Monday, January 24, 2011

Too cold to ride...

Cleaning the stall, it sounds like I'm tossing golf balls in the wheelbarrow--the manure is frozen solid. Makes for easy cleaning though! The buckets are full of ice, bits of grain frozen in the water like insects in amber. My toes are beginning to freeze and the water heater is steaming in the hallway, warming up some buckets. Harley is glad to be outside now, even though it's probably only around 5 above zero. He's been cooped up all day, so we'll let him have an evening romp with Echoe before dinner. He's going to be a handful the next time I swing a leg over him!
There's something really peaceful about closing up the barn for the night. The horses snort, sending puffs of vapor into the air like dragons. I can hear them contentedly munching on supper, as they snuffle through their hay. Mr. Rat is scratching in the walls, probably dining on the grain Harley strews around his stall. I have a last nose-to-nose whisper with Harley, kiss him on his velvety nostrils, and shut out the lights. The barn door creaks on it's runners; the wind whips up the hillside; goodnight guys.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Another day of firsts for everyone!

Orris Falls trailhead
I've never skied through manure before. :)
I've never worn a helmet skiing (xc or downhill).
And I've never gone skijoring before!
Harley, I'm sure, has never pulled a skier.
I had on the helmet to wear the movie camera (movie coming soon), more than for safety. I did have to drop the line a couple of times on the downhill so I wouldn't run up on Harley's hocks. He was a pretty good sport about it all--though still a little spooky about those sticks snaking in the snow near him. John piloted Harley, and kept him under control, as we skijored down the Orris Falls Trail--a perfect sunny, powder snow day. What a blast!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eau de cheval

It's an acquired taste, the rich, earthy odor of horse. And only horsemen and women can appreciate it. We rotate Harley's blankets, drying them out as needed by the woodstove. Therefore, the living room smells a bit like a barn. Not that I mind, nor does John. We're like two peas in a pod. Only yesterday, we put on our jackets, sniffed at the arms, and said simultaneously, "Smells like Harley." Too bad we can't bottle it--Parfum d'Harley

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Today offered another interesting day for Harley. Michelle and I headed out through the woods to meet of with 3 other riders from North Point. We decided to check out the "Nature Trail", a piece of property with a serious case of Maine Yard Disease. As you pass the house and head into the woods, there's a sign "Speed Limit 55 for horses" (don't get any ideas, Harley). Then there's the pile of old televisions with a sink, what looks like a bobhouse, but sporting signs saying, "Take Out, Luncheon". Oh, and then there's the 2 giant stereo speakers...blaring nothing to nobody. Once you get away from the junk, the trails are quite nice, and better yet, not too icy! We crossed Tatnic Rd. and went up into Tatnic Woods. The ride was going nicely, Diego settled down, Harley was happy out front, until....

We'd heard a chain saw, but as I saw a tree falling, I knew I was in for a spin! Sure enough, Harley whirled around, smack into Echoe. His poor little brain was screaming, "Let's get out of here. They'll kill us all!" Of course, his panic attack spread among the others. Two riders dismounted, Harley, Echoe, and Mack moved away at a controlled jog, although a full-out gallop would have suited them better. We jigged all the way back to North Point, along with a chorus of barking hound as Dash warded off evil wood monsters (who knows what he smelled out there).  We had one short canter with an attempted dash for home, then dismounted to walk down the road. The wind picked up whirling snow devils and leaves, spooking poor Harley. He pranced sideways, practicing dancing like Nijinksy (show his blood relation to great, great, great grandsire Nijinksy II) as we performed haute école moves back to the barn.

Yup a fun time was had by all, the riders, the horses, and even the dog!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Quiet time in the forest

Under grey skies, threatening with snow, Rebekah and I headed out for a jaunt in the woods. Our world is shrinking down as trails freeze up with slippery ice and hard-packed snow. The Orris Falls trails need a fresh blanket of snow or another thaw to soften things. The trails heading up to North Point are relatively good if we avoid the wet/frozen areas. Signs of turkey and deer abound. The oak leaves are all scruffled up where the turkeys have been scrounging for acorns. Deer trails criss-cross through the woods, sometimes following the riding trails. Thankfully, there's not been much ATV action to churn the trails up.

The woods are so quiet this time of year, just the wind whispering through the pines, the occasional chickadee or woodpecker, and wild turkeys. With the temperature hovering near the freezing mark, our toes were frosting up as flurries filtered down through the trees. Echoe broke into a little trot which prompted Harley to start up a little canter. They both felt good, but we had them under control (this time).  No surprise un-seatings today!