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.
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.
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!
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 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.
I was impressed that, even though he was tired and getting cranky, Apache kept trying and working. He seemed to enjoy himself.
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!
I hope you got to do something fun today! My fun continues tomorrow, too. We’re breaking in the mobile office!
Hey, I got through one of my extra-long days and I’m not totally wiped out! I have my life back! Yep, I even woke up for my 7 am meeting at 6:45, having forgotten to save my alarm clock setting, and made it in time. Woo!
I got all my work done, then had two hours of horse lessons, then a Zoom meeting. Whew. That’s a long day, but it was full of goodness. Even the weather is pleasant.
I’m so relieved to feel well enough to get all this done and enjoy myself. Apache was so much fun in our lesson, too. We are making progress and having a good time. He tries to do whatever I ask, which is fine with me. Poor guy is hot, though. He has his thick winter coat on, which makes trotting faster and slower and faster and slower a sweaty activity.
I’m so glad our hard work is paying off and we’re getting skills! On the other hand, Drew and I are very obviously at the beginning of our journey. We both have so much to learn, but I’m willing! There’s a lot of patience involved, but it’s ok.
Tarrin kept telling me it’s all normal and not to be upset. I really felt fine the whole lesson; I was just thinking about all the things I had to do. You know, learning overload! And Drew did reward me by walking like a true gentleman back to the trailer. This was down the path that scared Apache so much, and in the dark!
I did not mean to write another boring horse blog, I just wanted to say how great it is to be able to do things and enjoy them again! Maybe by tomorrow I’ll stop needing to blow my nose!
Finally, the strep symptoms are fading away, but I think I also have a common cold or something causing me to be rather stuffy nosed. That, I can deal with. I took some decongestant and felt all right the rest of the day (and I got nice soft tissues, so I’ll survive). And not only that, I’m in much better spirits. Hooray!
The day started out pretty fun, as I tried to help out Declan as he figured out how to move round hay bales. There’s a first time for everything, and the two of us managed to figure it out (me with ideas, principles, and horse moving, and him with actually wrangling the tractor and hay).
There was a lot of horse moving involved. They were fascinated when we moved the hay ring and had to try to see if they could knock it over. Then they were extra fascinated when the new bale came in (after Declan heroically figured out how to stab the rather unstable bale with the hay forks so it could move).
Once the bale went down, we realized it needed to be set upright, but the horses were having none of that and began eating as if they had never seen hay before. Mabel was especially excited, but at least she moved out of the way. Droodles stood in front of the bale like a statue, but once I asked him to move, he was a good boy. That impressed Declan.
We were very proud of our ranching selves once everything was set up and the intense munching began. Maybe now Drew won’t keep eating in the bur field (he had a solid bur tail when I went to groom him). And next time we’ll be like professionals.
This afternoon was Tarrin’s monthly visit to the ranch. We were disappointed that the promised sunny day didn’t appear, but when we had a few sprinkles, we were rewarded with a rainbow that ended in Sara’s horses. I always knew there were attractive horses at the end of the rainbow.
Let me tell you what, there are two reasons I am so happy today, and their names are Drew and Apache. My horses lifted me up today, and I lived up to their encouragement and did pretty well, myself. Tarrin and I were both pretty darned pleased by the end of our lessons. We are having success!
Drew showed no signs of backsliding after getting back here and having two days off due to my sickness and the rain. He was lovely to watch when Tarrin rode him, and when we moved into the round pen, he and I made a lot of progress. We are figuring each other out and enjoying it at the same time, I think. I petted him and praised him so much! Plus, the new saddle felt great. I forgot all about it, which I figure is a good sign.
Apache, though, oh my goodness. The bodywork he got last week seems to have made a huge difference in how he feels. He was so calm, relaxed, and cheerful for his whole lesson…seemed like a new guy. Tarrin says his rear end really looked better, with no dragging of his hooves, etc. He could move sideways way better, even side passing adequately. I was right that it was hurting him, I guess.
Riding him was so much fun. He was so responsive to everything I asked him to do! That’s what I’ve been trying to get to with the horses. It takes me learning how to ride, the horses learning what they need to do, and getting everyone healthy and in shape. Tarrin’s so right that a pain-free horse can learn better and definitely in the case of Apache, they can listen better.
