Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Ride

Chilly temperatures and a cold wind made for an exciting ride. All the horses had been in for over 24 hours due to rain and wind. They were dancing to get out today. John and I covered some new territory with Rolex Girl and revisited trails Harley hasn't traveled since last spring!

A new way to wear Jog-a-lite vests!
After mucking out the stalls and donning the blaze orange, we sallied forth. Orris Falls was raging--we could hear the water sluicing through the gorge before we reached the brook. A number of limbs were caught up in the outflow from the pond making it seem scarier than usual for Harley. He did NOT set a good example, but we eventually crossed without too much ado, and Rolex followed close behind.  Every rock and stump gave Harley pause to look closely. He really was just testing me; he's not really afraid of these anymore. If we needed a theme song for today's ride, it would be James Brown's "I Feel Good"!

Rolex has a nice walk, stepping out enough to make Harley (who's only an inch shorter) jog to keep up. Plus, he's afraid of being left behind! Since Rolex is barefoot, we opted for a shorter road ride that would put us on a trail network leading us back to North Point. We haven't been out here all summer due to a reported bee or ground hornet nest. By now, the cold temperatures will have put an end to any activity! We had a nice canter across property where we kindly have access, and thankfully, the German Shepherd wasn't in residence today. Harley has only met her twice, and the first time, scared the bejeezus out of him.

After our little canter, we pulled up for pictures, but Harley kept a wary eye on the house. He jigged a bit on the way home and began grinding his teeth--anxious or excited, I'm not sure which. John and I wondered if he would still do it with the bitless bridle, but since Rolex Girl was wearing it, who knows. I'll try it out on him tomorrow.

Don't we look colorful in all that blue and orange? Man, what a sight coming through the woods! Rolex Girl didn't mind leading part of the way, in fact, she likes being out front, but while we were having fun popping over brooks and logs, we took a wrong turn. She doesn't know the way yet, but Harley got us back on track, grinding his teeth, and prancing up all the hills. In the 3 weeks we've had Rolex Girl, she's adapted amazingly well. Tricky footiing, falling dead branches, large boulders from the last ice age, and assorted abandoned bits of junk don't seem to faze her. She's still not crazy about going through water and getting muddy, but after all, she's a "Rolex Girl"!

Hah! Great sign!
The Nature Trails are great for seeing all sorts of weird things in the middle of the woods, shacks, stacked tires, TV's, lumber, yard furniture, etc. But the best was this crazy sign that gave John and I a good laugh. The folks that own the Nature Trails are quirky to say the least, but the footing is great, they keep the trails cleared, and they give us access. No the TV's aren't exactly picturesque, but it's part of their quirkiness and adds to the local color--fondly known around here as Maine Yard Disease.

Once we made the turn for home past North Point, Harley settled down (no more tooth grinding) and actually wanted to be out in front of Roley. A couple of times on the ride, he'd walk along, quartering Roley, and she does the same. I think it may remind them both of being ponied at the track. What cracks me up is when we stop in this position, and John pulls Harley's head over into his lap and gives him a reassuring rub. I think Harley actually likes this. Roley wasn't too keen on it the first time and pinned her ears. It's a good thing they get along so well since they both like to tailgate one another! Unfortunately, the picture I tried to get of them together didn't come out. Roley isn't one to stand around for too long--she's a go, go, go girl.

Once Harley and Roley were cooled off and fed lunch, we turned them out with the rest of the gang. Everyone was down in the far field, but once I let Harley go, he headed across the pasture at a canter with Rolex following. This stirred things up and soon, all of the horses were trotting, cantering, galloping, bucking, and spinning like an equine dervish. What a sight. Here are a few pictures of the Thanksgiving ruckus...
Gator (at left) wants out--too old for this foolishness, and Vance (at right) is the starter. The runners, left to rt: Echoe, Ruffy, Harley, and Roley
Then, they went up the hill, to start all over again!
The sorority sisters, leading Echoe on, ready for more mayhem...
And once again, they're off!
Ah, what a day for all of us--fun in the sun! And not too much turkey (since I didn't get mine thawed out in time). We'll have ours this weekend, after another adventure.
Oh, and of course, Harley had a nice roll in the mud. Here he is looking like a muddy wild man.
Mustang Harley!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Passing on the Lovely Blog Award

We've been so busy with the new fillies and getting the remodeling done on the home front--I'd forgotten to pass on the Lovely Blog Award from my October 27th posting. So many of the equine blogs I follow have already received this award, so I really had to hunt around the web! Long winter nights should mean lots of extra time, right? Quite the opposite seems to have happened. John and I are out at the barn until well after dark, making sure Harley, Ruffy, and Roley are set for the night. We eat dinner no earlier than 8 pm, and sometimes, as late as 9:30.

