Friday, March 23, 2012

In which Hana leaves for Fat Camp (but we tell her it's a spa resort)

Hana is fat, fuzzy, and out-of-shape. 
We need to fix that.  Duana and Jim want to ride a sleek, fit pony this summer, not a fluffy yak with cardiac issues!
Hana: sleeker, but still pudgy (note heaps of orange hair on the ground!)

Madeline started the "fitting up" process yesterday.  We rode out with the Usual Suspects.  The plan was to do 18 steady miles, but events conspired against us, and we ran short on time.
One of the "conspiring events" was Hana herself, who was determined to hollow her back and jig down hills. Mads doesn't like riding a hollow jiggy horse, so she insisted that Hana carry herself correctly downhill...which meant going slowly and enforcing the rules.
We told her that she'll be attending classes at an exclusive spa resort.
Hana did not appreciate the lesson in manners, but it was good for her! 

She's a drama queen. It gets old.

It really gets old in ridecamp, when Hana is safely penned in her corral, twirling and screaming and generally being obnoxious, and upsetting Fiddle, who is supposed to be showing everyone how nicely she can behave in a vetcheck. 

It's time to fix that too.

This morning, I loaded up both horses and headed for Fish Creek Farm, where Dory teaches our lessons.
Not too skinny, not too fat.  Nice, fit endurance horse!
 Our friend Michelle took a lesson on Hana.  She had fun!  Hana knows a LOT; she was very well-trained years ago, and we rarely touch the depth of her dressage training. 
It's a luxury for Michelle to be able to work on her own form,
instead of teaching a green-ish horse.  Good practice for everyone!

Hana likes dressage, which is convenient. One of her tasks for the next few months is to take lots of lessons with Duana and Jim and a few other riders.  Her other task is to lose weight.

This is the pasture for plump ponies at Fish Creek/Fat Camp
When I put her out in the new pasture, Hana called a few times for Fiddle, (who by all accounts did not call back to her).  She quickly made the acquaintance of some of the other fatties ponies.
"Who's the prettiest of them all?"
 And then (no surprise),
salad bar

it was time for lunch.

Meanwhile, back at Haiku Farm
"Didn't I used to have a pesty little sister here someplace?"
 Fiddle called a few times, just to see if Hana were hiding in the trees or something...
"Nope.  Guess not."
...and then got on to the more important items on her agenda.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In which when the going gets tough, the tough go riding (even in sn*w)

It's amazing how much sadness came from the loss of such a tiny dog.  We miss her every hour of every day...but we're learning to move on.  It's not easy.

Especially when the weather goes all pear-shaped,
and on a riding day, too!

Sirie and Patty texted me:  "Ride?  or lunch?"

I texted back: "Ride.  THEN lunch."   So, we did.
At least there's a non-sn*wy place to tack up. 

The dragon shares my opinion of the weather:

Video Transcription
Patty: Alright.  Um, Aarene, I don't think your horse reeeeeeally wants to go riding today.
Aarene: (No...)
Patty:  What do you think?
Aarene:  I think, she's going, like...
Fiddle:  You must be kidding.  Bah.
Aarene:  "You're serious?"
Patty:  I don't think she...
Aarene:  "It's gonna cost you in cookies, all right."
Fiddle:  There's snow out there.  There's food in here.  Why leave?
Aarene:  All right,  here.
Patty:  You have to get out, Fiddle.
Aarene: You have to get out of the trailer to get the cookies.
Fiddle:  Want cookies.  Want cookies.  GIVE COOKIES.
Aarene: (laughing).  Gawd, you're huge.
Fiddle:  Cookies!  <3  

Out on the trail, there's almost more green than white.  A good sign.

And, an early sign of Spring:  Swamp Tulips!
a.k.a. "Skunk Cabbage"
Green forest
Back at home after the ride:  no more sn*w. 

Let's hope it lasts...for like, 9 or 10 more months!

Life is...well...better after going for a ride (and lunch) with good friends. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In which I remember (more than) ten good things about Pickles Marie

The Haiku Farm blog will return to normal horse-centric babbling and weather grumblings after this post.  It's sn*wing again, by the way...and we're going riding anyhow.

We planted a plum tree to mark the grave of our Pickles Marie, and hung the tree with prayer flags.

The tree stands beside our barn, in a bright sunny place that we will walk past every day. 

There's a children's book that I have loved for many years, called The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, in which the narrator tries to remember ten good things to tell at the funeral of his cat, Barney.

I thought of a lot more than ten things for Pickles Marie:
1.  Pickles Marie came to us with a stupid name that her former owners had given her.  She didn't even answer to that name.  Our family brainstormed new names for hours, helped by friends all over the world sending suggestions via Skype and Facebook.  When Patty suggested that we call her "Pickles", I said (somewhat sarcastically, I admit): "How about Pickles?"  In response, the tiny dog, who had laying down in the living room, obviously shell-shocked by her animal shelter experience, stood up to attention with her head cocked and her ears at attention, clearly saying "Yes?  Pickles is my name!  I am Pickles!"   And so she was.  My mother objected to such a goofy name, so we gave her a pretty middle name for balance.

2.  That "head-cock/ears up" expression will be forever known as "Pickle-head" in our family.  Other dogs might use the gesture, but Pickles defined it.

3.  She loved to play the "chase me-chase you" game with the cat.  She'd start the game by shoving her cold little nose into his bum or his belly, then play-bow and take off running top-speed with the kitty in hot pursuit.  She always let the kitty win.

4. Pickles knew which toy you wanted when you asked her to bring the piggy, or the lamb, or pengueno, but sometimes she'd bring the wrong toy just to make us laugh.

5.  Before she grew fur, she looked exactly like a wingless fruit bat.

6.  Before she grew fur, she had to wear a little polarfleece jacket to stay warm outdoors.  On her, it looked like a superhero cape.

7.  Her favorite place to hang out was in the "bat cave" under the footrest of my recliner.

8.  At first, she didn't know how to sit on a lap when there was also a book on the lap.  She had to learn about books...and laptop computers.

9.  Fetching was a great game, and fetching vegetables was even better.  Carrots, green beans, and baby zucchinis were the best.

10.  Whenever we would leave the house, we'd tell Pickles Marie to guard the house and not let any zucchinis inside. 

10.  We don't know why she would run around the house growling and shaking her toys when somebody would say the word "bedtime."  That trick will live forever on YouTube.

10.  She loved chasing shadows and flashlights, but the laser pointer was her very favorite.

10.  She learned to slide down the playground slide, just because it made me laugh.

10.  She learned to "sit pretty" and "stand up tall" and "roll over" but we ran out of time before she learned to "whisper."  Barking was a lot more fun, anyhow.

10.  She loved to bark at the goats and the horses. I'm pretty sure that the goats never even noticed.

10. The sweetest thing in the world was when she would settle down next to me at night and rest her head on the crook of my elbow.

How do you remember your four-legged friends?