Scenes from a Day

Scenes from today.

Moody morning
Weaving progress
Rode Drew outside the round pen for the first time.
Amazing sunset from College Station Costco parking lot.
Dallas Cowboys manicure.

Humid Winter Days and Hairy Horses Don’t Mix

This was the second day in a row that I mostly did horse stuff. That sure is a fun way to spend a day. But there was a lot of sweat involved. It was extra humid and quite warm today, which was hard on us all, especially Apache.

Horses sweat so much between their butt cheeks that it lathers up. Thanks to Tarrin for this priceless memory.

I do enjoy just hanging out with these guys, even when shoveling poop. But the lessons are even more fun. It’s so educational to work with two such different animals.

This is his beauty before all the sweat.

Drew is making so much progress. The body work seems to have helped, though we think he pulled a muscle something. Probably from all that literal horseplay with Dusty or slipping in mud. He cantered well for Tarrin, though! And I’m really feeling better riding him. We even did a great job walking to the trailer!

I’m different but also pretty. I do like my hay wagon!

Apache then worked and worked. He’s gonna canter under saddle some day, but he has lots of ground work to do. Here’s Tarrin working with him on transitions.

I’m trying!

I have riding exercises to do, too, with both horses. Drew needs to walk while Apache trots the double slalom. This means Drew and I get to leave the round pen! Graduation! Here’s me and Apache doing the exercise.


I’m impressed that you can’t see all his sweat here, but these are screenshots from video as, which may blur the sweat.

Stopping. We look pretty good.

I was impressed that, even though he was tired and getting cranky, Apache kept trying and working. He seemed to enjoy himself.

This is us trotting happily because we were done!

He even did his very best walking around all the scary spots. I’m so proud of us! As a reward Apache got a bath, which he liked. He liked rolling in the dirt when we got home even more!

Before rolling. My beauties.

I hope you got to do something fun today! My fun continues tomorrow, too. We’re breaking in the mobile office!

At Least SOMEONE Got Body Work Today

Whew, I’m sore today! And of course I did all the things I needed to do, which did not help with my bruises and aches. But no, I didn’t get worked on, nor did I remember to fire up the hot tub tonight.

I did remember to enjoy the sunset.

But I’ll live. The fall yesterday was minor, it’s just combined with a couple of Apache bruises, so I’ve had enough. Yes, this sweet spotted fellow had squished my hand in a gate and smooshed my leg into a different gate. And today he conked my jaw with his bony ole head because I’d had the nerve to tie him to the Evil Trailer. It’s good he’s been FINE when I’m riding!

And hey, I enjoyed the first full moon of the year.

So, who got body work? My horses, of course. This has been so good for Drew and Apache, by the way. I credit a lot of Apache’s new capabilities with the work Jackie does.

But wait, before that happened, I had to tidy up the area around the pond.

I don’t see anything that needs tidying.

Mabel was wrong, though, there were two barrels that had blown into the front pond in the recent storms. There was concern that in another storm one would get caught in the culvert and cause the dam to overflow. That would be bad. So I went to move them.

Mabel still doesn’t care.

I forgot to take off my good shoes, but getting the first one out with just a little slipping and sliding in the mud. But the second one was challenging.

What are you doing down there? Do you need any help?

Yes, all the horses and Fiona watched me struggle in what turned out to be borderline quicksand to get the last barrel. My feet kept going down and down. It made a cool sucking sound when I got them out. At one point I lost a shoe. It was messy.

Barrel covered in mud. Horses still not helping.

I tossed those barrels in the utility vehicle and took my shoes over to get washed. I pushed on and then groomed and rode Drew. I sure noticed my hurt elbows doing that! But he needs his daily workout. Apache was filthy so he got groomed as well. He only did a few jumps, though. My arms were too tired.

Made me tired just watching her.

Finally Jackie arrived and I could relax. Well, I’m not sure how relaxing it was, but I sure enjoyed watching her work. And Drew was just the sweetest boy. He truly enjoys his massages and let us know with gently rubbing our faces and so many relaxed sounds.

