About the Practically Perfect Palomino Pony

Here’s another fine thing that happened this weekend; we added a beautiful new friend to our little herd of equines, Lakota the Perfectly Perfect Palomino Pony. That is NOT his real name (I don’t know what it is, actually), and he is also not a pony, though he is of the smaller quarter horse type.

What’s that? Is that the sound of hooves? We are curious!

Sara, my horse partner and ranch neighbor, and I had debated this for a while, with her doing the most debating with herself. We only have so much pasture and don’t want to overload it. But, I have been promised fencing that will allow horses to hang out on our side of the ranch, which will help a lot with that issue.

Oh my gosh, that’s a horse! Oh my gosh, that’s a donkey!

Besides, Lakota is a horse who deserves to hang out with us. He already knows Spice, since they were owned by the same person for a while, and had spent time together in training, I think. He is beautifully trained by the same Parelli Natural Horsemandhip Method* trainer who trained all the horses we own, Kerri April, and used to belong to one of her family members when he was a fancy equine athlete. This means we don’t have to learn new ways to work with him; he’ll probably help train ME.

Mary and Sara chat as the horses check each other out.

Sara got Spice from her friend Mary when Apache’s occasional lameness issues made it hard for her to to the horsemanship activities she wanted to on him. Mary had found Spice to be a bit much too handle, but she loved Spice very much and only wanted her to go to a fellow Parelli-trained owner. Sara was it! I’ve enjoyed Apache, Sara has enjoyed Spice, and all has been well.

I have a star on my forehead.

Now Mary is moving to the suburbs and won’t be able to keep horses at her place anymore. She sold her others, but there was Lakota,** too old to sell as a consistent mount. She just wanted him to have a happy last few years. We said okay.

Lakota the Practically Perfect Palomino Pone, with the other guys behind him.

Now, Sara had never seen Lakota before, and was just happy to help out, since Mary said she’d pay all his expenses. We had enjoyed our old buddy Pardner very much, and he kept the other horses calm. We had hoped Lakota would be similar.

On Saturday, Mary and a friend brought him in their trailer. Sara took him and brought him down to the horse paddock. I could not believe what I saw. This may be the prettiest horse I ever saw in person, at least conformation-wise. He is built to be a barrel racer or other show horse. Compact and muscular (even at his age). His palomino coat is soft and shiny and somehow smells like vanilla.

At this point, I was saying, is this horse REAL?

Now, I’ve always been told that you get a horse based on personality first and looks second. DANG. He exudes peace and kindness, just like Pardner did! He is wonderful with people. How would he be with horses, we wondered?

This is the next amazing part. He went over to Fiona, who was wandering around looking well-groomed (briefly). They touched noses and sniffed each other. Hey. Hey.

Lakota: You seem okay. Amazing lack of burrs on you, donkey. Fiona: I’ll roll in more burs as soon as I get in the pasture, don’t worry.

When we put him in the pens next to where Apache and Spice were, he was all excited, as were they. He and Apache touched noses, then nibbled each other’s shoulders. Hey. Hey.

Spice jumped up and down and made mare noises. She recognized him! It took her a while to calm down, but soon everyone was standing nose to nose, happy as they could be. We left them alone to get used to each other with a fence separating them.

Hello, hello, hello.

Later that day, I got to ride Apache with the bit and bridle Mary conveniently sold to me, which was the same kind Sara was already teaching him with. I did not fail! I did it (and yes, I know there are other options; this stuff is all in Sara’s hands, not mine, since she’s training him).

After the ride, when everyone had eaten, we put everyone in the big pasture together. So much joy ensued that it brought happy tears to our eyes (yay, happy tears). They all ran around, then the paints showed Lakota all around the area. Then they suddenly realized they were in the GOOD grass and started eating away.

We’re all together!

It appears that Lakota is in good enough to do trail rides with us, though he has some heat issues and we will have to watch him. In any case, they all bonded really fast and don’t like being separated. That’s not bad. We are grateful to Mary for letting us share this grand old gentleman. He may not be perfect, but his introduction to our herd certainly was!

Hey, good lookin.’

*I do not endorse any particular natural method of training horses. I think they are all good.

