Tuesday, February 23, 2016

And our vacation begins!

The snow is melting and the horses are shedding. March is almost here and we've tapped the maple trees. Another winter under the belt.

We're off to a lazy start for vacation. After last year's constant hammering of snow, we're glad to be not be shoveling through knee deep drifts to the manure pile!

The horses have wintered nicely--good coats, nice condition, and sassy! Our feeding regimen seems to work well; lots of high quality hay, a forage balancer, rice bran, and beet pulp. Granted, they have not done a lot except play in the pasture, but spring is just around the corner. So Harley and Rolex, get ready to hit the trails! And Ruffy, there's a driving harness heading your way!

We took Harley and Rolex out for their first trail ride together in weeks. Starting out, things were a little dicey as noise from next door had their attention. But once we hit the woods, the pair settled down and took turns leading the way. A quick turn up the power line eliminated balking and backing at ABC Farm with its menagerie of chickens, goats, and a dog. Better to pass them on the way home! Although I have to commend Harley for walking past their tractor, running with the bucket in the air, a few weeks ago. He gave it a good look, but no silly stuff.

With most of the snow melted, and only icy patches, the trail riding should be really nice soon. Of course, then we'll be dealing with muck, but soft muck is nicer than frozen hard ground.

Now is the time to start looking for some replacement winter boots. I've tried to Shoe-Goo my Mountain Horse Active Riders, but it didn't seem to work. Nothing like walking down to get your horse and having icy cold water seep in around your feet. Ugh!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Harley's vacation ends

Harley thinks he's on vacation, and he might be right. The longer he goes without work, the more of a challenge he can be to ride, especially if we go solo. After three weeks off, I needed to end said vacation!

The last few weeks of January consisted of ice and rain followed by beautiful spring-like weather. I had to keep reminding myself that winter was far from over!

The long warm days convinced me I'd better take advantage of the weather and throw a leg over my horse. Except I admit to being a bit worried how he would be with so much time off. I chickened out riding and opted for a walk down the road instead. This would allow me to "take the lead" and should he be a whirling beast, I wouldn't have to bail off. He stopped almost immediately after we left the barn, but with urging, we made it all the way to the bottom of the hill where he could see, "Ack! Cars!"
After having a good long gander down the road, we resumed walking and made it down to Orris Falls. Not bad for starters. And we ended on a good note.

The next day I decided to ride him. Of course, the wind was howling when I left work. "Oh God, this will be fun" I thought. "Well, worse case scenario, I walk him--again."

While I tacked him up, he had a little lunch and only whinnied once for his girls. And even with the blowing leaves, we managed to reach Orris Falls without a stop. Oh, I watched him think about it as he slyly peered to the left and swiveled his left ear, but lots of leg and reminder tap, kept him moving forward. Unfortunately, the trail under the hemlocks was still quite dicey with lots of pooled water over ice. So we didn't go too far, but it was a trip away from home, all on his own. He only did his racehorse jig a couple of times but came back to a walk nicely. I was proud of him. Heck, I was proud of me! After waffling over whether to ride or not, I was glad of my decision--it boosted my confidence, and Harley's!

The gang being silly

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A little bit of winter--morning mayhem

We finally got a little snow, but only six inches or so, enough to make the horses happy. They love being turned out in the morning to a fresh snowfall. Hi--ooo Ruffy, away! Yes, they are crazy OTTB's and no matter what anyone says, there's nothing like a cold winter morning to bring out the freshness in them.

Harley rear, bucked and kicked until all the kinks were worked out while Vance, stood sedately, observing the mayhem around him. They see me coming with the hay sled signalling it's time to be silly!

I had to keep an eye on their antics to be sure I didn't get clocked. Having my hood up put me at a disadvantage, limiting my visibility. I told John, "You know, it might not be a bad idea to wear a helmet when I deliver hay on days like this!"

And since I haven't ridden this fuzzy beast in weeks, I'm sure the first ride should prove interesting. Lucky for me, and them, lots of turnout gives Harley a chance to burn off some extra energy before I get on him.

Lucky for me, Harley would never make it on the bronc circuit--his bucks just aren't that big. There's Ruffy, in the top right corner after tearing back up the hill for fun.

Ah, things finally slowed down a bit. But Harley and Rolex still want to get Vance into the game.

Winter can't be over yet, although this snow is now nearly all gone except for spots under the trees. Spring-like weather is teasing us and tempting me to go for a ride.