The wind made my hair and eyelashes look good, too.

He’s doing a lot better, by the way, and continuing with the chiropractic and therapeutic massage will keep his body able to do what we ask it to. Now, as for Apache…

I eventually relaxed.

…he didn’t want to be worked on by the Evil Trailer, so after he got my attention with the above-mentioned blow to the jaw we moved over to the pens. He was so calm even with all the poking and prodding. And that was important, because right next to him was Mabel. Watching.

Hmm. He seems to like human touch?

Mabel watched what Jackie did intently. She pointed out that when Mabel wasn’t watching Apache (and nuzzling him), she watched me. I sat in the lawn chair, and she did not take her eyes off me. How interesting. While she doesn’t let you touch her much, she cares.

I’m a watcher

Jackie thinks that watching Apache might make Mabel more open to body work next time. I thought more about Mabel’s recent progress, and realized that she is now often the first or second horse to approach me. And she seems glad to see me. Plus, she and Apache now are actual friends. They eat and nap together and groom each other. Apache will NOT tolerate that from the other two. This is all such gratifying progress.

I like mares.

I learned so much watching the horses today that it was worth the sore back and elbows. There’s always something you can learn by just watching.

These guys are such good buddies that when they aren’t play-fighting, they can eat touching each other’s muzzles. Apache would have none of that!

Thanks for your concern yesterday. As usual, a sad blog got lots of hits. Have a good weekend!

Moon over Dusty butt!

Sharing a Skill in a Soggy Field

Right after I wrote last night, we had the most intense rainstorm we’ve had since before the drought started. Around 2.55 inches fell quickly as a narrow band passed over. The water came up high enough to require the backup culvert to kick in so our driveway/dam wouldn’t be breached. Whew. The new pond flooded for the first time!

When morning dawned, we were inside a thick cloud of fog. It was ethereal and made everything around here look better! I especially loved to look at the horses sort of looming in the distance.

There were puddles everywhere, and I had a hard time enticing the chickens out of the hen house. Leftover bean soup did the trick and allowed me to gather the egg of the day, which I believe came from Star. You just have to wonder sometimes what goes on inside chickens. Or, maybe it’s better just to not think about those things.

It’s sorta like a space capsule

A few puddles didn’t stop me from working with the horses, who dodged the threat of getting bodywork, because the direction the rain came in made even their covered area full of puddles. It was weird having big wind coming in from the south!

I know the bluebonnets appreciated the rain.

The best part was that my son joined me today and brought his new Christmas-gift helmet with him. He’s helped me groom and worked a lot on the tack room, but not ridden with me before. I lengthened the stirrups on Apache’s previous saddle so he could use it. Finally I figured out how to do that myself!

After practicing some groundwork skills, I showed my son how to mount and turn by demonstrating on Drew, which conveniently gave Droodles and me some time to practice our newest skills. We turned on the forehand and did some mighty fine side passes. Even my son could tell he was going sideways. I was so proud.

Apache was NOT stressed out about this. They both enjoyed each other.

Drew then had to stand petulantly as he was ignored in favor of Apache. He was a very good boy and patiently carried my son around and paid attention to his cues. First, I led them and practiced stopping and starting. Then we put the bridle on, and my son walked Apache in the round pen, trying to get the stopping thing correct. He did well with turning, though. When you’re on your first ride, I’d think it would be hard to relax and say, “Whoa” calmly. Saying, “Easy,” in a calm voice also takes practice.

We will do more practice next week! Now, of course, Apache had to test my son. He ignored the request to turn, and just marched out of the round pen. I got to channel Tarrin and tell my son to shorten his reins, spread them wider and get Apache to stop. And he did!

Thinking about nature helps deal with horse shenanigans.

