a little extra

Our horses, dogs, koi, and wild birds all need a little extra food and watchful eye these days for things like frozen water. The ground has become crunchy, hard, uneven and slippery - making it difficult to walk on. The wooded pasture area looks like a skating rink. Our horses are moving very slowly, and thankfully stepping with care.

After morning chores,
I re-filled the bird feeders and had a little help cleaning up whatever spilled from our aussie-labs Mack (black) and Sam (brown).

Oddley enough, the ground is clear and not icy around the bird feeder/pond area - but the mini-icebergs that formed on the floating de-icer speak volumes about our weather. That's not snow. After all these years it still amazes me our hibernating koi survive underneath all that thick ice.

And then there's our cat Sydney...what a life. I woke him up from his morning nap, which comes right before his afternoon nap, that is shortly before his evening nap...lets just say he doesn't know the meaning of the word cold.


round two

We revisited Iron Horse Training Center today, and left with no doubt in our minds - we will be taking our boys (and us) through their horse training program! Patty really knows her stuff, and answered most of my "round two" questions before I had even asked them - in a very understandable, kind-hearted way.

The barn had a calming feel about it again, content horses full of personality, happy dogs, a bunny, and a big spoiled cat named "King" - because apparently that's what he is :) All that is left to do is pick a date, write a check (for two, gulp) and take the leap of faith. I can't wait to get started! I found out Patty also teaches riding lessons (different from her training/owner riding program) altho it's a bit of a haul (40 min one way). I'm seriously thinking about starting those up again as well - it's been a good two years and I miss them.

Not sure how much Harmony is going to like being down at the farm without the boys, but she's had plenty of time to get adjusted to the new location and will have the resident pony to visit with on the days they turn her out.


A letter from your horse

A friend sent this to me, thought you would all enjoy it as much as I did!

A Letter From your horse (the original version):

When you are tense, let me teach you to relax.
When you are short tempered, let me teach you to be patient.
When you are short sighted, let me teach you to see.
When you are quick to react, let me teach you to be thoughtful.
When you are angry, let me teach you to be serene.
When you feel superior, let me teach you to be respectful.
When you are self-absorbed let me teach you to think of greater things.
When you are arrogant, let me teach you humility.
When you are lonely, let me be your companion.
When you are tired, let me carry the load.
When you need to learn, let me teach you.
After all, I am your horse.

And now, the REAL story......

When you are tense, let me teach you that there are lions in them thar woods, and we need to leave NOW!
When you are short tempered, let me teach you how to slog around the pasture for an hour before you can catch me.
When you are short sighted, let me teach you to figure out where, exactly, in the 40 acres I am hiding.
When you are quick to react, let me teach you that herbivores kick MUCH faster (and harder) than omnivores.
When you are angry, let me teach you how well I can stand on my hind feet, because I don't feel like cantering on my right lead today.
When you are worried, let me entertain you with my mystery lameness.
When you feel superior, let me teach you that, mostly, you are the maid service.
When you are self-absorbed, let me teach you to PAY ATTENTION. Remember? I told you about those lions in them thar woods?
When you are arrogant, let me teach you what 1200 lbs. of "YAHOO LETS GO!" can do when suitably inspired.
When you are lonely, let me be your companion. Let's do lunch. Also, breakfast and dinner.
When you are tired, don't forget the 600 lbs. of grain that needs to be unloaded.
When you are feeling financially secure, let me teach you the meaning of "Veterinary Services"
When you need to learn, hang around, bud. I'll learn ya.

Your Horse


nothin' but wet

We have had a solid heavy mist non-stop for days now, you get completely coated and it soaks you. You can imagine what the pasture looks like with melting snow, mud, and poop - it's not a pretty site. At least the temps have stayed above freezing (so far). Needless to say, we didn't get hay.....I'd continue the rhythm, but I'm outta time. Note to self; have coffee before posting!


weekend observation

It appears there is a shift in our small herd, and Koda is now low man on the totem pole (other than the resident pony). I guess I'm not surprised, Harmony is bigger, older and wiser, and Mare-ish. I'm missing my happy-go-lucky boy, he didn't seem quite himself this weekend. No, they aren't beating up on each other - just herdin' around. Harmony has more or less switched places with Koda. Nemo is Nemo and he doesn't share with anybody, ever. I'll be curious to see if this shift holds, or changes depending on circumstances.

