running horses in

I get funny looks, when I tell people our horses are currently living 45 minutes away. They look perplexed. My answer to a common question is always the same - yes there are many stables closer. Including options less then 15 minutes away from home, and I wouldn't keep my horses at any of them.

We would love to move our horses closer to home, when we find a reasonable boarding place that fit's us. One that doesn't run horses into stalls, paddocks or holding areas, with a four wheeler, whistle or bell. Better yet, we would love to move our horses to our own home! Sigh. 

Running horses in, is my pet peeve. One that I would waiver on, under certain circumstances. Like thousands of acres, where large herds are a different scenario. I get that. I'm also not talking about calling your own horses to the gate. Picture feeding time with boarded horses from different homes, racing to be the first one to eat through a narrowing space, into a narrowing space. Keyword, narrow.

There are so many things wrong with running domesticated horses in for the evening, and so many benefits to taking the time to lead them in. Yes I know, it takes longer. A lot longer. It's a golden opportunity to reinforce respect. Doesn't matter to me how wonderful anything else is, if you don't care enough to safely lead my horse. It speaks volumes. Can you hear it? Among other things it says, you won't be "taking care" of my horses anytime soon.

I was recently asked for a boarding stable recommendation, in my general area. I was only able to give one. It's high end, and all the stuff that goes along with that. It's typically full. I know of others, but nothing recommendable. Apparently the other horse people that were asked said they also know plenty of stables in the area, but none they would recommend either. How sad. 

Know that not all the boarding stables in this area run horses in. We do have good stables, and not so good stables, that hand lead horses. With other things factored in, so far what I've seen, is not a good fit for us. They are either breed/discipline specific, costly/high end, location or other things that don't bode well. 

I sure hope there are other good boarding stables, we've yet to discover. The kind that understand the importance of hand leading. I don't care how fancy a place is, as long as it's safe. I care how my horses (and us humans) are treated. For now, we will continue to drive. It's worth it. 

Koda, Cierra and Nemo (L-R)


fear is a funny thing

You can expect it, or not. It shows up anyways. I don't know why. I tell it to go away. It listens about as well as my kids do. 

The smallest of things will make fear bubble up. Like a fly/pollen/bee/if I toss my head up and down maybe she'll stop making me work, thing. When I brought Koda in from the pasture he had an itchy nose. It didn't just develop, but he would totally add it to his bag of tricks. Unless we were doing something that required his full attention, he was flinging his head to get rid of whatever was itchy. 

So I stopped riding. Maybe I should get off? I don't want to bee flung. 

My hubby dismounts, and begins to rub and wipe the inside of Koda's nose (EWWW). I'm glad Koda enjoyed the nose cleansing. It didn't cure the itch, but made him feel better. Totally grossed me out. We all chuckled. It wasn't the nose wiping act, it was the green goopy slime left on the no longer clean sweatshirt!!

Koda really wasn't doing anything wrong (minus head tossing) so I tried to keep him busy, and his mind off being itchy. Add a trailered-in young horse learning in-hand showmanship (think owner going one direction, horse going the other) annnd I can't stop the little "what if" fear as it bubbles up. Instead, the fear bubbles bigger. Like bubble gum big. Expanding and getting clearer, about to pop and cover your face big!!

Why do I let little things bother me? I work through it in my head. Block - it - out! Doubt it's ever really gone, just squashed. I even manage to lope again. After a bunch of wrong left leads (stillll struggling...my boy is extremely right sided - but that's another post) I get three good left lope off's. It's been a long enough ride, and end on a good note.

Fast forward to the next day, it's wet and muggy. We head to the indoor arena. Last time I rode inside it was spring, and Koda ended up in training. Block - that - thought - too! Service doors are midway up, so there is open space above and below the door, the hay is gone, and there is a new cart for a mini horse in-training. 

After working through some antics while tacking Koda up, we enter the indoor arena and our conversation goes something like this: 

Me: "See the cart, don't tip it over" 

Koda: "I wonder what a cart tastes like?" 

Me: "It's not for you" 

Koda: "Does it move?"

Me: "Let's not find out. See the open door?" 

Koda: "I can see the outside!! Did you know there is an Arena out there?! A Trailer? A Round Pen? Why is this door open anyways??"

Me: "Not sure, the door is never open - and yes, I see them." They all look the same as they do every other day."

Koda: "What if a horse-eating monster pops in from outside? or a blade of grass moves??"

Me: "There are no monsters at Iron Horse. Grass & trees move, get over it"

I find something to help me crawl up on Koda, and we begin our ride. Gradually working up in gaits, and proximity, to passing the scary open door. Koda never really does forget about it, but doesn't shy. We take breaks next to the big open door, and gaze outside. Yep, everything still looks the same.

