me and pushes her away. I have high hopes that they will become sisters in time. Merri has every sign of being a sweet loving goat. I can't wait to have two "mooing" for me!


Mia gives a gallon of milk a day. She gets all of the Show Chow she can eat along with a handful of grain at each milking. She also gets free choice grass hay and alfalfa. She loves to be brushed and her coat is now very shiny as a result.



Her feet are slowly coming around. I have her almost upright on one of her back feet, but the worst one still has a ways to go. Here and here is what they looked like when we got her. I trim a little off of them once a week.




I have only had her for 3 months and she has improved so much. I can't wait to see what the next 3 bring!



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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Merri Moo

Meet my new dairy goat Merri! She is a one year old grade Nubian. She is 1/8 La Mancha, but I will try not to hold it against her. I do love long Nubian ears!



I got her to be a companion for Mia. I sold Java last month to a family with little children. I don't have time for a goat without a job, so I got another doe. This Fall I will breed her as well as Mia. I suppose then I will have to decide who I am going to milk. Milking two sounds overwhelming right now!



Mia is doing very well. I tried to get some updated pictures the other day but they didn't turn out. I plan to post some very soon. Her coat is nice and shiny, and her feet are slowly getting better. She has become a very sweet goat.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Java in Motion

So, yeah I know this is a horse blog... but I have to share a couple of cute vids of my baby goat!

Enjoy!







Mia is doing well too... hopefully this week I will be able to give her a bath and then I will put some pictures up of her too. She is putting on some nice weight and she has had her feet trimmed twice already. I'll give her her own blog post. I am enjoying her so much!

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Friday, April 3, 2009

1 Week Old Java

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Java is really growing strong. I am so pleased as I was worried that he wouldn't even survive the condition that his mama was in when we got her.

He still loves his tote even though he is outgrowing it. Hopefully, no not hopefully... we WILL have his outdoors pen finished this weekend and he will go out and live next to his mama like a real goat should!

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I have been house bound with near pneumonia and he has been an entertaining diversion during my convalescence, but it is time for him to go outside! He is sleeping less and less and demanding more attention.

Believe it or not he is house broken... ha ha I would never have thought it was possible to housebreak a goat. We have been diligent to take him outside when he wakes and when he eats and he knows what he is supposed to "do". It is so funny. If he hadn't come so quickly after we got his mama and I hadn't gotten sick and unable to build his pen outside, we would never have learned this little known goaty secret!

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Maybe someone needs a pack goat they they would like to keep in their tent without worries about accidents? I can dream right?

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's a boy!

Mama Mia freshened on Thursday! She gave me a buckling. He is skinny, but otherwise healthy.

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The (human) kids have decided to name him "Java" because he is the color of frothy coffee.

Basically he eats:

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Sleeps:

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And PLAYS!

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Welcome little Java!

Mama Mia is doing well. She has shown us that she is a veteran milker, jumping up onto the stand and bawling for her grain. She has gotten her shots and has been dewormed and has had her first foot trim. We weighed her and found her to be 25-30 lbs underwieght. So far no signs of any illnesses she might have picked up from the feed lot!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mama Goat

Okay, I did it again... I have rescued a another needy creature.

Not a horse this time though... she is a goat!

I thought maybe I would like to try my hand at a milk goat so I looked around and found an ad on Craigslist that said "6-7 thin goats". I called on it and it turned out to be a goat (meat) dealer. He told me he had only one Nubian. She was a former 4H project and was ready to freshen in the next couple of weeks.

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He warned me that she was thin and that she needed her feet done badly.

I went yesterday to look at her. It was already dark by the time I was there, but I could tell even by the light of the flashlight that she was 1)very sweet and 2)in need of some serious TLC.

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I am so very, ummm dissapointed in the people who let her get into this condition, let alone in a feedlot waiting to be slaughtered - especially if they were a 4H family. I am pretty passionate about this subject, but I'll save that rant for another day. I want this to be Mama goat's big debut.

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I walked her around the yard today and found that she leads very well. I was happy to learn that, as goats can be very stubborn. I hope she also has milking experience.

She doesn't seem sick at all, just in need of some groceries. I put her on a medicated feed today and and tonite I'll give her a CD and T shot to help stave off whatever she was exposed to at the feedlot.

Except for her bag it is even hard to tell Mama goat is pregnant. I really hope her kid survives. It is alive an moving inside her, but it is pretty small.

I will have someone over as soon as possible to help me with her feet. I don't think I have the knowledge to do them on my own.