We got
our crew more grain, gave them fresh bedding, and counted bales. We'll need more hay, and soon - that'll be fun in the snow...hopefully we get more while the weather is still decent (high's around 30 this week).


Random or targeted?

Yesterday I heard the news, somebody whacked Bill’s beautiful tail off (and part of his mane)….thank god they only cut his hair.
Bill is a well-known and loved Haflinger, owned and shown locally by our daughters close friend Ashley (photo previously posted, see labels). What kind of person would do such a cruel thing, and why?
He was turned-out in a paddock by the road with another horse, who had nothing done to him. Could it be Bill’s gregarious personality that found him randomly being violated or, did some sick person target Bill/family for unknown reasons…I’m leaning towards the latter. I may just go to the show tomorrow, and be a fly on the wall. If it was targeted, my guess is the scum will be their trying to hide their gloating….won’t prove anything - but it might help a great family shed some light on the situation. Don’t worry Bill, many others will be keeping their ears and eyes open – and you know what, we all think your awesome with or without hair!!


calling all camera buffs

I'm having a hard time deciding which camera to upgrade to...any insight would be greatly appreciated. Several years ago I went in to the local camera store to buy a lens for my camera (Fugi S7000) and they told me not to bother (ouch) save money for a new camera. I appreciated their honesty, and took their recommendation to heart. So what's my problem? There is no clear-cut best fit (or so I thought) this time around...back in the day it was between my camera, and for some more $, the first Canon Rebel. Altho my camera has done a fine job meeting most of my needs over the years, I regret not spending the extra $. I didn't think it was worth it at the time, had I known better we probably wouldn't be having this conversation and my pictures would have been better all these years. I don't want any regrets this time. I want a camera I can grow with, that will last for even more years, possible use to enhance my profession, and not feel zoom envy at e.v.e.r.y.s.i.n.g.l.e event I go to - basically I can't get the shots I want!

With all that said, my new camera will primarily be used for shooting sports (specifically Hockey - indoor, low light, fast action, across the arena, Football -
outside, low/bright light, fast action, looong distance, and Baseball - yawn **just kidding** outdoor action) and of course, Horses (specifically ours - which may include all of the settings mentioned - ala horse). In three more years when the sports dwindle, the shift will be towards primarily equine photography.

I've looked at two cameras the Canon 50D (no video capabilities, and
it feels clunkier in-hand. I actually use the handy video feature and prefer not to invest in and haul around another piece of equipment if possible) and the Nikon D90 (the Canon has a higher mega pixel and I keep having flashbacks of my previous purchase). The next Canon up from the 50D is a 7D and it has video capability, but not only does it cost a lot more $ - it was recommended that I not buy it, apparently something is buggy with it. I haven't investigated further, nor tried it. Maybe I should forget the video feature and go with the 50D, which fits the "middle of the road" I can't decide syndrome I lean towards? Sigh. I don't know...

I see many, many amazing pictures posted on the blogs I follow, do you have any suggestions? What camera do you have? Have you heard good, bad or different about the camera's mentioned? Nemo, Koda, and Harmony thank you. They would really like it if I learned how to take better pictures of them (okay, so that's me) and had good equipment to do it with. I plan to take another photo class (es) once I've made my choice, if I can decide on a new camera...


cold-n-sunny craze

I should have hummed, instead of hawwed this morning when I debated about bringing my camera with me to feed...the horses were all acting like a buncha silly two year old nuts! Playfully bucking, spinning, and running around in a cold-n-sunny craze. Koda and Nemo are two, not sure what Harmony's excuse was - she was the silliest of all! I was getting the feed ready, when I hear Brad bustin' out in laughter... "what did I miss?"..."oh Harmony couldn't decide which leg to kick-up, so she tried all four at the same time"!!

