Today is so beautiful I just had to go out and enjoy it. Just gazing across the fields and watching butterflies flitting among the flowers lowered my blood pressure. The Hermits’ Rest is beautiful this time of year.
I’m still carefully taking photos of each new plant that starts blooming. Each new one makes me smile, no matter how familiar they are. I love watching the year progress. Here are some new arrivals.
The day was so nice I decided to groom whatever horse showed up. Dusty won the prize and got a nice de-shedding. He’s almost finished shedding and is looking shiny. Even his poor little mane is growing in, and his Drew bites are healing. They still play a LOT.
After he was all pretty, we went for a nice walk/graze. He had fun and got some big clumps of grass taken care of. I exercised him by having him walk over poles. He then helped out by cleaning up around them.
Things have really improved since last week! The magnesium supplements seem to have helped the riding horses settle down, too. Drew especially seems more focused.
I wish I felt better. The toes are not getting better, so riding hurts. I can’t even wear my excellent new shiny flip flops. I’m glad my Skechers flip flops don’t make them hurt much.
Lucky for me my nails are good. I can make them as gaudy as I want to. I put a “jelly” layer over cute little flowers. Then I stuck shiny stuff on there. Hey, everyone needs a hobby.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
…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.
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.
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 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.
Thanks for your concern yesterday. As usual, a sad blog got lots of hits. Have a good weekend!
Hey all – thanks for all the support from yesterday’s post. I sure appreciate the empathy and ideas. You all rock.
Today it’s rainy and cold PLUS both Lee and I seem to have come down with something. I haven’t been sick since LONG before COVID, so this is a surprise. It feels like strep throat (isn’t COVID, says my test), but of course it came on after the local clinic closed for the weekend. We did go out for a very nice dinner Thursday night in the “big city” of College Station, so maybe we ran into a germ there.
The original plan for today was to have horse lessons for both my guys then take Drew back home so it could be another horse’s turn to go into training. Instead, things took a different turn. I went out to feed the chickens a bit late, due to the sore throat, only to see a whole lot of horse poop everywhere that isn’t fenced in for the dogs. Then I heard a greeting nicker. Mabel was saying hi from the little pond.
That explained the horse poop. I went to check the gates and was a little startled to see someone blending into the front-end loader.
Yes, the side gate had been opened by some clever equine. I was relieved to see the equine I usually blame for these things (Apache) and Fiona standing under the shed to keep out of the wind. Whew. I only had to wrangle two horses in my sickly state. Even better, Dusty and Mabel had decided it was too cold for them and were already coming back.
That was the easiest horse herding I ever had to do. They just walked back in. From the looks of the poop piles, they’d been out all night and were done. Of course, they pooped right by the tack room, in front of the hen house, etc.
Lee and I then hurried over to Tarrin’s to get Drew, but it had started to rain there by the time we arrived. There was no chit-chat or ceremony as we let him in and headed back. They got more rain than us, at least so far. But my boy is home and got the expected greeting of sniffs from everyone but Apache, who had to remind him he’s in charge. Apache needs a new boss.
About the new saddle
I got more questions than I expected about the new saddle I got for Drew. The reason I got a new one when I already had a fairly new one is that we are concerned about keeping Drew’s back healthy. Because he was ridden by large people when he was very young, he has already developed some arthritic areas. He also has a narrow torso and short back (basically, he’s a small horse). So, a standard saddle probably isn’t best for him.
Tarrin recommended a type of saddle made by DP Saddlery in Alabama that is good for both short-backed horses and those with back issues. The cool thing about their Quantum line is that it is a blend of the two most common ways of building saddles. It’s like the best of both worlds. It also comes in lots of different sizes to fit different horses and riders, so I could get one with shorter stirrups and the correct seat for my size.
So, there are lots of kinds of saddles, but in the US, most are either Western or English style (there are Australian ones, side saddles, and such, but these are the main two). A Western saddle is, generally speaking, built on a rigid and sturdy wooden frame called a tree, which is then covered with padding and leather. They usually have a saddle horn to stick your rope on, longer stirrups, and more covering of the horse. There are many variations, depending on what you do with your horse (roping, barrel racing, general ranch work, etc.) but they look similar. They are tough!