Then I got to pretend to be Tarrin and take him back in that round pen and do some work. We did the square exercise and a lot of side passing and leg yielding. It was fun for me, because I didn’t have stirrups due to having much shorter legs than a 6’3″ person. I discovered I was leaning forward but fixed that and did well. Hooray, I got to practice something new, too!

I deserve more food.

I really had a lot of fun, even without being able to let the horses trot. I don’t think they wanted to, anyway. They’d been slipping a lot in their pens. Speaking of slipping, Fiona slipped into Drew’s pen as we were getting ready to feed. They began a mud fight, where Drew would go nip at Fifi and she’d kick him. I’m sure it was a ton of fun for Drew, but Fiona looked annoyed, so we got her out of there.

Later, when Lee and I took a walk, there were Fiona and Drew, still picking at each other, but voluntarily, since they had the whole pasture at their command. I do enjoy watching the animals interacting. Thanks to watching them, our walk lasted until the sun (which had barely come out from the foggy clouds all day) started to go down. We got rewarded by some beautiful clouds, which helped me feel better after finding out how much my car repair was going to cost (YOW).

Rural Excitement

Lots of excitement here in rural Milam County today. Mostly good! This morning I got ingredients and made bean soup to use leftover Christmas ham. It was great. No photos. We ate it.

It made me feel on top of the world, like this hill climbing muddy-hooves guy.

I then ran into the mobile office bedroom where I laid out the squares of the blanket or rug I made for my son’s partner’s Christmas gift. I almost got it done in time!

One possible arrangement

The squares are very thick because it’s mosaic crochet. I enjoyed making the squares! I may do a mosaic border, too.

Happy mosaic star.

After a delicious sopapilla coffee and gossip with my friend at Cloud 9 Coffee, I got the horses ready and went for lessons. What’s exciting about that? I DROVE! I successfully pulled the horse trailer to lessons. I wasn’t even nervous, just cautious. I’m so proud of myself becoming more independent.

I was your precious cargo!

The lesson was just as successful. I’m making so much progress, even with Drew and his teen angst. Today I got to deal with his decision that he was done, and I lived! There were also moments of calm and learning. We made a square, turning on the forehand or something like that. It was hard. I DID IT.

When I was done, Tarrin explained how he should be acting. He’s getting there.

My big excitement was riding Apache today. He had us laughing as he tried to avoid trotting over poles. He had us gasping in amazement when he did the corner thing at a trot just like he’d always done it for years. We both were coordinated! I used my aids! I moved him around. It felt good.

I kissed him.

His reward for good work was getting to go through the cowboy curtain, which doesn’t intimidate him one bit. In fact, he seems to like draping the hanging cords across his face when he went through, like it felt good. It made me laugh.

Tarrin said he deserves a blue ribbon

It was just a great day for the spotted one. He even dealt with a scary new trash container like a pro. (It’s behind me.) We are becoming a real team.

What’s this?

More excitement happened on the way home. On our way out we saw a water leak. On the way back it was still blasting away. I wonder if people lost water pressure?


The final excitement of the day was the sunset. Gee whiz it was a spectacular way to end the day. Colors were everywhere in every direction.

Happy exciting Tuesday from rural Texas.

I Could Do Whatever I Wanted to Today

Whee! I’m not supposed to work this week or next Monday (Dell employees get the week off paid plus a year-end bonus, contractors get six days of no pay…well, it’s a job at a good rate so I’m just stating facts, not complaining).

So, what did I do on a day with no mandatory activities? I cleaned my closet and hung clothes up, then cleaned the leftover dishes from last night, even though the house cleaner came today. I guess I don’t want her to clean bonus mess. I’m a wild and crazy kinda gal!

This gift tag from Lee shows I’m the wild and cheery one with a rainbow-farting reindeer!

Then I paid some bills. Whoa, responsible.

Okay. I then spent the entire afternoon having fun! I enjoyed cleaning my saddles and writing in my horse journal. Then I played with Drew for a long time. I made him all beautiful and had a nice time exercising him. We had our best solo ride ever. We are improving!