My hubby leaves the arena to swap Cierra out for Nemo, and it's just me and Koda, and kitty Belle. Shortly after, Belle disappears out the open door. I can feel Koda's wheels turning, where did she go? First Brad, then Cierra, and Belle too - where is Nemo anyways? Why am I still inside?? 

I started thinking we should play it safe and just walk/trot, nahhh - went for the lope. Past the door we went! First one side, then the other. Kinda fun having the arena to ourselves. I swear I heard my horse sigh, when Nemo & Brad joined us. I was all proud of myself, I got the "what's your point" look from the husband...he just doesn't get it. I know it wasn't a big deal, but it was to me. I'll take every confidence building success I can get, especially the ones I do on my own.

I dislike fear, and what I let it do to me or better said what it prevents me from doing. There really isn't anything funny about it. But a healthy amount does keep one safe. If that's the case, I've got nothing to fear.

no worries
Koda (L) Cierra (R)


cleared for take off

I am SO happy to report that Nemo has made a full recovery from stepping on that nasty, rusty, who knows where it came from, no good, bent nail! We are so thankful for the loving care Nemo received. Two weeks almost to the day, he is sound and cleared for take off by the vet. Whew!! Believe you me, we know that is not always the case. 

It's a special day when you overhear your trainer say "I just love you Nemo", as Koda & I passed my happy hubby riding his heart horse... 


...while Nemo was healing, Brad rode his mare Cierra. Surely not the way he planned on starting his rides with her, but things work out for a reason...

First ride on Cierra

...altho it's not easy going from your steady-eady, to a young horse. Cierra will be a ton of fun to ride, and they'll soon become a great team. It will take some time for them to really tune into each other. Harder when horses are in training. Cierra is only three, the best is yet to come! 


Sunday Stills ~ Watershots

When I think of watershots, I think of our pond. I treasure my time, savoring the tranquility at home...

yellow waterlily

...while in St. Louis this past week, at their breathtaking expansive Botanical Gardens, I was also drawn to their water features...

lilypad reflection

...along with the peaceful Japanese Water Garden, I was mesmerized by beautiful floating glass onions...

colorful floating onions
...especially the blue ones...

floating blue onion

...I wonder how they float in the water, in one place...

floating glass onions at St. Louis Botanical Gardens

See other Sunday Stills Watershots


do not pull a nail

When my phone rang early Sunday morning, and it was our trainer calling (while she was out of State at a horse show) I knew it couldn't be good. You know that feeling...all I could think of was "what horse and what happened"...she was so calm, and cautious, as she unfolded her not so good news. Me, I was jumping out of my skin and beginning to think the worst - and it could have been...

I won't keep you in suspense. Nemo stepped on a nail. A big - long - old - rusty - bent - carpenters nail. The worst kind. Of course, we didn't know these details at the time. All we knew was, Nemo stepped on a nail and the vet was on their way. He continues proving to be Brad's million dollar horse.

Thankful for our trainers many years of experience, who knew not to pull a nail out. You read it right. Do not pull a nail out from your horses foot. Pulling a nail out is the natural thing to do. I would have. Instead, do you and your horse a favor and call a vet! They can treat your horse sooo much better, if they know exactly where the nail is inserted into the foot and what damage may have been done.   

Before pulling out the nasty nail, the vet took x-rays. What we saw made everyone cringe. Ouch!!  Poor Nemo! The long bent nail barely missed a ligament. It may have nicked the sheath that surrounds it. Brad was given three options: hauling Nemo into the vets for surgical wound flushing, treating the wound at the barn, or just stomach antibiotics. He chose the recommended middle option. It made the most sense after seeing what we were dealing with. Here is the nasty culprit:

the nail
The vet placed a tourniquet on Nemo's leg to keep the antibiotic localized. It was injected into the wounded area. Among other things, Nemo is now on penicillin and daily iodine solution soaks. He is being watched carefully, for any fever/infection/increased swelling/abscess or change in appetite or behavior.  

We met the vet at the barn today for a day after follow-up. She was thrilled with how sound Nemo is, and so are we! She repeatedly mentioned the difference that early care made. We fully know, Nemo is "not out of the woods". In his better interest, the vet recommended that Nemo get turned out with Cierra & Koda. We feel it was the right decision. With movement, the tourniquet swelling went down even more.

The best case scenario, Nemo should be sound to ride in a couple weeks. Worst case scenario, we have to do surgery (option one). Time will tell. We are so very grateful, and reminded, that anything can happen at any given time. Thankful for our trainer, and her wonderful apprentices, who truly love animals and noticed right away, and our knowledgeable caring vets. They are the best. But what we are most thankful for is our one of a kind, beloved, big guy Nemo...

Checking out his wrapped foot, after a well deserved roll