And English saddle is smaller than a Western one and built on a flexible tree with a lot of padding (flocking). It doesn’t have the saddle horn or the long stirrups. It’s used for jumping, dressage, and many other activities.
My saddle (as well as the first one I had) is a hybrid between the two types. It’s their Quantum model (the link explains all the features, so I’m not gonna do it here). The top has all the expected appearance of a Western saddle, including decorative tooling on the leather, a horn, and a padded seat (mine is called a Western dressage seat). The underparts are English, though, and it’s fastened on with an English cinch instead of a Western one (uses buckles). I could have gotten a similar model with Western rigging (as they call it) but that one was sold and the one I bought was the closest to my ideal that I could get without special ordering, which would take months.
This hybrid saddle doesn’t touch the spine of the horse at all, and has padding where it does touch. Plus, it comes with a giant allen wrench that lets you make the saddle wider or more narrow.
Tarrin adjusted it a few times yesterday to find what works best. As it gets broken in, it can be adjusted more, too. That is a very cool feature.
Combined with the new dark gray saddle pad I got, Drew should feel as comfortable as possible, given that he’ll still have a big ole person up there.
I better like this saddle. It’s an investment, but if it saves future doctor bills, it may pay for itself!
Since I feel so sick, I think I’m going to go read all about saddles at the links below. You can, too, if it’s remotely interesting to you.
DP Saddlery – this page tells you how the saddle I got adjusts.
I was excited to see the storks visiting again, then I noticed one of the beaks trolling the shore was not black and looked sorta funny. Whoa. It was pink!
I’ve only had one visit from a spoonbill before so this made me smile. I remember looking at one up close at the collection at College Station but I’d rather see them live! I guess this one had just joined up with stork pals for a while.
It was beautiful to see them all fly off, too.
What a happy ending to a day that was already fun.
Why was today fun?
No, not because I did my favorite work task, building an e-learning video. It’s because it was Dusty’s turn to star in a horse activity, and it’s fun to watch him bask in the glow of attention.
Sara needs to practice trimming hooves, and Dusty had four that needed attention. So she brought all her equipment over and worked on our old buddy.
Sara is doing so great, too. As I expected, she is learning fast. It only took her an hour to do the trim, which is a big improvement!
She had a lot more training to do, but she’s well on her way. Dusty did fine and was quite the gentleman. He had to rest his feet some, but that gave Sara a break, too. We were all happy with the results.
It’s just so fun to watch my friend learn and hang out with my horse buddies.
Life does not suck right now. It’s good, in fact. And it’s getting better! Woo hoo! Enjoy some more hoof fixing photos!
Hey, I skipped a blogging day. It was both busy and sorta boring. But I’m almost finished making the squares for my little macho camouflage blanket! I used my time wisely!
Yesterday I had lots of fun and learned many new things as Bonnie, the equine dentist, came over to float the teeth of all the horses here (that’s what they call dental work, floating). Everyone was due except Mabel, but I was concerned that she still might need more work, so all got looked at.
I was really impressed at how Bonnie climbed up on the fence and set up a pulley system to hold the horses’ heads up and keep them still while she looked at them. It worked so well! I was also glad that the fence rails didn’t collapse, as they are still just temporarily welded on and a few of them have fallen down. Can’t weld until the drought is over and the fire danger is lower!
Drew went first. He is such a well behaved little guy. The main concern with him is a cracked tooth he’s had since we got him. Bonnie had looked at him last year when he was in training with Tarrin, so she knew about it. The good news is that the crack looks like it’s not getting worse and will grow out. She declared that Drew has a “good mouth.” Let me know what you think!
To safely take care of their teeth, the horses need to be mildly sedated, which means you can do all kinds of fun and funny things with them. But the sedation keeps them from getting all upset and keeps Bonnie safe when she’s digging around back there in their molars. When Drew was done, he had a nice nap.
Apache was next in line. He just marched himself into the pen without me haltering him. I was impressed. We have mad a lot of progress in that area!