So finally, on an early night, sitting by the woodstove, reading blogs, I've found a worthy recipient. It goes to another fellow trail rider/Thoroughbred owner, out having a blast in the Northwest on her mare.
I'd like to pass it on to All Horse Stuff

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The fillies education continues

Rough & Tough (Ruffy)
Ruffy is a little ouchy without her shoes, so we're taking it easy with her. She has such a lovely face and is always looking for carrots in our pockets--a real sweetie. Rolex Girl is settling down too, although she's still spooky if you startle her in her stall. She's s star in the cross ties, standing patiently while I wrap her legs. John spruced up her forelock and her "mohawk" bridle path clip is growing out (picture to come soon).  Vance is in love with both girls and hangs out along the fence line, pining for his loves while the rest of the gelding munch on grass.

We took Rolex Girl on another adventure with Harley Monday afternoon. She kept an even head while working herself out of a tangle of branches. Mucky footing is not her thing, but she's getting better. I rode Harley out front (who much prefers somebody else take the lead) and showed her it was alright. Then, she'd push right past him, stepping out in a lovely ground-eating walk. Poor Harley had to jog to stay caught up with her! He didn't set a good example crossing the brook out to Jepson's, but after 5 attempts, and a threat from John, he decided, "What the heck, I'll never get home otherewise", and quietly walked through, even standing there, ankle deep in water. What a silly guy!Roley still wouldn't go in the brook, but she had to go through numerous mucky, watery spots to get home. Still, only out on the trail 3 times--what a good girl!

John and his girls

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Harley takes his girlfriends for a walk

John rode each of the fillies today. We took them on a little trail ride with Harley who bravely led the way through the water at Orris Falls (about 6 times), but Rolex Girl would have no part of it! Ruffy threw a rear shoe, so her meander was a bit shorter, although who spooked? My fearless 9 year old. We'll take them each out again tomorrow for another walk in the woods.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Turkey Trot Trail Ride

Nina & Harley
Another best birthday ever! John and I took Nina and Harley on a SMART ride today, their last of the season, the November Turkey Trot. With a borrowed truck, a borrowed trailer, and a borrowed horse (Little Nina), we set out for an adventure in the South Berwick hinterlands. And what a day it was.! We had a frosty start, but once the sun cleared the tree tops, the temperatures rose into the high 50's/low 60's. Most of the snow melted, leaving the trails quite mucky in low places, and brooks running with plenty of water. Harley crossed them without a twitch!  He still amazes me, how far he has come in a year and a half.
The trails covered a fair portion of land we've cross country skied, so much of it was familiar. But it's always fun to be in new territory. Without our own trailer, we're limited to the trails in our immediate neck of the woods, although both horses have traveled a far piece on some of our trips.
We got back in the early afternoon, intending to put the horses in the trailer and have some lunch (they served up a Thanksgiving meal!), but Harley decided he wanted no part of getting onto the trailer and after spending a long time (with help and different techniques) trying to load him, we gave up. He actually sat down, rather than stepping up the ramp! He didn't act panicky, just sick and tired us urging him on. Harley looked rather like Eeyore (see picture at right)--just sitting there with an "I've had enough" expression on his face.I took the truck and trailered Nina home, my first time driving a horse trailer, I might add! John put a dry pad on Harley, fetched a dry girth, and hacked him home, reaching the barn at 4:45, just as it was starting to get dark. That dang horse! Looks like we need to spend some time working on trailer loading before we attempt another ride.
End of the ride

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Our 2 new residents are home

 Please check out the girls' new page "The Filly Follies" for more fun!                                                          
Rolex Girl
This Chic's Got It

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The girls arrive tomorrow!

John and Pete are off to Suffolk Downs tomorrow morning to bring home Rolex Girl and This Chic's Got It. I spent two hours getting the stalls ready, the buckets cleaned, and gathering up leg wraps, sheets, and halters for the fillies. This will be a fun winter!