In which Willy learns the real reason that those old cowboys walk that way

When Willy first arrived here and was introduced to our horses, he (very astutely) observed that Hana is very PRETTY...and Fiddle is very BIG.
Yes. Very astute, indeed.

Today I was getting ready to hit the trails with the mares and Madeline, and Willy was at hand thanks to a school district workday...so it seemed like a good opportunity to see if he was sincere in his recent interest in riding lessons.

Start with cleaning up the horse.


Hana is a big believer in dust bathing.
I don't think Willy realized that anybody as cute as Hana could be this dirty!




Yup, gotta get the tangles out of ALL the parts of her mane.

And clean out her feet, too.
I encouraged him to adopt the traditional "farrier stance" for feet cleaning, but he prefers this posture.
It must be nice to have a young spine with limited milage.... I'll never be in that position again, alas.

Tacking up: I demonstrated on Fiddle, then guided Willy through the process of tacking up Hana. She's so little, he practically has to kneel down to reach her girth.


Madeline has worked for several years as a sidewalker and assistant at Little Bit, so I was totally comfortable with her doing the sidewalking instruction for Willy's first trip around the pasture.
I stayed close by (on Fiddle's back) and took a ton of photos.
He did great!












Nudge with the legs to ask her to go forward.



Steering.



And dismounting, gracefully.
Mostly gracefully, anyhow.

After dismounting and walking a few steps, he nodded his head at me. Now he understands why cowboys walk that way.
Mads and I spent a few delightful hours on the trails in the sunshine. I was too relaxed to take a lot of photos, but I did document the Eating of The First Salmonberries of Summer:

Please note that Madeline and Hana are BOTH eating salmonberries. Mads prefers to eat just the berries, though; Hana likes the leaves and stems also.

After a nice ride, Willy, Mads, and the dogs joined me on a trip to the river to cool off. Temps have been in the 90s here lately, unseasonably hot for the Swamplands. Some of our bogs are dry enough to start crunching underfoot!




The Stilly is pretty deep and fast, so we just waded. Later in the summer when the water slows down, we'll swim.




It's pretty easy to tell that this water is recently-melted snow. Cold! But...refreshing.




Shelties are too small to go in the deep water, but they like to sit in the shady sand and help people eat Goldfish Crackers.

Life is good for all of us, even for the dogs.

Comments

  1. It sounds like a lovely day. Are the horses all at home now in their new digs? I hope your flowers are still blooming when we come on the 21st. I'm trying to get Randy to come, but he won't commit...I may bring the girls if they want to come.

    I golfed today...poorly...but it was a nice morning..not hot. We had a big wind storm last night and it stayed very breezy all day.

    I'm hoping the weather doesn't go too far south on us..we are camping next week. I suppose a little rain won't hurt us though. I'll try to talk to you on Sunday. Love, Mom

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  2. Watching Willy bend and squat like that reminds me that my spine and hips are not as supple as they once were. Picking hooves is downright strenuous for me these days.

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  3. hannah is barefoot!? i didn't know that. my goodness she is one stocky, built horse. so big boned and her chest is amazing.

    i loved the photos, i enlarged each one. oh, to end it all, she has the prettiest tail too: )

    i wanted to ask if maddie had to take any clases to be able to volunteer at little bit. i looked into volunteering here and you need a degree to work with the handicapped. i have the degree (psych) so maybe i'll look into that - but for money, not free, if i need a psych degree!

    looking forward to haiku farm in july!

    ~lytha

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