His teeth were pretty good, too, just due for a tune-up, because his bite had gotten slightly wonky. I’m glad they are in good shape, because I want him to have good teeth as long as possible. Bonnie said horses that are in pastures tend to have better teeth, because they eat a wide variety of textures and don’t get all dried out from not moving their mouths. Interesting fact: horses don’t salivate unless their mouths are moving. That’s another reason not to force them shut with nosebands, I guess. Dry mouths lead to dry innards and bad digestion or ulcers. I say let them move! Eat grass, my friends!
Mabel stood over by Dusty, and I swear she was telling him stories about last time she got hers floated with the manual rasp. But, Dusty is such a good boy that he stepped up like a man to have his turn. He was a bit more of a challenge to work with, since he hadn’t been worked on in a while. It’s important to keep their jaws in good shape, because it’s connected all over the place and can keep them in pain or out of balance. We suspect that is part of Dusty’s reluctance to be ridden. His work was the main reason I had Bonnie come by, because Tarrin had strongly recommended he get his teeth worked on before doing more with him.
It’s good that he was so woozy, because he had a lot of work done. He has a broken molar, but the good news about that is that it broke off cleanly and shows no signs of infections. He can live with it. He also had really pointy canine teeth that were probably causing discomfort. Did you know the canine teeth in horses are the only ones that don’t keep growing their whole lives? Yep. So, now that this one has been clipped off and smoothed (after the photo was taken), he will feel a lot better.
Dusty’s teeth will need more work next time, but they are more balanced and he will be able to bite off grass a LOT better. That will help him gain some weight. And his chewing will also be better. I don’t think he really appreciated any of this, because neither he nor Mabel would come up for dinner later in the day.
At first I hadn’t intended to get Mabel’s teeth done, since the vet had done it when she last choked. But I’m glad I did, because she needed a lot more detail work than the vet gave. She has some imbalances that were probably hurting her and aren’t completely fixed yet, but will improve over time. Some teeth had grown really long and were pressing down on others. Now she’s more even. And she also had a tooth removed.
She was very well behaved, too. All the horses impressed me with how well they handled the dental work. Bonnie said they obviously were handled a lot and trusted people. That’s saying a lot about how far Mabel has come from when she first arrived!
Here’s an interesting fact. I think we now know for sure how old Mabel is. Bonnie said people had labeled her as 5 from looking at her front teeth, but the back teeth very clearly placed her at 10 years old. That makes more sense to me. There had to be some time for her to accumulate some of her issues. Now we just hope we can make her more comfortable!
We talked a bit about weight management on the thin ones and I got some suggestions for inexpensive things to add to Dusty and Mabel’s feed that will put on a bit of weight and give them some amino acids without being quite as expensive as what I give Drew. I’ll go over all that with Kathleen and we will decide where to go from here on that.
I’m glad that the whole tooth situation is under control. I think that one more trim on their feet will get both Dusty and Mabel ready to start more work building muscle. I’m hoping Dusty can be one of Sara’s practice horses for her farrier certification, but in any case, we’re hoping Trixie will be able to make it next week. We are on a shorter schedule for a while, so Apache and Kathleen’s two can get all set. Drew, of course, has perfect feet to go with his perfect mouth. He’s like one of those incredibly healthy mixed-breed dogs, I guess, just full of heterozygous vigor!
I love them all and it makes me very happy to provide good care and love to these sweet creatures.
It’s been a hard summer for the horses. Not much grass, much heat, not as much attention as last year. But today has been a good one! To start, I was able to get out early enough to give all the horses nice baths. I know Dusty was happy. He’s such a level-headed dude, but he liked the suds. And he ended up looking fine, considering his scratches from trying to eat on the other side of the barbed wire in the new pasture.
Mabel really needed the bath, because she was covered in salt crystals from sweating. She’s sure a lumpy thing, but I got lots of excess hair off her and cleaned her sweet face. She is now shiny, especially her tail, which almost looks normal again. She was so patient as she waited to dry off, too.
Drew is looking pretty ragged these days. He’s a busy boy. Somehow he got a big owie on his belly. I treated it so flies won’t get in it. But he enjoyed the suds and drank a lot from the hose. I used enough purple shampoo on him that I think his tail looks whiter. The parts of him that aren’t nicked up are soft and shiny.
Apache and I went for a nice ride before his bath. He still seems a little sore, so we mostly walked and practiced transitions. He’s doing so well now with riding around. It’s so fun. And of course he loved his bath. His mane looks so white now and I got all his brown dirt spots off.
