Fiona Makes a Friend

I was heading over to Sara’s horse playground today to get some poles for my playground. Fiona and Apache were in the dry pasture (unhappily). As I approached on Hilda the utility vehicle, Fiona began to walk away.

Maybe Suna will open the gate.

I noticed that there was a little bird beside her. How cute, I thought. Then I noticed it was going with her.

Let’s go over here!

I wondered why the heck she suddenly had a bird friend. Then, right before my eyes, I figured it out.

That blob above the poop piles is the bird catching a bug.

Yes, the little starling had figured out that as she walked, Fiona was stirring up bugs, making it easy to catch them. I was charmed as I watched them head out the gate and into the pasture. I guess that will be one sated bird!

While I was over at Sara’s, I watched her work with Aragorn on his playground. It was fun to see all the things he can do. Someday I’ll be able to side pass and all that cool stuff. I did get a nice preview of things I’ll learn in the future, which was a lot of fun.

Her serpentine setup looks much more legit than mine!

I looked to my right as she was riding and realized I was not the only audience member. There were many moos of applause, and I was happy to see Aragorn totally ignoring them, as he should.

That horse is fascinating.

I took all my poles (seen below) and put them in the round pen, for Apache’s future practice. I hope I have time to ride him and check it out tomorrow.

Sara’s fancy circle world, and my poles loaded on Hilda.

An Equine Visitation

Yesterday marked another milestone in working with all the new horses around the Hermits’ Rest and Wild Type ranches. Sara and Aragorn paid a visit to us. After the challenge I had riding Apache over there a couple weeks ago, I was really hoping this visit went more smoothly.

Everybody’s happy (even Vlassic, who hung around for the whole visit)

The lesson I learned was the ole Scout motto of “be prepared.” I thought I was doing a good job by heading out to open all the gates to our pasture, but I had not thought hard enough about the fact that horses are very observant prey animals. I figured Kathleen’s horses wouldn’t even notice Sara and Aragorn approaching and riding toward our barn…until the sound of thundering hoofs told me otherwise. At least it was pretty watching them run, especially Mabel, with all those legs. On to Plan B.

Who’s that cute donkey over there?

So, I told Sara to go on the other side of our fence, and I’d let her in our back yard, since dogs aren’t scary to Aragorn. I hoofed it on to the other end of our area, managed to shut the dogs into the house (yet another minor miracle), and opened the gate. Now, poor Aragorn was far from home, surrounded by weird things, like the pond, and getting distracted. After a bit of circling, Sara got off and led him (she had thought to bring a lead rope, so she was prepared!).

We got over to the horse pens with no further incident. Hooray! Then we were able to have a nice visit, discuss our training progress, our career progress, our families, and normal friend stuff. Since I rarely see others during the day, other than to say hello or goodbye, that was a real treat!

Aragorn is focused.

When it came time to go, I got to watch Sara ride Aragorn for a while, which was fun, since he’s so pretty and strong. I was more prepared for them to leave, because I shut my horses up in their pens, and shut Sara’s up in the outer pen (they had conveniently all come up to see what was going on, which was mighty nice of them).

Making circles.

I was able to go ahead and open all the gates, and Sara had a very smooth ride back home! I think we can do it again sometime! And one day, when I’m allowed to do more than go in circles and figure 8, I can go again, too (at least we’re doing well with the circles and figure 8, and I am happy to take our time).

On their way home

Other News?

At least here at the ranch, there’s not much other news. I needed this weekend to relax as much as possible in preparation for a hard work week, so that’s great. I do think a couple of the new hens have started laying, since I had four eggs this morning, and two were smaller. I hope the colored eggs start soon!

Artistic egg display.

Trixie comes back to work on Drew again today, I’ll get the start date for the pool tomorrow, and I think the other shipping container will show up soon, to complete the pen arrangement. All those things are good distractions from hurricanes, COVID, and other illnesses.

It’s always something, because that’s life! I’ll just do my best to be prepared and keep sending out that lovingkindness to the world.

A Horse Love Story with a Twist: The Whole Thing

[Somehow, most of this post got deleted when I went to publish it before. THIS is the real story!]

I’m excited to have permission to share this story! Yesterday I got to head out to a horse breeding and training facility in our area to visit Sara’s new love interest, a large Andalusian gelding named Aragorn. She met him last week and instantly bonded with him.

