You may have noticed the lack of entries.

Of course, if you live in the right part of the country, you probably also noticed the Snowpocalypse Now event. I was reasonably lucky–my power was only out overnight Tuesday-Wednesday. On Tuesday night my boss was chasing us out the door barely at five, and we already had drifts over the roads. And for once the college wasn’t fooling around–we were closed by 9pm for Wednesday. Which was just as well. I wouldn’t have gotten out of the driveway on Thursday if it weren’t for the kindness of a stranger with a plow on his pickup, let alone Wednesday morning. The barn apparently is fine, with a tractor to plow out the worst of it. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get down that way. Today I shoveled another inch that fell last night and am staying inside, making American chop suey in the crock-pot (for the uninitiated, it’s basically a tomato-sauce-like thing with beef that goes with elbow mac, known to some as goulash in the Midwest) and working on jewelry for my Etsy Store, Steampunk Sweethearts. My lovely coworker Tom helped break down a seven-day clockworks and I’ve now got plenty of lovely gears to play with.

To give everyone some idea of what we’re dealing with here in the lake-effect belt:

Climb ev'ry mountain....

I CAN SEE MY HOUSE FROM no, wait, it's the other way.

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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.

Chillin’

At some point, yes, I’m going to the barn. But yesterday, besides work, there were whiteouts on the roads. Today, they still haven’t plowed on my road, and the “high” temperature today was about 20. Since we don’t have an indoor and Lucky resembles a yak at the moment, there wouldn’t be much point in any case.

Tomorrow, however, I’m hoping to get out there, and bring Lucky an early “real” birthday present (his actual foaling date was February 12.)

Here’s a sneak preview:

And thank you for all the good thoughts for Mr. Jet! He seems to be doing much better. Here is a picture after he came home from two nights at the vet, being inspected by Mr. Marcus:

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!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

But I went to the barn anyway. Good thing I left early and was not planning to actually ride.

Nor was I planning to precipitate a stampede. In fact, given all four of the herd were at the very far end of their pasture, I was more worried about running the gauntlet in the lanes–Zoey and Dino were out in the lanes, and Zoey assumes that everyone is coming to see him so he gets more than a little personal. I made it past them, and was headed for the far end of the field when J. must have come out to help. P-nut looked up, and two people coming normally means “time to go in!” Now, P-nut is looking much more spry these days (thanks to getting much better feed than he did at his old place) but I didn’t know he could run like that. And, of course, that meant Vandy, Sky, and Lucky had to come charging, too. I probably looked pretty silly swinging the lead at them, but I was not trampled, so that was good. The best part was, when I made it back to the gate, while P-nut was happy to come over for scritches (as P-nut is a very friendly horse) Lucky realized who it was and started walking away again! Fortunately, I had Wint-o-green Lifesavers in my pocket, and Lifesavers have a crinkly wrapper. Yes, Lucky can be bought with crinkles.

We live in the lake-effect snowbelt, and for those who haven’t been watching the weather, we are getting winds and snow. Less snow than last weekend, but the wind is pushing it around. Also, yesterday was rain, so overnight, it all turned to ice. I’m closer to the lake and a tad farther north, so I tend to get more snow than the barn. Still, I had figured it would just be a ‘beauty parlor’ day, and I was right. While J. worked on the stalls, I gave Lucky a scrub with the curry and a little Bath In a Bottle, including picking out all the shavings and straw in his tail. He also was due for a clipping of the bridle path, as it was starting to look more like a mohawk. Yet again, I resisted the urge to give him a crew cut (I think he’d look cute with a roached mane) though J. had to remind him, don’t move when the barber’s working or you get a bad haircut!

Lucky got his first candy cane of the year. I also put candy canes in everyone’s stockings (yes, everyone gets a stocking on their stall door) and found that his pasturemates (ie, their “mom”, C.) had left a bag of horse cookies in Lucky’s. Lucky appreciates his Christmas gift. We tried putting him in his stall instead of trying to fight our way back to the pasture, but he decided to chew on his feed tub bottom. So, J. got the big door and I turned him out in the front paddock, since he obviously wanted to be outside. Where he promptly went and stood in the shelter, which is much less cozy than his stall. But he does set his own agenda.