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I'll be trying to get some baby oil on her legs to soften the mud and treat the scalds on her legs as well.

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She is really making up her bag. I hope she will hold off a while on having her kid. I want to get some more calories and those vaccines on board.

Welcome home goaty!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Spinner Update

Today I received a set of pictures from Spinner's new owners. These pictures made me so happy!

Look at these boys having a great time foolin' around with their pony!

The(first) fella up on top is Keegan, Spinner's new boy:

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This last picture - I have no idea what Foxy is into... looks like she thinks there is something yummy in the green house! I can tell she is real worried about all of that horse eating plastic!

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I hope Keegan and Spinner have a whole summer full of adventures together!

Kinda makes ya want to go build a Fort and play Cowboy's and Indians, doesn't it?

Pony Express... Lone Ranger...

Ahhhh those were the days....

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Riding in a Rainbow

Cody and I went for a ride today. He wanted to try out the new "buttons" on his horse. It was windy and rainy and sunny and warm and cold all at the same time! At the beginning of the ride was the rainy part and we saw a beautiful rainbow.

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We didn't know it at the time, but Katy took a photo of us and it looks just like we are in the rainbow!

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Cody is the rider in the white coat, I am the rider at the end of the rainbow


Here is a vid of the rainbow. Speedy was being a little antsy so Cody was asking him to "move parts of his body". I can't believe how much softer Speedy is getting!



We had a wonderful 2 hour ride. We went around a bunch of fields and we followed all of the canal banks we could find. We even met one of our neighbors and his son walking around enjoying our unusual weather.

At one point we flushed up some birds and Speedy squirted forward. Cody was able to bring him right back down to a stop within 4 or 5 steps. It was a courage building moment for Cody, knowing that his horse will "whoa" when it is most important to "whoa".

We have another ride planned for tomorrow. I hope Katy and Chase will join us.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Cody

We brought Speedy home from the trainer's tonite. It was a three and one-half hour drive one way, and also several thousand feet higher in elevation. So the weather there was quite different than ours here!

The wind was blowing so hard and it was very cold! Thankfully it didn't rain or snow. But, it was miserable nonetheless.

I only got a few pics and a couple of videos.

Here is the boy himself.... Cody ! He was so happy!

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Corrine rode Speedy first and I could tell that she really did a lot of work for the short amount of time she had him.

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She had him turning on his hindquarters, turning on the forequarters, side passing... lope departures, stopping...

He didn't always look real graceful, but I loved how he was trying so hard for Corrine. I was really impressed with how often Corrine stopped to praise him too.

Meanwhile, the wind is blowing SO hard! I couldn't believe all that she was getting him to do in that weather.

Here is a vid of her asking him to side pass. You can see him get confused, she looks for the smallest try, rewards it and soon he is doing what she asked:



And one more video. When you watch it remember that Cody hasn't really ever loped much on Speedy except down the length of an arena. Also take note of the wind whipping through the gate. On the far side Cody couldn't even see. He had to close his eyes to keep the blowing sand from stinging them!

I am so pleased with how well they both did in spite of the horrid weather conditions.



Stay tuned to this channel because very soon I will be posting much better video of a softer Speedy and a more relaxed Cody. I think it is going to be hard to keep Cody off of his horse from now on.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Riding out

I had a wonderful ride on Friday that I thought I would share. I rode Delight out for almost two hours.

During the first part of the ride after we were warmed up we did some cantering on an area that had been plowed and leveled. The footing was perfect. Delight seemed to be listening pretty well so I decided to canter her straight up the hill. It was the first time I have ever done that. What fun!

Then, we moseyed all around Lyn's place and headed down the canal bank.

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The mountains in the distance are where Bogus Basin is located.

It was the longest and farthest we have ever ridden out alone.


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Sheep corral

This is an old sheep corral. In the foreground is a bridge across the canal. I was tempted to ride over there and look around, but I think I will ask permission first. I think it looks like there are lots of interesting things to see over there! I need to do it before the grass grows high and the snakes come out of hibernation for sure!


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Friday, March 6, 2009

Fuzzy Shows

Even though my heart is out on the trail this Spring I have been going to some "fat and fuzzy" horse shows.

I rarely take pictures because it is dark outside and dark in the indoor arena where they are held. A couple of my friends challenged me to actually take some pictures anyways.

So here's your proof girls:

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This is right before the adult beginner showmanship class, which we won fair and square inspite of the fact that there was another person in the class. I am pretty sure we only won because Delight stood still-er than the other horse did. Don't tell Delight though... it might go to her head! First place was my favorite candy bar!


