Lessons Learned, More Positive

Yesterday’s lessons learned were pretty hard to take, but I’m doing better today, other than being a bit overly warm from outdoor activities, dealing with a sore foot, and realizing I am developing swimming muscles thanks to some sore thighs. I survived five straight hours of work meetings, too, so I feel like a marathoner. Who would have known?

Fiona’s exercise routine

Today I learned lessons on both my horses. What a great thing it was that Tarrin was able to come HERE and do lessons! She went to Sara’s and did her horses, then came here. Nice.

I was pretty danged hot.

Having lessons on our property was especially helpful with Apache because we could work on his problem areas here at the ranch. And work we did! I am feeling really good about our relationship and can see that I am making a lot of progress with him. It only takes poor Tarrin a hundred times to tell me something before I get the hang of it, but I am getting there and starting to be much better at correcting him before he gets a chance to try to get out of doing what he’s asked to do.

I’m proud of me, too. But tired.

I’m also much better at not letting myself get upset or feel out of control. This is making all of us happier! We walked back and forth all over the front field like pros, and even did well in the “scary” dry lot pasture going away from home. Coming back, we did a thing where he got to have nice, loose reins as long as he walked calmly, but if he started the squirrelly stuff, he’d have to make circles whether he wanted to or not. I think I gained a lot of confidence doing that and he figured out I was not going to quit. In the end, he calmly walked back to the tack room. Tarrin and I were both pleased. I’m glad she is going to come back a couple more times in June.

I am so displeased that the training lady found out where I live that I THREW my food on the ground!

Drew got a workout, too. We spent a lot of time on right turns. While I was out working on the turns, I finally remembered Zoolander was the guy who could only turn in one direction. My mind isn’t totally going after all!

I can turn both right AND left. When I want to.

I now have many more tools in my toolbox to deal with Drew leaning into me. We will be doing many, many right turns, if I can keep from keeling over from trotting with him in the Texas sun. He also got some reminders of how he is supposed to behave when going in circles on the lead line. He quickly became a model citizen and made me proud. We have some fun stuff to work on that will make our show scores so much better.

I want more.

There will always be ups and downs, but I sure am enjoying working with horses. I never cease to be amazed at how much I learn about myself while doing it. The confidence I’m gaining is helping me deal with all the hard things in life, too.

I learned a lesson about spilling my food.

Outsmarting Equines

You’d think I’d be good at this by now, but I still have trouble getting the horses to eat their own special foods. I solved the problem with the four horses that aren’t mine by giving them all the same thing, one scoop of senior pellets, salt (or garlic+salt when I’m not out), and a supplement with magnesium. They still argue over it, but usually settle down.

Maybe I could mesmerize them with one of my sunflowers.

The other three are hilarious. Each thinks the other’s food is the best. Each of the horses wants Fiona’s plain diet horse food.

If I pretend to be invisible maybe I can eat.

Apache and Fiona want Drew’s alfalfa, oily stuff, special pellets, and salt. Drew is dying to eat Apache’s food, which doesn’t have enough calories for him. Sigh.

Mmm, dregs of Apache food.

I’d been wrangling the horses into separate spaces every day, but Fiona kept butting in on the expensive supplements. I really needed to have separate spaces for each of them.

I had to chase that darn donkey away from these delicious fattening Drew leftovers.

Wait, don’t I have four pens to put them in? Nope. Someone, who is a horse, managed to break one of the gates between the pens at the hinges in November. There are more important priorities right now than pen repair!

Hey, I have hands. And it’s International Women’s Day. I should do it myself. So, Suna the handy ranch woman handled it herself.

It’s a gate

I stood that gate up and went to get some wire. Of course, the black horse immediately knocked it down, because Fiona and her food were there. But I prevailed. I wired the heck out of that gate. I hope. And I was cared not to leave wire sticking out.

Out of horse pictures, so here are the flowers Lee got me. I was surprised they had sunflowers at the store!

