Friday, November 1, 2013

Fall follies

Morning gang waiting for breakfast
We have enjoyed some wonderful fall riding now that the bugs have retreated and the days are cool. Unfortunately, the diminished available riding hours have forced me to give up after work ambles. So we savor our weekends, squeezing in whatever work needs to get done around the house and the barn before the snow flies. I heard northern Aroostook County received their first four inches of the white stuff. Our days are numbered. We still need to replace a fence post before Harley pulls it down with his front teeth. And our "run-in shed in a box" needs the canopy attached. I'm hoping all the horses will accept it as a form of shelter, even claustrophobic Ruffy, so they will have access to protection when the weather is bad and we're stuck at work.

Mother Nature has sent gusting winds our way. It seems we've had days and days of leaves flying through the air. Harley, being his usual silly self, spooks at squirrels, leaves, birds in the bushes, you name it! But I expect this from him this time of year. He's always more than happy to head home at a springy trot. This past Monday, John and I headed home when Rolex stopped and let Harley take the lead--this was a mistake! As we approached the brook at Orris Falls, a runner popped out of the woods and Harley whirled around, spooking Rolex as well, as they began to run away. Thankfully, Rolex pulled up and Harley right behind her--no brakes with that bitless bridle. They snorted and watched the runner trotting along the trail by the beaver pond. Hmm...we'll see what happens the next time I try to ride solo in that neck of the woods.

This time last year, we experienced an earthquake and weathered Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, we had no storm damage. And since we still had no power in the barn due to the "cave-in debacle",  it really made little impact on our daily barn chores. We were used to functioning by flashlight, headlamp, and lanterns. Water was lugged from home in canisters. And adding to the fun--loggers were cutting in the woods and churning up the pastures as they hauled out logs with heavy equipment.

Well this fall brought its own challenges; mostly in the form of vet bills. I found a nail in Ruffy's hoof last Friday night as I did the rounds. Somehow, I'd managed to leave my phone at home--what a mistake. Sixteen miles and forty minutes later, I had spoken with John, and the vet was on her way. Ooooh boy--the x-ray revealed a bent nail curving right up into Ruffy's heel, thankfully missing the bone. She was a stellar patient, even with her sore foot, but she was not happy to be stabled over the weekend! With her buddies romping outside, she was a bit of a handful. John and I hand walked her, although she was feeling good enough to prance around like she was heading to the track. The nice green grass only held her interest for a wee bit.

Whoa, race mare!
Bandages and antibiotics to have done the trick. She felt good enough today to wheel, buck, and canter off into the windy pasture with her buddies. So as I pay off Harley's visit at the five-star spa (aka New England Equine Medical Center), we wait for another bill in the mail for Ruffy's emergency visit.  And the final clincher was buying more hay at a premium price. But I can't complain since it is some of the loveliest hay I've ever seen--a nice clover, timothy, alfalfa blend we purchased from a hay farmer in Buxton. The ponies have sampled it and relished every bite! So much for hopes of maybe attending Equine Affaire...maybe another year.

So all the woes have been a setback in the house-hunting department. But the market slows down in the winter, and this may be a good thing. It will give me time to stash some cash while we muddle through another winter out on Thurrell Road. Much as I love the location and its access to prime trail riding, I would much prefer having the gang in the back yard where we can monitor everything better--and of course, I can go out and give Harley a late-night kiss goodnight!


  1. More excitement for you and your herd! Even though it may seem crazy in the minute, reading about all your adventures sure is fun. So very sorry to hear about that nail. Good grief, how do these things happen? Reminds me of when my friend Karen P's mare got a NEEDLE stuck in her hoof. Buried in the ground, a vestige from livestock from yesteryear needing stitches maybe. So glad it is healing. It is so miraculous sometimes how resilient, overall, these animals are. We've been spoiled with our fabulous October weather--I will hardly welcome the cold with open arms.

  2. Sheesh, that nail sounds really nasty! Glad it didn't have any after-effects.
    Vet bills are an unpleasant side-effect of owning horses. Don't ever, ever try to work out how rich you would be if you didn't have horses. It's just not worth it!
    It's been really warm here, so we still have some flies although thankfully those awful mouches plats are gone, as are the worst of the biters.


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