Showing posts from March, 2017

In which bad things happened elsewhere, and people are talking about it

There was an incident at a ride in Texas, and some horses died. That's bad.

The official word from AERC:
"...[an] incident happened at the Shanghai Trails Ride in Texas, and three horses are deceased after a breakout from a hot wire-type enclosure at the ride.  The AERC Board is aware of the incident and will have their next scheduled meeting on April 10 (by phone).  If you wish to make any comments to the board, please do so by the "Send an email to AERC Directors link on the AERC Board Page: "

From the safe distance of a few time zones, I see several issues:

The hot-wire fence problem.  I've written about my (bad) experience with hot wire HERE.  I know people who have used hot wire fences at rides for yonks and there were no problems with their horses, ever.  I consider those people lucky.More than one horse was enclosed in a single pen.  Some reports say as many as 13 horses in a single enclosure, but that number…

In which Spring isn't springing very quickly (but we ride anyhow)

It's a good thing I have raingear.

At this time last year (according to my Timehop app), the grass was sprouting hopefully, the trees were flowering, and all the world was happy.

This year, the cold clammy climate seems to have moved in to stay.  There are 9 month old babies visiting my library who have NEVER seen a sunny weekend.

But, you know about endurance riders: we are a special kind of crazy.  And I have all that raingear, after all.

So of course, I ride.

When we were walking up a steep hill the other day, the water sounds were everywhere.  In the video (below) it sounds like hissing.

That's the noise of the entire hillside (camera right) shedding water downhill.  Around :50 you can see the creek running through a culvert, but most of the water is unchanneled.

The trails are still closed because trotting feet + muddy trails = completely destroyed trails.  The armored logging roads are built to keep fully-loaded log trucks from sinking into the mud, so they are fine fo…

In which we ride in the rain and have a Sensible Misadventure

I know I've promised not to complain about weather that doesn't need to be shoveled,  but seriously: ENOUGH WITH THE WINTER, ALREADY.

Fiddle and I went out solo today despite the rain.  I have good raingear, and we really need some time together on the trail, moving out at Dragon Speed instead of Baby Horse speed.

The spring plants are way behind the usual schedule.  There are very few budding leaves, and no flowers at all, except a few Swamp Tulips.

It was while trying to take a slightly better picture of the Lysichiton americanus that Fiddle and I went slightly askew.

As usual, I was trying to steady the camera (phone) with both hands, so I dropped the reins and took off my gloves and poked and prodded at the phone to get the telephoto to engage.

Dropping reins is normal for us.  That doesn't make it a Good Idea.  Don't try this at home!

I reckoned without Fee's itchy face.

She's finally starting to shed ("It's still winter in Canada!" she say…

In which I remember some good old times at an unexpected place

I've written before about the HUGE used tack sale in Monroe.

The sale is a huge wintertime social occasion for horse people in our area.  It doesn't matter if I stand in line with a large group, or wander in late with just one friend, I'm guaranteed to meet up with people I know.

Plus, of course, there's All. That. Tack!

There are always the weird/laughable items.

Sometimes you could find the same item, brand new, for a better price, online.  But sometimes it's possible to find something amazing.
Like this:

The little purple map pocket (above) might not seem amazing to most people, even at the super-cheap price of $1.

For me, however, a dollar purchased more than just a ditty bag.  You can't really read the logo on the front anymore, but it says "Bully Wully I & II"...

...and it was the finisher's prize at the very first endurance event I ever attended.  My ride partner and I did the 14-mile novice distance and figured that we had Gone Far.

I w…

In which Du and Freya have an adventure and it's not terrible

Time to check in with Duana and Freya!

What have you been working on lately?  For the past several months, my focus has been dressage work.  In part because the weather has been so wintery, but mostly because I really needed more skills and confidence before getting out on the trails. 

What seems easy with this horse? What seems to be harder than it should be with this horse? Neither of those questions particularly resonate for me as I didn’t have any really good expectations, having never worked with or owned a young horse.  My community has grown immensely and I’ve found lots of great friends through the process who struggle with similar learning curves and confident related challenges.  
I think for me the hardest part really is my personal confidence and lack of experience.  I’m learning to forgive myself and also to ask for help even if it seems like I’m doing so over and over.   Since I have the gift of a fantastic trainer/mentor/confidant (now two with John) and a strong community of…

In which the weather is inhospitable and we ride anyhow

Two short videos today, to show the nature of weather in March  here in the Swamplands. 
The morning looked like this:

But just when you think the day will be bright and shiny, things change.

By 1pm, the slosh had quit falling from the sky (temporarily) and we trotted through it.

A day of bad weather on the trail is better than any day indoors

...but it was good to load up at the end of 7 miles and turn on the seat heaters in the truck!

In which Foxie gains skills and displays them for the camera...slowly

Foxie Loxie and I have been taking agility classes.

We started classes in January, with a very basic "Intro to Agility" class.

Like many Shelties, Foxie's biggest challenge is timidity. Training him is not unlike training a skittish young horse:  he has a lot of fears, and at first, his response to fear was to run away...which isn't a very good response for horses OR dogs, but it's much easier (and less scary) to fix in dogs.

Fox has gained a lot of skills since coming to live with us.

I deliberately look for situations to challenge him, and then I help him cope with the new stuff.

I am definitely his Comfort Object.  If he can see me, he can cope.  But he prefers to be on me.

His favorite, most secure place is up on my shoulders..

I wasn't a bit surprised at our first class when he was terrified by the big gymnasium-like room where the agility classes are held.
"I need to be on your shoulders!"  he told me.
"Also, I need to POOP!"