What he didn’t like was waiting while he dried. He stomped and complained. To make his point, he pooped right after I’d cleaned all the poop up from the grooming area. Message received! But I didn’t want him rolling while wet, which he loves to do.
After all that pampering, they got another surprise. The hay ring got set up. I’m told Drew and Dusty ran up and immediately started chewing.
Then the gate was opened! Freedom! Grass! Excitement!
I hear that Apache, Mabel, and Fiona exited rapidly, but Dusty and Drew stayed with the dry old hay.
What made me laugh was that they all barely left the area. They found grass and stopped.
Eventually they found other grass and figured out how to cross the trenches for the electric lines (they will get filled in next week). These are some very happy horses. And the grass isn’t so green it will be a problem!
Of course, ya get thirsty eating all this grass. I love this one!
I hope your Sunday was as good as the one these guys enjoyed!
Wow. It’s been a really long time since I did anything with the family. Between COVID and family stresses, I’ve been on my own. So it was a pleasant surprise to have Kathleen coming back. More pleasant was a visit from her daughter-in-law, Moriah, and her baby Oaklynn (recipient of one of my baby blanket series).
I’d intended to go do a Master Naturalist thing today, but a ladies’ trip sounded more fun. Besides, I’d missed doing stuff around Cameron with anyone. (But I’m grateful for Anita and the Austin book group for some feminine company.)
So we got in Moriah’s car and headed to exotic Calvert, Texas, home of many cute shops and houses. Less than half an hour from Cameron, this little town has done what I wish we could. Dang, it’s been renovated well.
We had a great meal at the beautiful Calvert Hotel. It’s so well done and you get free wine with your meal. I had a great burger with bread and butter pickles on it. Mmm. Other than a lady insisting on touching the baby, it was a great time. Here are some pictures.
Then Kathleen and I shopped some in the stores. One with lots of colored glass really had nice stuff. I got some purple glass for my bathroom.
A visit to Calvert is not complete without checking out the En Geddes winery store. We enjoyed a wine flight and snacks, along with good conversation with the owners. I got my favorite sparkling wine, which they’ve almost sold out of it and the freeze killed a lot of the grapes.
I enjoyed all the wildflowers on the roadside. At home we have a couple new ones things to look at, like monarchs, carpenter bees, and false dandelion. The giant earth ball mushroom keeps growing, too.
When we got home we decided to ride horses. Kathleen groomed Mabel, but decided not to ride her due to a hoof issue.
I rode Apache and practiced all our stuff. He started eating grass and yanked the reins out of my hands. Then he stepped in them. Luckily his jumping wasn’t too bad. I got off and had a firm word with him. Very firm. He did fine after that. Yay me.
It was nice to see Kathleen back on Dusty. It had been six months. It will take a while to get her muscles back. Moriah hadn’t ridden in years, but she got on. Good for her.
She rode, and that’s what counts.
All in all, we had fun. a good ladies day. We even went to the CAB (Central Avenue Bistro) for the first time in ages. Lee won’t eat there. Ha. He missed Tom Petty songs.
We had a fun morning today, as Sara and I took our new and improved horses on a trail ride, along with Dusty, who’s not been out for a while, but was ready for fun. Sara’s his-daughter, Rachel, who is visiting this weekend, came with us.
They brought Aragorn and saddles over here to get ready. I’d already done all Apache’s schooling and had him ready to go. I’d groomed Dusty, but he is shedding mightily, so more grooming was good. He likes it.
Sara and I rode around and practiced things while Rachel got used to Dusty in the round pen. Aragorn would not go over my low OVC pipe jumps. All the pipe and fencing on the other side made him concerned. I don’t blame him.
Apache had an episode when I first got back on him. I guess he thought he was done for the day. So I let him back up for a while and eventually got him doing circles and going around barrels. Yay me.
The ride went well, with Aragorn having lots of gate-opening practice and Dusty challenging Rachel by wanting to go back. She handled it, though! Since I’d been having my own fun with Apache, I just admired everyone else dealing with whatever horse they got.
We got to the entrance to the bottom pasture only to find there was an electric fence in front of the gate. So we trudged back. I’m sure the horses were thrilled. As we got out, the tenants showed up and said they’d take the fence down. That was nice! Back we went.