I’m not kidding, though, Apache seemed to be enjoying himself as much as I was. We are turning into a team. I think that’s good for both of us.
While it’s been rather rainy and my work has been eating into my horse time (work funds the horses), I’ve had time to make progress with my beautiful, dapple gray teenager, Drew (or Andrew or Droodles).
While there hasn’t been any cantering and jumping (blame mud), there has been a lot of other stuff to work on, and I’m proud of his progress and mine.
I’m working on keeping his trot and my jog both slow and steady when we are in hand. It’s improved! We are also practicing side passing and other walk-level activities.
But mostly I’ve been spending time with him and the others, just enjoying the day. It’s paid off!
Yesterday it dried out enough to go to Sara’s and practice obstacles for the next couple of shows. We skipped a clinic this weekend because they are hard to do in the ground and I had no driver. Rainy times are not ideal for trailer pulling practice!
The highlight was actually the walk between our place and hers. He was much calmer than in previous trips, and we practiced stopping, starting, transitioning to trot, and staying in synch. We had fun!
He got distracted by long grass and other horses once we arrived, but did pretty well practicing. Since I’m just out to enjoy the shows and just trying to improve our skills, I think he will be fine.
We are trotting much calmer if I just concentrate on it. There’s just so much to remember! What obstacle is next, how to do it right, what side of him I need to be on, whether he’s trotting or not, blah blah. More than my ancient mind can do all at once. So I’ll just have fun!
That was a pep talk for me. In any case, it’s great to see Sully and her improvement, and to enjoy her and Sara working together.
I also took pictures of Sara and her new mat for standing horses on while working with their feet. It’s just the right size! I enjoy doing horse stuff together like we used to.
Droodles gets a break today, as the plan is to ride Apache with Sara on either of her grays. Sully is still working on going forward. Aragorn’s feet are looking well enough he may not need his shoes for a while! Good job to all who worked on his feet!
I’m not referring to my spouse. We’re pretty good, even when we’re grumpy. I’m talking about the horses, yet again, mainly Apache. How many years have I been trying to get the whole leadership thing down with him? Six, eight? A long time.
Oh, we’re making plenty of progress, for sure. I’m a better rider and he’s a better horse in so many ways, thanks to our lessons. And it hasn’t even been a year yet since we started back up learning from others. Breaking bad habits takes a long time.
I’m just hard on myself, as any of you who know me in person would confirm. So, when Apache completely fell apart over at Sara’s on Friday and put us both in danger, I blamed a lack of leadership skill on my part. Why didn’t I widen the reins more, relax my legs more, bang my leg harder?
The horse, on the other hand, was back in his old home pasture, near his favorite horse friend (Spice, Sara’s retired previous main horse), and not interested in Suna at all. He was also not noticing the new fencing going in, nor the open holes for fence posts. I knew Tarrin would want me to keep working with him, but I also know she wouldn’t want us in danger, so I got off.
Once I was safe and over being annoyed, we decided to walk back, with Sara riding along. It was good for Aragorn, who is also having his own interesting issues. It’s always something!
What’s weird is that Apache acted all rude and pushy, plus refused to back up (which he’d been doing in the saddle, too, for unknown reasons). But the moment we got past the cattle guard and headed home, he relaxed, slowed down, and walked at my side like an equine gentleman. We stopped to talk by our gate, and he stood quietly at my side, not even trying to eat when Aragorn did. Huh.
Today I went out again. This time I groomed Apache by the tack room, not the new trailer. He seems to not like the trailer, intensely. That at least started us out calmer. And I have to say, he did great at all his schooling stuff, even leg yielding. He jumped, too, in his way. It needs work.
We rode through the front field, too, turning and not heading back immediately. If I had stopped there, I’d have had a good day to make up for Friday. But, I wanted to go in the small paddock to do more leg yields. That required us to pass these horses’ asses.
All Apache wanted from then on was to go to them. He repeatedly tried to go in the pens, out the gate he came in, or anywhere except where I asked him to go. He got pretty insistent and started hopping. I had no urge to get bucked off into a fence pole or pen. I got off.
I promptly converted his reins to a lead rope and marched him off for ten minutes of ground work. Whee. I hope he enjoyed the figure 8 at a trot, the serpentine, and the repeated stopping and backing up. At least he backed up a few steps. He got to go back in the pasture only after the other horses had headed out to graze. Well, I try.