They usually just hover near their spots when it's breakfast time. Below is a photo of Nemo patiently waiting to be fed, it was taken yesterday - which was also sunny and cold. Who know's what stirred up the craze today, all I know is it's fun to watch. Hopefully I'll have my camera with me next time the silly mood strikes them!


pull what?

Harmony's registration appears to be going through...a process. Our check was cashed right away (there's a surprise) and then we waited, and waited, and wondered what was going on with her registration. When would we hear if it's a yeay or a neigh? We decided we should call AQHA, and then the letter arrived. But wait, that's not a letter - it's a DNA collection kit! We knew we would have to get Harmony's DNA at some point, but, um, I was expecting some sophistafunk container along with a scraper/puller/draw-er something or another. Nope. A piece of paper with instructions.

No surprise to Brad, he was well aware of what we needed to do and thought I would be the best one to pull her hair out - and with that I said "you want me to pull what? 50 hairs? Wrap my finger around several times and yank. No can do. I know it doesn't hurt them, but all the same we are trying to re-connect."
I rode Harmony for a brief time several years ago when I was beginning to take lessons.....but that's another story. Needless to say Brad yanked, I mean collected, her hair (not in one clump) and I took pictures :) a job I'm much better suited for.

Harmony's mane has
been show-trimmed for years and isn't that long, which made it slightly more manageable. It is growing out, and looking oh so pretty I might add. Not all collected hairs appear to have a "fibrous" end, some looked like a tiny spec of black by the time we got back home. The roots probably shriveled up, it's cold outside. Hope we got what we needed?!! If not, I'm sure they'll eventually send another "letter". On with the process and back to wondering, and waiting. Here are some photos of the sampling, and the letter - I mean DNA kit.

So many choices...this hair looks like a good one.

Looking for a good hair sample from "the other" end.

The DNA Kit, with roots properly placed.


out with the old

These days our horses are taking it slow, with but a few stretching lopes & bucks in between their casual strolls. It's probably a good thing, the bitter cold we've had this past week cemented everything into hard crusty snow & ice - not the best footing. The single digits (plus whatever windchill) brought some things at the farm to a stand still. Glad we didn't have to thaw out water pipes again, however it did take a while to get the bobcat running. Never thought I'd be so happy to hear it fire up. Brad hauled buckets of bedding for another round of "out with the old and in with the new" - fluffy stuff that is. I thought I was going to freeze right to the gate (no, I didn't try licking it). I was equally happy to hear the bobcat shut off.

It didn't take long for Koda to leave the hay and come over to help spread the bedding around. He
couldn't wait to get into it, such a goofball. Shortly thereafter he proceeded to try and wear the white plastic bags on his head. Really horse, I thought you were suppose to be afraid of white scarey stuff that makes noise and blows around willy-nilly? It made standing around freezing, well, fun in a twisted-cold kinda way.

Between the early darkness and cold weather, I don't see nearly enough of our horses - or get to experience the fun only they can provide (regardless of temperature). So how about another round, but this time "out with the cold and in with new" - warmer weather, that'll give everyone a reason to stretch, and have fun!!


got tickets

Our tickets for Midwest Horse Fair arrived in the mail - hooray!! This year the big Saturday night show is Grand Prix Jumping, should be fun to watch. Among the other bazillion things happening at horse fair, they added the new Wind Rider Challenge (all breed, cross disciplinary competition).

I would be remiss if I didn't say how disappointed I am that the Mustang Challenge isn't returning. I'm not sure why, but my guess is Wind Rider bumped it since it's the new buzz. I will miss the Mustang Challenge, it was my favorite part of fair. I loved following the trainers progress, and seeing the remarkable things they accomplished. You could see and feel the bond they develop with their beloved mustangs, and in such a short period of time. I hope they will bring it back in years to come.