not a day too soon

Winter is such a pretty time of year, the snow gives everything a new look. Beautiful frosted trees, sparkling snow, and the colorful contrast winter brings are eye candy for a visual person like me...and then it warms up, and winter shows it's ugly side.

Yesterday some locations in WI hit 50F, the rain polished off road areas of ice into a smooth slick dangerous surface. Today we are left with that slick ice, dirty snow, fog, mist, mud, and piles of poop. Yuck!!

(L-R) Harmony and Koda cautiously walking, lots of heads down today
We fed, scooped what treasures we could find in the near vicinity, emptied the goldmine bucket, freshened up the bedding, and got lots of wet horsey hugs. I am always relieved to see our horses walking carefully in slick area's that can't be avoided, and choosing alternate paths to get around the area's that can.

 Nemo says "It's no fun moving the herd around, when you have to walk so slow"
Besides the bitter cold weather we had for what seems like forever, the endless hunting season, and the hidden chunky worked up soil in the fields - this my friends would be why we haven't ridden at home this winter, the footing.

Nasty Arena
 Tomorrow we head up to Iron Horse, and not a day too soon!!


wild and woolly

The wild and woolly look of winter isn't pretty, but it's the warm outdoor fashion in colder area's. Harmony & Nemo have shorter hair which gets thicker, and Nemo's gets darker, but they don't sport "the look" quite like Koda & Cierra.

Cierra has the longest hair I've ever seen, it's easily 3" long in some areas. Perhaps because she was body clipped for the futurity show in September? She looks kinda scraggly in the picture below, but trust me she is solid and has a hay belly. Don't you think the wood chip bedding adds to the woolly look?

Cierra, 7 month woolly look

Koda really needs a good brushing before he goes to the trainer, and um, the wild man mohawk needs to go. We have messy rain predicted for the next couple days, alas grooming will have to wait. 

Koda, the wild look


getting ready for round two

January 1st we are taking Koda & Nemo back up to Iron Horse for a second round of training. Change comes with mixed emotions, mostly excitement this time. Brad wants to start showing locally again for fun, and me, well...let's just say I am willing to give it a try. I would really rather be out on the trail, or on the sideline taking photos. Regardless, a horse with more quality training is always a good thing. I've only shown once, when I was 12 years old - just a few years ago. Someday I'll write a post about that fond memory...

Koda & Nemo won't be the only one's learning new things, as owner training go hand-in-rein. While we could muddle along and pursue this on our own, or leave the boys the way they are and just put miles on them - we prefer to give them the best training we can. Patty is a master trainer, and the experience she shares is second to none. They are excited to have Koda & Nemo back, and I'm excited for all the horsey interactions it will bring!

However, it will be weird not to have them at home. We'll have to drive much further to see Koda & Nemo. Harmony & Cierra will likely miss them too, but enjoy our undivided attention.  Our boys will once again be living  the plush indoor life (with daily turn out), learning new things, and ridden daily. They'll be so happy to be fed three times a day! I wonder if they'll ever want to come home??


unstuffable stocking stuffers

One of my favorite elf tasks is picking out books of interest. They are unstuffable stocking stuffers, that I take great pleasure, and a very long time, picking out - with the hope the recipients will get great pleasure reading something they can hold in there hand, during this digital age.

My husband, who is a natural with horses: Whole Heart, Whole Horse by Mark Rashid

For the elf, who loves horses and photography: Spirit of the Horse by Bob Langrish & Nicola Jane Swinney

Inspiration for the daughter: Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover's Soul 2 by a whole bunch of writers

For the boy who doesn't like horses, and loves football: Football's Greatest Stars by Allan Maki

Did you receive/gift an inspirational horse (or other) book this holiday season?


a growing bond

We continue to observe a sweet bond grow between Harmony and Cierra. I always thought it was just the little one seeking comfort from someone who would put up with her cute persistent ways, and share, until I watched our herd do their playful breakfast dance on Christmas Eve - and observed the bond goes both ways.

Brad & Nemo having a pre-breakfast conversation
Nemo always starts the breakfast shuffle, Harmony typically keeps to herself and circles around the outside of the feeding area, and Koda usually ends up making some type of silly moves while waiting to be fed. Cierra makes a beeline for one of us humans. She really likes her people. But before Cierra got to me, Harmony came out of no where and diverted several of the boys attempts to move her. She either simply pinned her ears, turned Cierra out of the way, or physically placed herself between Cierra and the playful boys - in order to redirect them. Harmony's actions spoke louder then words. She was obviously protecting her, not that she needs it. The herd gets along really well, and Cierra is a smart girl - but it never hurts to have someone older, wiser, and larger on your side!

Fuzzy Cierra, enjoying a peaceful breakfast.
(Nemo in the background)

It's been great to be able to help with am & pm chores during this holiday break. Time just hasn't allowed for much of anything related to horses in the past couple weeks, including blogging. Hoping to catch up with every one's blog soon! 

I miss interacting daily with our horses, and I really miss riding Koda! We haven't ridden since that last great ride in mid-November. At least the days are getting longer. I look forward to the New Year, and all the excitement it brings!


blowing snow for breakfast

This morning we arrived to find thigh high drifts, and blowing snow for breakfast. The drifts are always conveniently located by the entrance gate, making for a comical entrance. Nothing major, but we all could have done without the wind. Just ask Cierra, she stayed inside as long as possible. 

(L-R) Koda, Harmony, and Nemo by the shed.
The horses played musical bowls, and no one ate at their spot - thanks to Mr. Nemo. The wind made everything so chaotic, we didn't even bother correcting them - we fed and fled. 

Nemo decided it was a good day to eat in Koda's spot,
just inside the shed.


between the storms

Winter is in full force in WI, making horse-time (other then chores) almost non-existent. Our fuzzy herd doesn't seem to mind winter, they just play a little more carefully and eat more intently. I'm glad their thick coats keep them warm. Cierra's black coat in particular is a sun magnet. Nothing like cold weather, and warm horses - to fill your heart!

Cierra, getting so big - and yet still so small.
We had such a long wonderful Fall, it doesn't seem right to complain about Winter - after all it is December. Instead we take advantage of the breaks in the cold weather, and try to get outdoor chores done between the storms.

Her royal cuteness, enjoying the hay bunk to herself.
Among other things, we cleaned out the shed, restocked the hay and emptied the sh** bucket. I stayed good and warm in my trusty Rockies boots, bouncing between gate duty, helping with chores, snapping photos, and triple dipping on horsey-hugs.

Harmony and Cierra are buddies.
Harmony pulls enough hay down for both of them.

Nemo didn't make it on the blog today, none of his pictures turned out. Too bad, cuz we love his winter coat! I'll try to get a good photo of him next time. He was very much there today, trying to help and keeping a watchful eye as usual.

Koda is happiest with hay in his hair, today it's highlighted with snowflakes.
We have another hay wearer in our family, Cierra. It doesn't help she stands underneath Harmony, who always pulls hay down to eat. I wonder if she will continue the hay fashion, when she gets older & taller? Pretty sure she's got Koda beat, with the most hay on her head (and back and neck and...)!

Look at my new green coat!
The snow blanket was white and pretty in untraveled areas, making colors pop.  It's interesting to see the paths the horses choose, weaving throughout. Maybe someday we'll hop on the horses and make some paths in the snow together?