**Why we end up with all these horses with Native American tribe names is beyond me.

Reaching Out/Reaching Up

I was surprised to see reach as the UU Lent word of the day, but then I realized it’s really appropriate for me, and probably for many of us right now.

Reaching Out

For me “reach out” is most important. It’s no longer optional to reach out to friends and family, but mandatory. With so many people living alone or dealing with challenges (like schooling children…or heck, just feeding and entertaining them), it’s important to be in contact with your peeps.

Don’t do as the cattle do! Isolate!

Goodness knows, I am not a great correspondent (other than blogging), but I’m doing my part. I write a couple of letters every day and make sure to say hi to someone I don’t often talk to, especially those who live alone. Today a friend reached out to ME on the day I was going to reach out to HER, which made me smile.

Gratuitous chicken picture. They are reaching up and grabbing at clover I picked for them.

Some of the things people have been doing for each other have really warmed my heart. People who have surpluses share them (we got some bread products that way just yesterday). Restaurants are selling supplies they don’t need due to not being open to the public. And there’s all that mask sewing going on! Way to go, sewing people!

I hope that when this is all settled down we remember all the kind and good things people have done for each other, and let the memories of people who aren’t considerate, run around in public, and hoard stuff fade away.

Reaching Up

My Instagram of the day featured Spice the paint quarter horse in a quest for delicious hackberry leaves, which she deserved after going for a ride and surviving being barked at by my dogs. It’s nice that Sara and I can still ride, as long as we take some reasonable precautions (we no longer share grooming tools, and only one person at a time can be in the tack room, which I keep forgetting).

Spice stretches out while being groomed after a nice ride.

I did a lot of reaching up (and down) yesterday while painting trim. But, now that much of it has multiple coats of creamy white, it looks great.

Nicole paints away on the trim yesterday.

Today, Chris is really reaching up as he works on painting the wall behind the new stairs. He has most of the priming done and is hopeful that there will be two colorful bathrooms very soon!

Looking down from the front door. Lots of white trim, new subfloor, and a primed wall, ready to be a cheerful color.

Peace within Reach

Other than being a mirror image, this shows me all dazed in a meeting, sharing the sight I get every time I drive down County Road 140 to my house. It’s lots nicer with that field of flowers to enjoy.

Many of my coworkers are doing their meetings on their patios or porches. It’s a great way to get outdoors a bit and enjoy some peace, while still getting stuff done.

I’m stuck in the basement for meetings. But never fear, I took a couple of photos of hos beautiful it is on the road leading to the ranch, so I use it as my Zoom backdrop. A little bit of peace for all!

The view without my head in it, and not mirror image. Not bad, is it? You can see my house around the bend.

I hope you can get out in nature, reach up and touch something not made by humans, and find a little inner peace. Let me know how you’re doing!

Fiona Feeling Better

A couple of folks have asked how Fiona the mini-donkey is doing as she recovers from her two sore feet. Thank you for asking, and she brays her thanks, as well. It may be the cutest bray ever, by the way.

Oh, and I finally figured out how to upload my video of how badly she was limping last weekend.

Anyway, according to Dr. Mandi, she is on the mend. I can’t tell you how glad I am to have a neighbor who used to work on a large horse breeding ranch with so much experience in fixing up foot and leg issues. Mandi said that when she got to working on her, it just all came back to her, and something that might have taken her an hour years ago just took minutes.

I know Fiona appreciated that her doctoring didn’t take too long, though I think she views it as more “special time” with humans.

Mandi thinks the back hoof is just about healed, though she is going to put Betadyne on it one more time. As for the front foot, it’s improving, though Fiona is still limping a little. We still don’t know how she hurt it.

I’ll protect my little friend! I’m the lead mare!

Yesterday, Mandi said that Spice and Apache protected Fiona when the neighbor puppy, Jess, who is a heeler and likes to chase things, tried to mess with her. Fiona managed to kick at her (a good sign), but after that, Spice was not letting that dog anywhere near, and Apache was doing his best angry stallion imitation, with ears pinned back and eyes ablaze (even though he isn’t a stallion).

It made me happy to see how much our tiny herd is bonded. At first the horses really didn’t like Fiona, but now I see them licking her and being sweet. Ahh.