We did pretty well with the challenges of the big pasture. Apache crossed a muddy spot just great and might have crossed the stream, but the other horses said no. I’m really proud of how I handled Apache wanting to go back and acting nervous. We did all the things I wanted him to do after a bit of leg action. Yes, I did it!
When we got back, we had the obligatory Fiona photo opportunity. I have missed having guests and doing that! I sure was impressed with how Rachel dealt with Dusty, who did some rearing and scooting.
I had planned to wash horses after riding, but my new horse washer won’t attach to the hose. I’ll ask someone for help later. It was challenging to wash Apache since the only hose I can use is next to the shipping container that has been emptied out, but I did it.
I left him out to dry for a while, since I had to move Remington back to the right pasture (he had escaped earlier when I didn’t latch a gate well enough and he wanted to be with Dusty. So how long do you think it took after taking off his halter for Apache to roll?
I had a little extra horse time today, so I decided to groom Dusty, the Buckskin Buddy that Kathleen rode the most. He’d been looking lonely. Plus they are all shedding.
We groomed a long time. He is much lighter now, and his mane and tail are all shiny. He is even growing some forelock back in after it was just a nub for a while. I could tell he enjoy it.
Just for fun, we went on a walk and into the round pen. He immediately picked up a nice trot and kept going until I asked him to stop. Then he went the other way, also just fine.
To my surprise, when I encouraged him, he picked up an easy canter, not the uncontrolled one I sometimes get from Drew. It was fun to watch him looking so good and enjoying himself. I think he likes his current rations.
After I put him away, Drew came out to play. His mane is so pretty. More important, so is his behavior. His jumps looked great, and he stopped when I stopped, then trotted when I jogged. Yep. He’s great at home. Even sidepassed both ways.
When we were done practicing things, we went for a nice, relaxing walk around the property. I let him have a grazing break near the arroyo and just enjoyed his shiny hair above his hooves. The walk back was just great. We had a great time.
Apache was thrilled not to have to go trotting in circles again today, so we were all happy!
In spring news, the swallows are back, swooping around. And I’ve never seen or heard so many cardinals. So pretty.
And to end the day, here are some pretty flowers Dusty and his friends sent yesterday, just to brighten your evening or day.
You’ve probably read that I’ve been having some trouble with my Paint horse, Apache, and having him not responding well, with him having an abscess, etc. it’s seemed like two steps forward and one step back. One reason I got Drew is to have a horse I can enjoy riding without struggle.
Now that we have everyone over at our place, I wanted to try riding Apache here. But I did some tests on him.
I started the day with the horses by just walking him around in his little pasture. I wanted to see what Drew would do. He followed us around curiously. So, I took the halter off Apache and put it on Drew. He walked with me just great! He had very good manners. Apache followed, but didn’t force his way between us. It was great!
After a hot afternoon of raking huge piles of grass and putting them in the front-end loader’s bucket (don’t ask why), Kathleen and I wanted to ride. I warmed Apache up on a nice long lead, and he was okay, not great. But still, I put his saddle on, in addition to his pretty new side pull bridle.
While we waited for Kathleen to get help with her persnickety old saddle, I got on and rode Apache around, to see how he would do. Um. Wow. He was fantastic.
We rode over by the cows, checked out the pond, crossed the driveway, and really bothered the poor dogs. But wow, he did so well. He didn’t act upset or nervous. He then stood quietly at least ten minutes while I talked to Kathleen and Dusty.
Fiona was also good. When Kathleen and I were out, she didn’t act up or run like a crazed ass. And she came right in when we were done.
I was proud of Apache for helping Dusty and Kathleen figure stuff out, but at one point he’d had enough of mosquitoes and did not want to keep going. I listened to him and got off. He was so happy and friendly and good.
We both seem relaxed and happy. Plus, Drew was calmer this evening, too. We are all making progress. I was almost in tears after the ride. I have my horse back, and my new fellow is a real peach.
PS: we watched Apache and Remington mutually grooming for a long time this afternoon. It’s just so nice to see how well all these equines are adapting to their new surroundings and herd. Sometimes things actually work out well! All good.