Monday, July 15, 2013

A Two Fer Saturday and Sunday Slaving

John asked me to give Rolex a ride on Saturday, plus I wanted to get Harley out as well. He seems to have recovered from his fetlock strain--I think he slipped out of his stall one night and whacked his fetlock. So now I shut the door at night rather than use the stall chain so Mr. Klutzy won't hurt himself.

The day was turning hot, so I kept Harley's ride short, just walking, for about 45 minutes. This would also be his first solo ride in over a week, so I was prepared for backing and spin moves. He was actually quite good. We had only one attempted turn for home when he spied a rock in the trail. It had rolled out of the stone wall when the owner had taken down a tree last week. Only one spook at it, and he pranced past it without further silliness. The deer flies and mosquitoes were horrible, even with bug spray and a fly mask...bad enough to make Harley trot a few times towards home. We had one giant spook when a grey squirrel had the audacity to scamper up a tree, but overall, Harley got an A- for his ride. In fact, he did better than Rolex!

I decided to ride our wild child down to Orris Falls. I let her decide where to turn left and right until she stopped and tried to turn for home. She did this twice, once nearly trampling a small white pine to death! She has spent most of her time with another horse on her rides, so this solo exercise was a small challenge for her, our brave girl. Rolex stepped right out in her bouncy walk, so when she throws on the brakes, watch out! The flies drove us both a bit batty, so I kept her ride short too. Once we turned for home, the walk was almost a trot! In her zeal to get back to the gang, she whacked by kneecap on tree--OW! So I paid more attention to give her leg and making her actually turn around the trees than making it a straight dart through the middle! She was fussy from the insects, and not always paying attention to where she was headed, her mind thinking about her mates back at the barn. So her overall grade was a B+. No spooks, even when a big turkey strutted out of the woods into the trail in front of her and trotted away. She just perked her ears at it and decided to follow. Rolex is our most steadfast horse, the least likely to spook, and the most surefooted on tricky terrain. But like all horses, she prefers equine company on her treks.

Sunday was just too hot for riding. So John and I spent the day doing DIY repairs on the barn. While John went to the lumber store, I turned over the manure pile (aargh, my kingdom for a working tractor!) by hand with a little help at the end from John.

 I was dripping with sweat by the time I'd finished and the sun was high in the sky. The horses were snoozing in their stalls under fans, free from bugs and sun.

The fly predators have really paid off. We've had very few flies, even in the manure pile. Unfortunately they don't work on deer and horse flies, but the stable fly count has been nearly nil! I highly recommend them to all.

After a brief lunch, and respite from heat (we needed some time under fans too), it was back to the barn for window work. John tore out some nasty wire and screen mesh that covered this big window and we replaced it with bars. The sheer size made this a bit of a difficult two-person job, but by 7 p.m. we nearly had it done.

Gator's old stall is getting some much-needed revamping and upgrades. We may move one of our horses into this one while repairing other stall floors. The walls need a little more work too,  but one step at a time. We finally had everything cleaned up and put away by around 8 p.m. Another late night at the barn with dinner at nine.

We left the gang, in their usual formation, swishing at flies, wishing the sun would hurry up and go down. They were happy to go outside again by five one the sun was behind the tree line. Tomorrow, more barn rehabbing.

Hot ponies in the evening sun

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like very hard work in hot weather. I don't envy you.
    I'm guessing the flies are worse where you are. Although we have loads of horseflies (little ones & big ones) I've only seen a couple of mosquitos. Apparently they don't like lavender - the smell from all the lavender fields around the place keeps them away from this area in general.


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