Now the three equines get to eat their own food, with minimal squabbling. I hope, again. Because the horses kick each other when food is involved and Drew has ANOTHER unattractive chunk out of his hide. Real horses. That’s what they do.

Bonding with the Funny Equines

It was a horsey day yesterday, which is good, because we are now quarantined other than outdoor stuff. I’m so glad the horse work is outdoors!

And donkey work. Don’t forget me!

Right. As I was saying the horse day started early. I’d asked Lee to put the bale of hay that was on the tractor out, since the horses need it and he’s the only healthy person who can drive the tractor. Well, he went in through Drew’s paddock but didn’t realize Drew was there (because no one knows my horse schedule but me).

Mmm. Forbidden grass.

Drew made his escape, but didn’t go far, since he found green grass. All I had to do is put his pretty new halter on him and lead him back. He was curious about the “this is an equine facility and you might get hurt” sign. But then he said bye and headed to the hay, where T chased him around.

I think they’re talking about T

Back to work I went until late afternoon when Trixie was due to work on Apache and his body issues. I spent quite a while grooming the filthy Apache, which took longer due to Fiona also wanting grooming.

She also had lots of those giant burs on her front legs and was trying to get them out with her teeth. I found the hoof pick was a great tool for getting those out. She now has nice, smooth, hairy legs.

Focus on me now!

Apache did great with his body work. He seemed really happy with his head and neck treatment, and made such cute faces!

Look! My neck works!

He was less thrilled with the work on his adhesions near his hips, but wow, it made a difference. I’m hoping this will make our training easier on him and help him develop good posture. Enjoy some fun faces now!

This morning I went out to let Drew back into the big pasture. It’s cool but sunny out, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find him napping in the sun. But of course, I thought he was dead.

I’m breathing, Suna.

Of course, he’s fine and in a playful mood.

Howdy, Mama!

He happily walked with me to the gate, but not without stopping to play with Vlassic. He wanted the squeaky toy, but not enough to fight the dog over it! That just made my morning.

Let’s play!

It’s good to have these sweet animal friends to bond with while you’re confined. And writing about them gives you something to do in an endless line to get a COVID test.

My little gray friend.

Try to stay safe, friends. It’s hard, but we can get through this!

The Equine Scholar Escapes

It was beautiful this morning, with spectacular fog over the creek.

Foggy morning.

The fog had cleared by the time I got out to feed the chickens. Of course, I checked the horses. Wait, one was missing. Drew was not in his pen. The gate was open! Someone busted him out. My guess is that their name both started and ended with T.

It was so bright outside I couldn’t see which horse was which.

Yep. Drew was out and interacting. I watched the horses interacting, and it was quite interesting. T chased Drew all over the place, pinning her ears back in classic mare mode. My guess is she is responsible for this.

It’s like he got shaved.

The buckskin buddies ignore Drew, as does Mabel. They tend to cluster away from him, like the cool clique in high school, while T is the bully.

Hey, friend. We will stick together.

Now, Apache and Fiona have been taking good care of Drew. This morning I enjoyed watching Fiona and Drew really playing. She created up and flailed her legs, but I quickly realized they were having fun. A minute later this was them.

Morning friends.

In the afternoon, I came out to check on them, I found Drew alone and forlorn and everyone else together. I went out to him and he came up for love, poor guy. But then, up came Apache and Fiona.

I’ll be your friend.

Each of them said hello nicely. Apache and Drew exchanged friendly nose touches and neck nips. Then came Fiona. There was a whole lot of mutual head flinging.

Love love love ❤️

Then my heart melted. Drew proceeded to groom Fiona from head to tail, gently nibbling her, inch by inch, as Fiona patiently waited.

You have some burs in here.

It was so dang sweet. Indulge my large collection of pictures.

Eventually the love fest ended, because Drew is still a kid. Vlassic distracted him and those two started playing! I got two pictures, though Vlassic is invisible in one. I’m glad Drew is used to dogs.

After work, I was able to work with both Apache and Drew, and all was well. These guys truly make my life better. No foreboding joy here, just happiness. I’ll keep focusing on what is good in my life, not endless contagious diseases and such.