Sharp-eyed readers of Susan Salk’s blog may have noticed that next week’s edition will feature a certain internet-celebrity thoroughbred! Lucky gets more press than some Derby winners. All to the good, as hopefully Lucky will inspire folks to call on those Finger Lakes’ Finests! It’s down to the wire (no pun intended) at the track, and weather or no, now is the time to buy!

One Year Ago

One year ago this week, Lucky to Cope was in the barn of trainer Jared Schoeneman at Finger Lakes for what he probably thought was a pretty ordinary day. Racing was over for the season, and he was probably just happy he wasn’t going to be working that morning. Horses know their routines so he’d have known that something was up, even if it was a day off.

And then the strange lady with the trailer arrived. She brought a blanket for him, and the trainer put him on with some hay and no other horses. He needed the blanket because he’d never grown much of a winter coat (wintering in Florida, after all) and he was going for a long truck ride, west and south around Lake Erie and about as far as you can go without getting to Chicago. They left early in the morning, and it being December it was already getting dark when they finally found the little private barn some time after five.

Another total stranger came to get him off the trailer. Wherever he’d gone, it was not Florida and it wasn’t a racetrack. The barking dog in the yard didn’t seem to be worth fussing about, and it was dark, so cooperating until he got into the nice warm barn seemed reasonable, too. He stood to have the blanket pulled off, and his evening improved quite a bit when it turned out the people here had peppermints. He had a big stall with straw and a manger full of hay, and there were other horses in the barn. For a horse in a totally new situation, he was sanguine about the whole business.

A year ago, Lucky arrived. I am sure he is quite content that, while we had a nice little ride on Saturday, with a gallop in the field and a scary guy with a chainsaw in the woods (Lucky’s method of dealing with scary is a flicked ear, a slightly lifted head, and the faintest tightening of the back just in case he needs a springing start), today and yesterday were spent with me at home, fighting a rear-guard action against the snow on the porch, trying to get listings for etsy up, baking Christmas cookies, and all-round too snowed in to drive to the barn. Lucky’s idea of an anniversary present? A day off!

And so you can have your own anniversary next year, visit the Finger Lakes Trainer Listings and find a Finest of your own!

Pedicure Day

For Lucky, not for me. For once, the farrier (Rich) came on a Monday instead of a Tuesday, meaning I was free to get up early on my day off and go out to the barn. The nice part, besides actually getting to talk to Rich in person, was finally getting to meet Zoey’s owner. Z’s Mom is a nice but busy lady, and I did mention if she wants him handwalked or groomed (he’s working an abscess so no riding) and she can’t get out to the barn to let me know and I can always get him out while I’m at the barn. I hope she does call, and she says she’s put her son on notice that she needs free time, too! (Wish I could say the same thing to the dogs. Or potty-train them.) I wouldn’t mind giving Zoey some TLC. He’s a sweetie, even if he did beat up on Lucky when they were out together. He tried that with Dino. Dino may not be tall, but he is wide, and he was having none of that.

We debated heights. Zoey apparently sticks at 16.1 I can see he is taller than Lucky, but not by much. I really need to get a good measuring stick and get an accurate measurement.

Rich is still quite pleased with Lucky’s feet. He is apparently growing lots of sole, and besides one small crack on the left front that doesn’t want to get trimmed away, his feet no longer have the shelly, flaking look they did when he was growing out nail holes. Rich is, as a rule, not a fan of thoroughbred feet. He mentioned Big Brown specifically, and I did point out that his feet were spectacularly bad, even for a thoroughbred. With which he concurred. Lucky, however, has nice feet now, though there was a little bruising on the left hind. Rich also asked if I’d ever ‘opened him up’, and I admitted I had, or at least as much as Lucky felt like opening up. Rich approved, noting sometimes it’s nice to let them get it out of their system. I agree. Not to mention it’s a lot of fun.

The bad part? It was freezing. I rode yesterday in the wind and while Lucky was fine with it, I was done in about a half-hour. Winter is indeed coming, and the fuzzy faces at the barn are no longer the only indicator.

And I caught this fine lady when I got home and was watching TVG’s Finger Lakes simulcasting while doing housework. Someone please go get her. She plainly does not want to be a racehorse any more.

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