True love. (He has sweat marks from being ridden)

It’s a beautiful property, and we were surprised to see a beautiful colt on the road, prancing and dancing like a fairy animal. We said we bet he wasn’t supposed to be there. Sure enough, Glenn, the ranch owner, came running up to get the little guy. He was back in and coming into the barn to eat dinner by the time we got in.

That’s the culprit at right.

All the mares and foals just walk in and line up in stalls to be fed. All so well trained, and the foals were very friendly.

Dinner time!

Aragorn’s current owner bred him, so knows his history. Glenn told us lots about him and was very honest about why he is relatively affordable for a very well-bred European breed. He coughs when anxious, for example.

Getting ready to ride. These horses start our some other color, then turn gray. He looks like he was originally chestnut, like one of the colts above.

Once he got all saddled and we learned a lot about appropriate bits, Trixie showed up, and we watched Sara get a lesson in riding in the style Aragorn is used to. Sara is such a quick learner that I could tell Glenn was having fun telling her stuff and watching her figure out exactly what to do.

Teaching and learning

And, obviously, Sara had a blast as well. I got a lot of photos of the lesson that I’m going to send to her just to study her positioning and stuff, but my favorite pictures have to be the ones of Glenn gesturing, Sara working, and the two dogs who are exactly the color of the dirt, just sat and watched.

This may be my favorite

Just in case you are interested in what Aragorn can do, here are a few more pictures to click or ignore. To be honest, I just like looking at the beautiful setting of this ranch and its facilities. They are nice but not insanely fancy or anything. It’s “just right.”

Trixie has known Glenn a long time, but even she said she was learning some things watching him show Sara things, explaining the origin of the moves in Western dressage, and sharing history of equestrian sports. It was fascinating. And he is such a nice and generous man!

You can see the other geldings behind Sara. They were annoyed that their dinner was delayed.

The Amazing Part of the Story

After the “test drive” in Sara’s tack, we were just talking to Glenn. She asked if he did private lessons, and he said he hadn’t before, since he just retired from being an ER physician. Sara sat on Aragorn for a minute, thinking. Then she asked him, “Were you an ER physician in College Station 21 years ago?” He replied that he was.

When we were chatting (sorry for bad lighting)

She then asked if he remembered a blue roan paint colt named X that he trained. He didn’t quite remember, but said he could look it up. Sara said that was her colt she’d raised to work with before she married her children’s father. She mentioned her married name, and Glenn said that did sound familiar. So, we are pretty sure they met all that time ago when Sara had her precious colt that she had to later sell. Wow!

Back to Work

After we got over our surprise, Trixie got to work and adjusted the heck out of Aragorn. Just like with my horses, he ended up extremely relaxed. It’s always extra educational watching her work with a horse and diagnose where it has structural weaknesses and what could help it. Sara took a lot of notes.

Working on his neck

Meanwhile, I bonded with the dog and looked at all the other beautiful horses. I had no complaints whatsoever, and took lots of pictures of how they arranged their tack house, their tying mechanism and such, for reference when we get to setting up our new one.

Woof the guard dog has been busy guarding. He is very friendly to humans, though.

I knew Sara would like some “glamour shots,” so we went out and took some, even though Aragorn still had the sweat marks from her saddle pad. He is obviously fond of her already. They really had an instant bond, like he’d been waiting his whole life for her to show up.

At the end of the day, we all got to go take a look at the young stallion who was in the paddock next to Aragorn. He is most beautiful, like someone’s dream horse. They are hoping he will have a baby soon from a mare that was brought in to be bred.

I’m doing my trick. Where’s my food?

He’s been trained that he has to stand on that stump to get dinner, because he used to be pushy about his food. He was not thrilled that his food didn’t immediately show up, but he was gentle as a kitten, and apparently is a great riding horse. I’d love to see him in saddle!

The horsie gals.

We were pretty exhausted and sweaty by the time we were ready to go home, but had to take a selfie of us horse lovers in our unplanned coordinated shirts! We are a bit disheveled, but happy. I hope you enjoyed our love story with a nod to the past. I know you look forward to Aragorn coming home to Sara’s property and watching them progress in their skills.