Delight won 2nd in the mares halter class - again I am pretty sure it is because she stood stiller than the 3rd place horse!

Here's proof that I really did tack up...

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I had her all saddled up and ready to go and then they canceled my class! There weren't many adults at this show riding English.

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Delight hollered the almost *whole* time so I got lots of training opportunities in the practice pen doing hips over, shoulders over, back up, sidepass, head down.... wash - rinse - repeat. It takes a lot to keep her little mind busy! Making myself focus on moving specific parts of Delight's body helped me to relax. It helped her too.

I used a bunch of my Julie Goodnight techniques which really helped, especially when I realized I hadn't shown in an English saddle since I was about 16! Yikes! And I hadn't ridden in a regular English saddle in months and months! (What was I thinking??)

So, while I didn't actually ride in a class, I did:
  1. Tack up, ride in the warmup time (think 'mass chaos in a pickle jar'),
  2. Sit for 30 min on my horse who was being a nutcase, and was able to calm both of us down!
  3. I did all this calmly and without panicking and running back to the trailer to cower in terror.
Come on Spring. I am so ready to hit the trails!!

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Ride With Confidence!

So today I don't have any pictures of what Delight and I did today, but I sure wish I did! I won a major battle with my AOF* today.

Before I share, lets back up a week or so....

When I went to the Equine Affairs I was really excited to hear Julie Goodnight speak. She had a couple of seminars on rider fear. I really took to heart the things that she said, and even bought her book and CD. I felt like the things she had to say really helped me to intellectualize my fear and put it into perspective.

One of the things that really impacted me was an equation she shared:

FEAR + GRIEF =DEBILITATION

It was in relation to post traumatic fear. I was surprised to find that most of my fear fits the post traumatic category, even though I haven't ever had a terrible wreck on a horse. I do have some "suspects" though, which I will share later.



Here is an excerpt from Julie's book Ride With Confidence! :

"Sometimes a traumatic incident in other areas of your life may lead to an increased fear around horses... Characteristic of post traumatic fear is a sense of loss and a high degree of frustration. A sense of grief can compound the feeling that you have lost something you once had, something very dear to you:the ability to ride unencumbered by fear. Sometimes people even fear that they have lost their riding ability and no longer have the skills they once had. " page 19

These words were written about me! I have been so frustrated by my fear of cantering. I know that I am not and never will be the worlds greatest rider. But, I used to have a halfway decent seat and I used to ride without fear. Riding horses used to be one of the things I thought that I was good at... Sometimes when I have climbed on the horses that I have started in the last couple of years I have been so afraid. I have always "done it anyway," but sometimes it wasn't too much fun.

"FEAR+ GRIEF =DEBILITATION This means that you can not deal with both of these emotions at once; it is simply too much for a person to handle. If you are suffering from this sense of loss and frustration in addition to your fear of horses, thinking that you no longer have the ability you once had before your injury, you must set aside your grief and deal with the fear first. You must have faith in the fact that you still have the same skill and ability that you had before your injury. You still have the same knowledge and skill with horses, you have just temporarily misplaced it. Once you have regained your confidence, you will ride like the wind again." page20

When I was able to identify grief as part of my AOF equation it was like a light bulb went off in my head! One of the things that I grieve is the loss of the 20 some years without horses. Even though I know that horses wouldn't have fit into my life for most of that time, I still often think to myself, "I need to enjoy every moment of this day with this horse... I don't have a lot of years left to enjoy them..."

Wow... that's a lot of pressure!

The other part of grief that I recognized was the loss of my first horse. My parents sold her right after I earned 6th place at the State Fair and had just completed the County Fair. They didn't tell me about it until the last day of the fair when my horse was loaded into some other girl's trailer to go home. Her loss makes me sad even just thinking about it now, 20 some years later. She was my world as a teenager.

So I have spent some time working through my grief in the last week or so. Acknowledging it, feeling it, moving past it. I know that it will pop up again as grief is wont to do, but I have decided not to try to bury it any more.

And today I reaped the first benefits of that hard work! I cantered on Delight! I have cantered her before, even hand galloped her. But today was different. I feel like something has broken free. I felt relaxed. I felt my seat moving with Delight. My head was clear. We did flying lead changes. It felt like my "feel" for the canter came back! My hands and feet and muscles were moving without direction from me. It was a huge breakthrough.

"You still have the same knowledge and skill with horses, you have just temporarily misplaced it."

Yes I have!


*Adult Onset Fear

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