I’m pretty and so is my tack.

Since I was in no hurry, I took him for a walk around the property that ended with a chance to graze where there is still some green grass (frozen but still green). He seemed pleased with the treat and walked back happily.

I’m shiny!

Then I took Apache out. I won’t say I got him clean, but he certainly looks better. He was itchy where some of the mud was, so he got a lot of bonus rubbing. We had lots of fun, and then had fun exercising. His lateral movement is so much better.

Sara and I decided to ride around, so I bravely rode Apache off to her place. We did just great! We went into her wooded area, which is yet another of his scary places, and he did indeed get antsy. But we got up and down the hill there, and did some tree circles. I was proud of him.

I got to see my beloved Spice. I just wanted to go see her.

On the way back, along the exact same trail we took to get to Sara’s, he kept breaking into a jog and acting like he forgot I was there. So I repeatedly reminded him, just like I’d been practicing. By gosh, he settled down and walked to the gate and was calm once I got off to walk back. He’s making great strides.

I hope he didn’t do too much today, but I happen to know the horses have been running and playing a lot the past few days, so it’s not like he was confined to a stall the whole time it was cold.

I hope to get to do horse stuff every day this week. I think the weather will hold out. Today was great! All I needed was a long-sleeved sweatshirt!

I’m still cold.

Happy Boxing Day and first day of Kwanzaa or whatever you’re celebrating!

Not Too Bleak Midwinter

Ooh doggies, it was nippy today. It wasn’t that cold, really, but the wind was fierce. And it kept drizzling all day. What a great day for horse lessons, right?

That’s a big NO from both Apache and super-bundled Tarrin.

It hadn’t felt too bad in the morning, but it got worse and worse. By the time Tarrin got to my house, I think she was glad to go in the tack room and warm up a bit. I needed to defrost from scraping the layers of mud off Apache. He literally had mud balls hanging from his mane and scattered across his coat.

But look, I’m a magnificent steed, he says. There is still mud on him; don’t be fooled.

That was the least pleasant grooming session I can remember. And he was not a happy guy at first. As you can see, he was physically great. But mentally he appeared to be elsewhere.

Magnificent steed, magnificent steed, going where I please…

It was pretty hilarious when I rode him. The wind was whipping through my layers and my teeth were chattering, but I soldiered on asking him to walk briskly then stop, a thing he is normally fine with. Nope.

No one said it would always be fun. Here he’s backing up. Again.

He got to do it a lot until he deigned to stop like he should. Then he got to do something else. Hooray. Funny boy.

Drew would like it to be his turn. Note that I, too, am bundled. The wind whipped through even my heat-reflecting layer.

That’s Drew in his new fancy rope hackamore that Tarrin re-tied after I botched it. Knots are not either of our strong suits. It’s pretty, though! I now know how to loop it and stuff. What a cowgirl.

You HAD to buy a bit, Suna?

It was not ideal to learn to use the new bridle and two pairs of reins with frozen hands, but now I figure it will feel great when it’s nicer outside. Drew was very patient getting his chin strap put on (it came from my surplus collection from when I got the trailer, so it doesn’t match yet), then with me putting the bridle on and off repeatedly.

I’m tired of the fiddling, says Drew. I’m jealous of those mittens, says Suna.

Drew was way more cooperative than Apache, since he’s used to riding in bad weather. We even side passed better. I’m working on reins, but getting there. It’s fun learning with him. He tries and so do I!

The picture of endurance. Thanks for the photographic proof, Tarrin!

After Tarrin got to go home, we took a road trip to look at yet another potential mobile office for Lee. The weather was spooky. That’s what got “In the Bleak Midwinter” going through my mind. It was gray on gray.

Nonetheless the day was saved by the treat of going to dinner at the famous German restaurant in Wahlberg. We hadn’t been in years. I sure enjoyed my Hefeweizen and the sauerkraut. Ahh.


