My Partner is Delight

My Partner is Delight
Heading into the great unknown

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Trail Adventure

I had a trail riding adventure a couple of days ago.

My partner Sandra and I were riding out in the foothills following cattle trails and two tracks when we could find them. There are LOTS of holes out there, everything from a foot across to a few inches. So, you have to stay on a trail and you can only ride out there in the winter when the grass is dead and you can see the ground. Some how we got off of the main cow trail we were following and got onto one that petered out on us.

While we were trying to work our way back to the main trail Chardoney stepped in one of the really big holes and panicked, then jumped out of it. Since I was leaning forward so that I could see the ground to look for holes, I went right off over her shoulder. I landed on my shoulder with my head tucked. I don't think I am hurt too bad, I just have a catch in my back when I breathe too deep, so hopefully it is just a muscle spasm. Waiting for the Aleve to kick in right now.

Chardoney took off and ran over the crest of a hill out of sight. Sandra and I looked at each other - Sandra asked if I was OK and then made her horse stand still. I am so thankful for a riding partner who doesn't panic.
I am thinking that if Char doesn't come back, I am going to have a loooong walk home - we were several miles out. Sure enough though, we hear a high pitched "OMG I am all by myself!" whinny and she came running back to us.
As we were walking along, me leading her while I caught my breath, Chardoney stepped in a smaller hole and got snorty and scared. I have thought about hobble breaking my horses before,  just in case of something like this. Now I think I will find a trainer to help me. If she were hobble broke she wouldn't panic when she feels her legs trapped. It is a good thing for trail horses to know for just such an occasion.

I got back on and we rode the few miles home with no issues, just like nothing happened. Chardoney was calm and cool. I really love this horse!

Old Age

I was just thinking today about how our horses all have their "birthdays" on Jan 1. This will make Delight 20 years old! Tawshi will be 11, and Star will be 6 - is she really that old? She was just born! My new girl Char will be 6 as well.
I have been thinking about the age "20". It sounds so old. I read all the time about people retiring horses in their mid teens! Heck, that's when I *first* started Delight in Endurance! Delight is getting grey on her face and she is loosing some topline but other than that she is a maniac. No signs of slowing down at all. In fact, I really feel like her attitude and her "go" are a lot younger than her body. I went for a 2 hour ride the other day and had to work hard to keep her at a walk, she was sweaty and ready to fly. We both love zooming down the trail!

Last year I skipped taking her to the last endurance ride because I felt like it took her so long to come back from the one before. It wasn't that her "go" was any less or her attitude was lagging. It was just a gut feeling based on the look on her face from her pictures out on the race trail. It seemed more work for her than other rides.

Maybe I pushed her too hard - we did have a fast time - or maybe it was a failure in getting her really fit - or maybe it was an age related thing. I dunno. I will make sure she is very, very fit for next year. (This is done with long slow miles not speed work).

I don't think she is ready to retire yet but it is kinda scary to ride a horse who is "20".

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fuzzy Ponies

Delight and  her good friend Mo

It has been a dry winter so far. I have been glad to not have to deal with mud yet. The air is clear and cold. The horses love this kind of weather. They are pretty frisky and often take off in the pasture tails flying high. As long as the wind isn't blowing it is quite pleasant to work in this weather. 


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cozy, Warm and Toasty

Star is COZY:

 Delight is WARM:

And Chardoney is TOASTY:

Morning Chores:

My Morning Chores.

I wake up drink my coffee and realize it is in the 20's outside. I put every layer of clothes on that I own, then head down to the barn.

With Lyn's help I move 14 (thousand) horses from their stalls and paddocks to the pastures. My fingers and toes start to freeze and I can't feel the front of my thighs. Dang, I should have put those longjohns on. At least the sun is out and there isn't any wind.

Next I break  2" of ice in the water trough and pitch it out. Hmmm I am feeling warmer now. Gee that sun feels nice. Unzip Carhart coat.

I walk briskly back to the barn and by the time I am there I shed my coat. I have nine (billion) stalls to clean. Time to crank the Country music up in the barn. Then I start on the First stall. Oh that sun feels good. It's 30 degrees! I take off my vest.

Second stall... work work work. Man, I am getting warm! Hat comes off. I can feel my thighs!

Third stall, oh boy, it is officially above freezing. I have toes and fingers now.

Fourth stall - you can see where this is going, right? Off comes the scarf and my sleeves are rolled up.

Fifth stall... hey you guys have dirty minds! Nothing else comes off! But I am now nice and toasty, muscles limber and enjoying a beautiful cold Winter morning. I think to my self, "What a wonderful job I have!"