I’m just so grateful for Drew. We had a very nice session and worked on all his skills. He followed all my gait changes (I got in a fine workout with all the trotting on lead line). He practiced standing by the mounting block. Ah. And we just had a nice, long walk and chat together. He’s a joy to work with and I credit those months of training!
Back a few steps, I guess, but I’ll get there. I’m not a failure even when I feel like it. Just a work in progress, trying, failing, and trying again.
I must have the best horse trainer and instructor on earth. She has helped me and my horse work through our issues and come out better than ever. She said it’s like we went through marriage counseling. So true!
Apache did well during his week with Tarrin. She got him back to paying attention to his rider and getting confident. Lots of great work gave him such a good tuneup. Obviously. We went out into the pasture like we did it every day.
We also successfully made it down the passageway he had so much trouble with last week, twice, without incident.
Apache gets to stay another week for further refinement. It is probably not his idea of fun. It may be, though, because he has always seemed to be having fun when we did things together in the past. We always enjoyed trail rides with Sara and going to clinics. I’m looking forward to a clinic in a couple of weeks, now that we are doing better together.
I feel a lot better now that I have the tools I need to communicate well and not confuse Apache. And I can stop his inclination to test me quickly. We both have refined our skills. Of course, there is way more to do.
Wait until we get to trotting and someday cantering! That would be real progress for him. He’s never been balanced enough to canter well. Let’s hope his trainer has more education ready to roll out. I think she does.
Thanks to my photographer friends, Tarrin, Teddy, and Lee. They captured moments that will keep me going in the coming weeks whenever I feel useless and unimportant. I’m important to my horses!
I saw a little blurb in This Old House magazine, saying this new book is a “must-read” for anyone restoring an old house. Why, I’m renovating an old house, which is close. So, I ordered two copies, one for me and one for Kathleen, of Restoring Your Historic House: The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners, by Scott Hanson (2019). At 720 pages, it has a good chance of being comprehensive, anyway!
This post will have two parts, one in which I review the book, and the other in which I talk about the choices we have made on the Pope house that do or don’t follow Hanson’s recommendations.
We’re still working on the Pope Residence project, even though we are down a couple helpers, temporarily. Yesterday, Chris made a trip to the Lowe’s in Temple for the supplies needed to do the trim. How did he keep himself safe, you ask?
He felt really good about the precautions the store was taking, which let contractors and others get supplies they needed but not spread germs. Each cart got sanitized before a customer used it. And all the staff stayed 6 feet from customers. When Chris needed to look at a staff member’s screen, he moved away. Chris was impressed with how customers all kept their distances, too.
Chris got our sink for the break room and a lot of interesting trim to finish off the sides of the windows and around the doors, where there are gaps between the brick and the frames. It will look pretty spiffy. Wow we have a LOT of trim to paint, though! He’s thinking of ways to automate it.
Next, though, is texturing the few drywall areas. It has not stopped raining for three days, though, and he really wants to do it on a dry day. It’s also cold, ugh.
As you probably know, a lot of businesses around here have closed down due to the state of emergency, curfews and such. One was the local car detailing shop. So, we have brought on Marcus, who works there, to help out on our project. It’s good today, since Randy is out and Easton is taking care of stuff back at the farm.
He is really meticulous (duh, he works at the car detailing place), and is doing an amazing job taking layers of gunk of the door trim. I almost cried when I saw how beautiful the trim around the stained glass above the door came out. Wow.
I’m glad we can help out people who’d otherwise be unable to contribute to their families or their own needs. It’s only a few people, but it feels good to be doing something positive.
Like many of us, I’m having a bit of trouble being positive right now. We have daily meetings of the Hearts Homes and Hands staff, in which we go over in excruciating detail what we need to do to protect ourselves and our clients. And I think I’ve read too many articles on disease progress projections. And I miss Anita and my other house. All normal stuff everybody is dealing with right now.
Sure, we’re all lucky in some ways, and we’re all inconvenienced. It’s okay to be sad and miss the old world, even as we are grateful that precautions we take may save lives. I think I’ll take the rest of the day off. Tomorrow, volunteer work and more work. And I’m glad I can do it.