Miss T Insists on Attention

Today was simply heartwarming. This is why I love horses so much.

We had a good day

Trixie was coming today to work on Apache’s feet, which I’d forgotten to have done on schedule. So, she rushed over during my lunch hour to take care of it.

The Buckskin Buddies watched with great interest.

Trixie started working on Apache and his issues. There was T, watching so closely. She really wanted a turn. So we went over just to look at her beauty. Trixie says she looks very well bred.

Vlassic also wanted attention.

Since she wanted attention, T got her neck adjusted, which made her extra happy. She kept turning her head, licking and chewing, and even yawning. All signs of a happy horse.

I like this lady.

Apache has his feet in their best shape ever, too. His abscess has completely grown out, too. He’s still in attachment mode, too, very affectionate and loving.

One more cute story from today features Fiona. As Trixie was working, she asked if Fiona needed a trim. I said I didn’t think so. Then, I looked over at her. She was on the other side of the gate, also demanding attention. She looked at me and picked up her foot, banging it on the gate, twice.

Yes, she wanted a trim, please. And she showed me the foot that needed trimming most! She’s a genius ass! I hope that made you smile, too.

Being around happy, relaxed animals is the greatest therapy there is for me.

Being loved by people is good for us rescue horses, too.

Shocked and Sad

When you live in a small town, things affect the whole community. We lost a friend yesterday. I’ll skip the gory details and just say it was a real shock to lose Christi.

Horse riding a few years ago.

I have Christi to thank for Fiona. If she hadn’t remembered I wanted a little donkey, Fiona might not have gotten rescued from the sale barn. Thanks to this kindness, I’ve had five years of donkey love.

At Christi’s ranch in 2016, the day I met Fiona.

We had many horse adventures and shared an interest in essential oils. In fact, it’s thanks to Christi and oils the I became a Master Naturalist. I went to a class she held at our beloved Dutch Towne Deli. Dorothy (not normal dot in the comments) was there and told me about the next class. Thank goodness for that bit of fortune!

Sigh. Our political differences split up our friendship, and I really miss lunches with her and her mom. But I still cared about Christi. She had a kind heart. She did not deserve to be taken from her friends and family this way.

I’m sending much sympathy to her grieving family, friends, and community. It’s hard to believe.

Ranchin’ Time

I had fun today getting reacquainted with the ranch and its inhabitants. I sure was glad to see that Peeper, the only chick we ever got past babyhood, is still peeping and growing. She has her comb coming in, and she looks like a darker version of her mom.

The dogs were glad to see me, ranging from black and white to copper and gold!

And of course, I was so glad to see the horses and Fiona. Apache is as furry as a teddy bear, but sound and happy.

I’m not out of condition; I’m fuzzy.

We went for a ride with Kathleen and Mabel. We had a good time until suddenly Kathleen disappeared.

Where did they go?

I looked and saw them zipping away. Mabel was dancing around. Finally Kathleen got off, and we went to check things out. She was waving and Mabel was kicking at her belly.

Kathleen yelled, “bees!” and I saw a bee around Mabel’s legs. It appeared to be a ground bee. They hadn’t bothered Apache, but Mabel must have stepped on their nest! Finally, the bee that chased them stopped on Mabel’s belly and Kathleen killed it with her shoe. Poor horsie!

After that we tried to ride again, but neither horse was remotely interested. They wanted their saddles off and some petting. As did Fiona and Remington, who were out with us.

Enough drama for one day.

Everyone was apparently starving by dinner time, because Fiona kept grunting at the dogs, and when she was done, she tried to drag poor Remington’s food away from him.

Remington is not pleased. Note strongly braced donkey legs

We guess she was tired from her own antics, which included getting into the swimming pool when I was riding. Sigh. And we were worried about the dogs! luckily, the new fencing that should keep donkeys out of the area around the house is being worked on now.

More to come tomorrow! But now it’s time to get some rest, because tomorrow starts another work week. Once again, Anita and I will share an office, except when I have to talk. I’ll show you why she can’t work in her own house in the next post.

