Showing posts from May, 2013

In which things are growing and getting pretty, (except the Eleanors)

It's looks like a real farm!

Here's what is absolutely astonishing to me about the picture (above): almost everything in it has been added or changed since we moved to Haiku Farm.

Out in the distance:  horse, goats...and a fence!  Closer in: barn, chicken tractor, and Pickle's tree.  Up close, the garden and the chickens' Winter Palace.  All that stuff, we brought here.  Amazing.

The garden has seen an astonishing transformation.  Back in the spring of 2009, our neighbor Herb came over with a rototiller, and stirred under a big patch of the back yard.  We didn't have time, that year, to amend the soil or add organic matter and fertilizer.  The lack of preparation really showed:  the "soil" was poor and gravelly, and the "crops" were pathetic.

Fast-forward to 2013:  we have REAL DIRT now!

The garden soil is now more than 12" deep--my shovel no longer hits the old layer of gravel on the first "shove."  The soil is a combination of…

In which it's not that easy being green...but ya gotta start somewhere

At the karate school where I studied for many years, there was a little plaque by the front door reading:
Everyone works. Nothing is free. We all start at the beginning.
 It's that way in endurance, too.

Sometimes it's easy to lose track of the work that goes into creating an experienced horse+rider team, so I'm gonna document some of the "green-ness" here.

We'll start with Patty and Flower.  Regular readers have been watching Flower's progress under saddle, and waiting patiently for this sweet little mare to be ready for her first distance event....and finally, last weekend, it was time!
Flower (registered "Flower Power") came to Patty with no training-under-saddle; she was halter-broke, and had no balance at all.  Flower began her career as an endurance horse with professional training in the arena, provided by Dory and Big Megan beginning in January 2013, and then progressed to trail work with Patty.  She gets ridden twice a week now, 9-10 mil…

In which we finished. And it was good. And that's pretty much all there is.

It was a good day for a ride.

Although the Mt Adams Endurance Ride is held on the side of a "mostly dormant" volcano, and was scheduled for the anniversary of the eruption of Mt Saint Helens, the ridecamp was full-to-bursting, with about 157 horse-and-rider teams signed up for the event.

We showed up on Thursday with a huge group of Pirates and Fish,

and set up a fun, rowdy camp space.

My goal for the day: finish my first 15-mile loop in under 2 hours, so that we wouldn't be facing 81 LD riders on the common trail back to camp when they started THEIR ride 2 hours after we started ours.

We made it--with about 5 minutes to spare.

That was pretty much the story of our ride day.

I'd look at the distance for each loop, make a complicated computational estimate of the time we would spend on it based on distance, terrain, fitness, fatigue, weather, and likelihood of getting lost, and then go ride it...

...and usually "hit the mark" with only 5 minutes error on …

In which this is another post about horses, horses, and more horses

Here in the Swampland, we're a little bit confused by blue sky weather, but we know EXACTLY what to do when the sun comes out:

go riding, of course.

Friday afternoon, Duana and I took a lesson.

In the outdoor arena.

In the sunshine.

O.   M.   G.

I had to take a break after 20 minutes and put on more sunscreen.  

Then it was Becky's turn for a quick lesson.  It's been two days, and I'll bet money that Becky is still feeling the sore muscles from Dory's warm-up routine.

But riding was only part of the excuse reason for Becky's visit:  she wanted to see some Standardbreds!  I'm sure she plans to blog about the trip in detail, so I'll only post a few teaser pics here.

We headed north, to the boarding stable in Langely BC that houses Greener Pastures Standardbred Adoption Agency.

We saw lots of standies, and each of them tried to convince us that she (or in the case of Chester, "he") was the most charming.

But the clear winner of the "charm"…

In which we discuss the education of horses: who teaches whom?

Today's ride was more about learning than about mileage and conditioning.

Duana and Hana have been learning all kinds of skills.

The main skill, of course, is getting the rider to understand how to present a situation to the horse so that the horse will respond properly.  It sounds so easy.

Duana has three excellent mentors:  Patty, of course, has trained a lot of horses, and she's also helped a lot of riders.

Du has been taking a lot of lessons with Dory, and that's helping a bunch.  Duana's skills in the saddle have increased hugely--and so has her confidence.
Hana herself is the final member of the mentoring team. Hana has plenty of experience doing the more complicated stuff that Du wants to do...but she doesn't just give stuff away.  You have to know how to present situations to Hana, or she'll just shake her mane and pretend she didn't hear you.

Du is learning...a lot!  It's wonderful to watch her and Hana together.

People aren't the only &…