First Day Out!

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Not enough fly spray in the western hemisphere, but we try.

Not enough fly spray in the western hemisphere, but we try.

Coming out!  (Thursday provides an escort.)

Coming out! (Thursday provides an escort.)

Thursday is an expert at photobombs.

Thursday is an expert at photobombs.

You can see Lucky was very excited.

You can see Lucky was very excited.

Whee!

Whee!

Maybe a little excited.

Maybe a little excited.

We're not getting back in the truck, are we?

We’re not getting back in the truck, are we?

Exploring the hill.  And the shade-it's hot and muggy today.

Exploring the hill. And the shade-it’s hot and muggy today.

Finding the good rolling spot is critical.

Finding the good rolling spot is critical.

But eventually the most interesting thing is the grass.

But eventually the most interesting thing is the grass.

It’s a hot and muggy day as the dogs would attest if dogs could type, though not so hot Tucker didn’t grab her chance to run after a rabbit on the road (Dad stepped on her leash before she could keep going into the swamp.) Right now, Lucky and Tice seem most interested in the hay under the lean-to and hoping that someone might think about letting them back into the barn. (No, horses. Go eat more grass.) They’ve been fly sprayed to the hilt, but some of the flies aren’t convinced.

However, we're trying some all-natural fly control...

However, we’re trying some all-natural fly control…

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Getting Down to Work

As much as not having ridden much in months and the weather allows, of course. For the observant, yes, we’re riding in the corral, because there basically isn’t anywhere else except the field, and for his first ride here, I’d rather stick to inside the fence. (Yes, safety mavens, the fence is off.)

We have an escort. Actually he’s just looking for an excuse to hang out under the corn crib where the skunk lived.

Pardon my sweats but it’s 93 and it’s not like we’re jumping.

Despite a brief pause to fuss over the tractor and cutter in the field, not that he hadn’t been staring at it all day, he did pretty well. Even cantering, not for long, true, but he managed to get the lead both ways and held it through a half-circle. We also went up the hill behind the barn, which was fortunately not at all exciting.

Since he worked SO HARD (in his mind) he got a Vetrolin bath and a special treat:

“See? CLEARLY, I worked. I wouldn’t get a poultice otherwise. Obviously I am in intense work. More peppermints.”

Yeah, he probably didn’t work THAT hard, but pampering never hurt anyone. In any case it’ll keep the flies off his legs.

Lucky’s Looking Spiffy

I was not at all surprised to see everyone inside at the barn today. We’ve had about four days straight of brutal cold, though not as brutal as up my parents’ way (they got a -19 reading the other night) and today there was more snow with a ‘balmy’ 20 degrees.

Don't let the sun fool you.

After being mobbed by cats and greeted by a lot of whinnies (I think some folks had gone through their morning hay and were looking for more) I got Lucky out in the aisle to try on his birthday present:

He has a certain yak-like quality, don’t you think? And the halter does need a bit more oiling, but I chose London Tan because the dark leather just blends in, so it will not get too much darker.

Lucky gets his very own nameplate.

After a good grooming, I walked him in the barn aisle, and for fun, I tried it without a lead (as there was nowhere for him to go except into his own stall. Much to my surprise, at least walking in the closed barn, I can lead him, stop him, and back him without touching him. He does get a little confused by the idea of turning away from me without the lead, but he does it. All without any fancy training, DVDs, ‘join-up’ or analysis of his “horsenality.” Just playing on a bored day. He might just have been bored and looking for something to do, but he did cooperate. And he was quite happy to go back in his stall, where it was warm and dry. I’m sure by now he’s replaced all the straw that I picked out of his tail with new stuff.

The Grant Memorial by Henry Merwin Shrady

The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition had an article by Michael F. Bishop about the Grant Memorial at the U.S. Capitol, bemoaning its neglect and regretting how most visitors only pause near the bronze statues of a caisson unit and a cavalry charge to take pictures of the (admittedly imposing) West front of the Capitol.

I read the article and realized: “Oh, THAT’S what those statues with all the horses were about.”

From my June trip to Washington:

His legs are tucked high enough to please George Morris.

So you see, Mr. Bishop, not everyone who stands there is just photographing the Capitol dome from yet another angle. If anything the side groupings are infinitely more interesting than General Grant on Cincinnati at the center.

I will shortly be making prints of these, and other photos (from D.C. and elsewhere, horse-related and not) available as prints on my etsy store, Steampunk Sweethearts. Once the prints are available for purchase, for every sale, $5 (one bale of hay) will be donated to Sunkissed Acres to benefit the new arrivals and the resident herd. And, if someone buys one of the ‘high-ticket’ jewelry items in the main store, I will also make a donation to Sunkissed based on the value of the item. Let’s get those horses fed!