The place wasn’t too crowded, so it didn’t feel all germy and they had a huge fire in the fireplace. I even enjoyed the Wahlberg Band, which featured much excellent yodeling. No, honest, it was good! What a pleasant change of pace.

Time to yodel!

Tomorrow should be sunny, so it won’t be so bad riding and exercising. Maybe Apache will act like his mature self! If not, I’ve always got crochet and football.

PS: hi to my step-sister and spouse. Loved your card.

Roller Coaster of Love

I didn’t take pictures of the wonders of today, so check out my very silver nails. They nearly blind me.

I was wondering if the highlight of my day was going to be learning about a new kind of moth, the plume moth. These look like flies, but nope, they are weird looking tiny moths with small, plumed wings. I’m not sure what kind the one that flew into my napkin was, but it was cool.

I like it when new-to-me species just show up and present themselves.

It turns out, though, that I’m on a LOVE HIGH this evening, after feeling like my emotional roller coaster of horse love plummeted. After struggling with teen Droodles yesterday, I wasn’t looking forward to today’s lesson. Plus it was raining.

But, we showed up anyway, and I got lots of good information on how to deal with anxious and boundary-testing youngsters. Tarrin told me I had to be tougher and not let him do stuff just to try to get through stuff. That’s what I did at Sara’s, not wanting to delay her filming. I should have stopped and worked with Drew until he was calm. Next time!

Then we worked with him, and that’s when the roller coaster started heading back up. I got some stuff figured out during ground work, as Tarrin kept reiterating that if he messes up, nothing’s wrong with performing a reset and starting again.

She got on and repeatedly stopped and started as he fussed around. In the end he looked great, and she said he was much better than last week. My work with him had helped!

I wasn’t looking forward to getting on him and struggling to make progress. But I got on! And lo and behold, we calmly walked three barrels in small circles. Then we did bigger circles. Wow!

I kept stopping every time his head went up or he started to go off track. By the end, we were smoothly trotting the circles. Tarrin asked how the last one felt, and I said, “It felt like riding a horse!” I was thrilled.

After improving our hill climbing circles with me on him and doing better on side passing and leg yielding, we very calmly walked back to the trailer, even though one of Tarrin’s horses was in our butt. It felt like riding Apache in a place he feels safe. It was fantastic. What a roller coaster. Patience paid off.

We also made him much happier on the ride home with a longer trailer tie and hay to eat. He pooped less. I’m so grateful that Tarrin helps me problem solve. I want to give Drew and Apache good lives and that helps.

My reward

Ready for more ups and downs!

Droodles Has Teen Angst

Sara and I had this great idea to film our Functionality test for the delayed Winter virtual show for Working Horse Central this morning. Yep, the day after Drew and Aragorn worked hard on the in-person show. Great idea. It’s a good thing we had no time pressure and good humor, because we had some challenges and neither horse was enthusiastic about doing more fancy stuff. Droodles had a lot to say about it, too.

At least I had another outfit I could wear. and Drew looks happy here.

To start things off, I went to the trailer to get Drew’s fancy halter and saw a saddle in there. Uh, was my saddle there all weekend? No. It was Sara’s. So she had to drive over to get it.

Drew and I had a calm warmup and nice walk over to Sara’s. But that boy just can’t settle down over by her dressage arena (no, nothing fancy, but it works great thanks to her creativity). My horses just don’t like their trees or something, because I’ve spent hours with Apache over there. Once Drew got wound up I could not help him settle down. He pitched a fit and tried to buck and spin. Joy.

We were also challenged by the fact that we didn’t have any place to tie whichever horses weren’t being filmed, so we had to monitor the Pevo filming software and hold two horses.

Sara’s two get along fine. They were no problem with Drew’s filming. He was the problem. He spooked at a tree and was not able to act normally. We tried once and I ended up cussing at him on video. He wouldn’t slow down, wouldn’t turn right, kept bumping me (he does that when nervous), and acted like a surly teen. It was no fun. As they say, you ride the horse that shows up (or lead it in this case).