Sunset, dog, and ranch stuff.

Consistency is Dull

Sorry, y’all, but there’s not much new around here. The two chicks are still with us, so that’s fine. I’d like that to stay boring.

Dang, we can’t get out.

The pool guys are still tiling. They spent a lot of time smoothing the edges, but did get some edging cemented in. They are so careful. That makes me happy. They also work like 11 hours a day. Ugh.

They were just leaving when I took this.

And the horses are fine. I’ve been so tired this week that I haven’t done much with them, but today I took Apache and Fiona out for some fun. First, Apache got to try out the new poles in the round pen. He tried to avoid them at first, but then started to have fun trotting over them. He even cantered really nicely for a bit!

Reward time.

We went for a good walk, practicing good manners, and exploring. Of course Fiona came along. She seemed to enjoy the view.

Whee

It really seems to me like these two have as much fun as I do wandering around and checking out all the different plants, hills, and trees.

Let me out!

And the promised house offer has not happened. Not surprised. No news is no news!

So yeah, it’s not exciting. The blog visits have plummeted. But, I’m employed, I have friends and family who care, and I’ll keep on keeping on, with a good attitude. Thanks for reading, all right of you.

A Little Trail Ride

This was a nice ending to a long day! Apache has been doing so well this week with his schooling and such that I said, “Yes,” when Kathleen asked if I wanted to go for a ride with her and Dusty. Apache hadn’t been out on a trail ride across the ranch in a long time, since before I started trying to ride him solo.

Look at me, I’m in the cow pasture.

I’d had the brilliant insight last week that a lot of his insecurities were because of both of us not being used to going out without another horse and rider. One thing my lessons have done is build confidence in us both. It’s still a work in progress, with one extra-annoying habit to break, but all that round pen work, circling, and walking the property has made a big difference.

I’m also losing weight, thanks to the dead grass and hay. See those ribs??

So, off we went. Dusty doesn’t enjoy leaving his man friend Remington, so he had to be walked a bit. But, once we got going, a good time was had by all, with Apache like his old self, confidently walking around and paying attention to my cues.

I didn’t get to go, so I brayed my ass off. Oh wait, I’m an actual ass. At least Suna refilled my water bucket.

There were a lot more grass eating episodes than I’d like, and once or twice he was reluctant to do what I asked. But mostly we had fun and got to forget about our stresses, challenges, and negativity.

I’m glad I took the chance. I see a glimpse of my enjoyable future riding with friends and family, and maybe even doing some Working Equitation with him. Hey, he can already walk in a circle, so he’d not score a zero.

Thinking of all of us today, the day so many of us got deep trauma. I’m so glad I got to see my kids again after being stuck in Schaumburg, Illinois!

Watermelon Fun Overload

Today we had some old watermelon to dispose of. Usually I give melon to the chickens, who immediately go into a pecking frenzy. Today it was suggested that I see if Fiona wanted some.

This looks suspicious.

She sniffed it carefully. When I broke off a piece and offered it to her, she delicately took it between her lips, then went to town chomping. But, when I set it back down, she went up and touched it, but switched back to grass. Maybe it was too cold for her.

Brr. It’s cold!

Hmph, I thought to myself. I’ll see if any of the other horses appreciate it. I conveniently forgot I’m not supposed to give Mabel treats.

Hey, what’s this??

Lucky for me, Mabel didn’t get much of it. Dusty, one of the Buckskin Buddies, must be familiar with watermelon, because he chowed down big time. Much smacking and melon tossing went on, and I was completely charmed by his happiness. Here he is picking it up for better chomping.

This is fun.

The chickens did get to enjoy some, too. They eat it down to the rind.

Watermelon is for chickens!!

Okay, I’ll close with a happy picture or two. This is the first Ruby-throated hummingbird I’ve identified here at the Hermits’ Rest. All the ones I usually see are black-chinned ones. But, they’re migrating right now. What fun!

Oh, I just keep seeing cool things. That’s what I get for writing from the porch.

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