And I am posting from McDonald’s today, enjoying a coffee after a very cold walk-and-a-teeny-trot in the snow (with a McCellan not unlike those on the statues pictured!) Lucky looks increasingly yak-like, and was generally cooperative on the roughly six inches of lake-effect snow on the ground. (Much nicer than at my house, where Tucker the Corgi is swimming in two feet of the stuff! She thinks it’s fun, at any rate. My knotted-up back, from digging out the drive, would disagree profoundly. Puff just likes eating the snow like ice cream.) Lucky was very steady, and surprisingly cooperative despite my leaving the crop in the barn. Most impressively, and I have no idea how he figured this out as it’s certainly not something we practice a lot or even at all recently, he turned in the box of poles without stepping over, and when I asked him to stop in front of a pole and try a sidepass along it, much to my surprise, he did! To the left, it was a fairly pure one, even, and with the snow I could see lovely clean steps.

I suppose I should step up my search for an antique western saddle, meant to fit a high-withered horse. He has more talent for trail and barrels than he’s ever shown for jumping!

Some Equine Pictures

Since it’s the holidays when everyone is stuffing themselves on cookies and peppermints, instead of any updates, here is some equine art:

Sir Richard Sutton and the Quorn Hounds

With a scent breast-high

Derby Day poster

Wall of Win!

Lucky's Allowance Win

Benny's ONLY Win!

Hot Dice

Hunting print of some sort

Now for an update, with photos!

Hopefully, I’ll also be able to upload some video, as Dad filmed some video of the riding (and the jumping at least looks better when we’re moving.)

TBs Together: Lucky and his new roomie.

Me setting jumps. Not sure why Mom felt like taking this one, but there it is.

Dad meets Dino. Dino meets Dad.

The B.O. was riding when we got there, and asked if Dad wanted to hop on. It took some persuading, as he hasn’t ridden since my old OTTB, Benny, died. He’d taken a few lessons on him while my brother and I were both at college, but that’s it for a while. Now, Dad is not particularly short. Dino is not especially tall. But Dino is BROAD.

Lucky and Dino. I really don't feel THAT much taller.

We were just walking around, killing time while J. finished dragging the track. The day before it had rained and their friends had brought over their trotting ponies to work after the races they’d been headed to were called on account of weather. Once he’d finished grooming it, we headed out so Mom could get some good pictures.

Jogging wrong way round.

We jogged for about a quarter-mile.

WAY down...

And then we turned back.

WHEE!

I like how he cocked his right ear back to listen to me.

Believe it or not, my stirrups are on the top hole, which I punched in them. I think I need to add another.

This is actually after we stopped after the half-mile pole, jogged back, and went for a walk/trot/canter in the field to the left in the photo and spooked up a little bird that was either a woodcock or bobwhite quail. See the crazy OTTB who must never be allowed to run because that's just CRAZY.

Seriously. Lazy-butt didn't even break a sweat.

After that, we went back to the arena for some flat work and a little jumping.

Some groundwork.

Jumping, with funny facial expressions (because I'm clucking at him. A lot.)

Cat crossing.

Did I mention Nanook really wanted to help?

They will NEVER find me here.

And here is the OTTB running barrels.

Speaking of crazy. Do not try this at home (unless you have a horse as sane as Lucky.)

Seriously, don't try this. Aren't you terrified of OTTBs yet?

If anyone’s wondering, yes, I’m riding aside on the PDN, and yes, he’s listening fine with the stick on the right and my leg on the left. The bit I’m riding in for all of the above is the rubber mullen-mouth dee.

Lucky getting a nice hose down and liniment on his legs. Not that he wasn't bone dry under the saddle. Lucky doesn't break a sweat unless it's 90 out.

Mr. Biscuit has no time for your shenanegans. (And in case anyone was wondering why there's cat hair on the barn towels....)

Yes, see the terrifying OTTB, who cannot be trusted outside the ring. For the record: rubber dee bit, no tranquilizing agents (though given he probably did that 3f in something like :48, he might as well have been on them), galloping, open fields (the track and the hayfield have no fencing), jumping crossrails, trotting and cantering barrels, letting silly rider tool around side saddle. And as for me, I’m happiest that while we were doing flat work, as I argued about picking up the right lead (LOTS of circles and rebending and trying it again) I lost an iron when we finally got the correct one and decided not to fuss picking it up and risk losing the canter. I stuck it so well my mother, the one who’s watched me ride for years, despite me passing less than three feet from where she was sitting with my right ankle at her eye level, didn’t even notice I’d lost it.

This Is The Fairgrounds…

Where the Fair is held. Any questions so far? (Geek props to anyone who gets that reference.)

The on-deck. The warm-up/exercise ring is behind them, the show ring to my right. We should have such nice fencing at my old fair.

OMG black draft ponies! It's like mini-mes for Percherons! Want....

Disreputable-looking characters.

Best. Cake-decorating. Entry. EVER. (Yes, it won.)

4-H dads, setting up the dressage ring. My dad could sympathize.

Thank goodness for telephoto lenses.

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