But Drew and Aragorn aren’t overly fond of each other so Sully’s filming was not easy. She at least did her bit in one try. Blue ribbon time for her—no matter what little issues she had, at least she was compliant!

The challenge when Aragorn was filming (which took three tries—Sara and Aragorn each had an oops) was that Sully and Droodles like each other, so Drew was hormonal and wanted to be in her face or nibbling on her. I could just imagine her getting irritated and backing into the arena, or him bumping the tripod and messing up the filming. But, we did it. Aragorn looked good for being tired.

Was that the end of Drew’s teen angst?

Oh, you wish, Suna.

So, no, Drew was not done. I had a heck of a time getting his normal halter back on, but he did walk nicely to the cabin. The problem is that there’s an old gate there we have get through. Cows have apparently been stomping by the cattle guard and pushing on the gatepost. The post now leans, so to unlock it, you have to push up with one hand and use your other two hands to open the rusty hook that locks it shut. Oh wait, I only have two hands.

Thus, when closing the gate, I turned Drew loose to eat grass, like he had done all day (he eats frantically when nervous). As I finally got it locked, Droodles decided grass was not interesting. Cows were.


He galloped over to look at the cows. Then Sara drove up, as she was coming to get the grooming bucket she’d also left in our trailer. Off Drew went with tail flying. He ran back and forth at the edge of our pasture, having spotted his buddies. Then he got tired and just waited for me at the gate. I hope he had fun.

You’re sure slow, Suna. I’m right here waiting.

Geez. But, I just laughed and took him back to his pasture…the long way. Yeah, I’m the human leader here.

I just wanted my dang hay.

Little does Drew know he has another lesson tomorrow. And there’s a chance we may have a chance to record the other part of the virtual show. Now, I’m thinking Drew’s behavior had reasons. He was NOT happy in the trailer yesterday. He pooped so much that even shavings didn’t make the footing good. He might be tired from the long trailer ride, too.

I’m sure I’ll hear lots of ideas for how I can deal with this better than I did! There’s always room for improvement.

Despite Obstacles, Drew and I Prevailed!

Woo hoo. Today was the last in-person horse show for the inaugural Working Horse Central year. Droodles and I showed up and did our best, though I wondered if we would sometimes.

Up so early.

First, I brilliantly set my alarm clock for 5:30 am. But on weekdays. Oops. It’s Saturday. At 6am I woke up. That gave me 15 whole minutes to get dressed and get Drew ready. I was pessimistic. But I’d laid out my clothing ahead of time, and Drew was waiting at the gate when I walked up. We were there when Sara pulled up in the trailer!

Some contestants were into the holiday spirit.

Second, Drew pooped all over the trailer and got it so slippery he was afraid to exit. Luckily I had a bag of shavings in the storage area. We spread it around. That helped him and Aragorn exit. I need to make the trailer floor less slick. Ideas?

I loved this Santa hat that fits over a riding helmet.

Drew really doesn’t handle trailering well. So he was covered with poop when we arrived. I cleaned him as well as I could with no soap. He was still stinky. All the horses were sweaty though, so he fit in.

The next challenge was me and my inability to jog for very long. I was worried that I’d have to walk both of my tests. But other than sweating a lot, considering it’s December, I was all right. I just walked when I needed to.

In the end, I made a couple of mistakes, Drew did a couple of things less well than he’s capable of doing them, but we enjoyed ourselves for a horse and human who hadn’t practiced!

Yay us!

It was lots of fun supporting the other folks in the show. They also work so hard and try to make good decisions. I’d encourage anyone around here who wants to learn new skills in a supportive environment to join us next year!

Many ribbons were handed out!

Sara and I enjoyed traveling together, too. It’s so good to have a neighbor to do the shows with. It’s also inspiring to see how hard she works with her horses and her great progress!

I’m so happy Tarrin set up all these shows. It’s so good for us all.

something poetic

(formerly The Lost Kerryman)

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