Saturday, November 30, 2013

Joseph and I took a nice long walk today.  He's so handsome and fuzzy.
 He was really weird when I went to catch him.  I don't know if he was jazzed up about the 4-wheeler or the yappy chihuahuas that were in a pickup in our front yard (people come to buy the 4-wheeler), or if I was electric, or what, but he just about fell down running away from me at least three times.  He'd stand and let me approach, then just explode into motion and slip in the mud.  Eventually he was brave enough to let me stand next to him and lean on his shoulder, keeping my hands to myself for a few minutes before I haltered him.  Then we had a lovely walk.

We saw some strange goats - Joseph thought they might be friends of his.

We had to squeeze between these barrels.  Joseph went right up and stuck his nose on one of them, then walked through.

My sweet boy:

We trotted along for a ways.  I haven't tried that away from home yet, and haven't done it at home much either.  I thought he'd think we were running from something, but he just watched me closely to try to set his pace to mine.  What a guy.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful for Life, The Universe, and Everything

Happy, Happy Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a Good night.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Good days just keep on coming

Yesterday we had another good ride in the bareback pad, then I saddled him up and he got all stressed out.  He didn't do anything bad but he wasn't comfortable approaching the mounting block with the saddle on.  I like how he communicates so clearly, as long as I give him the freedom to have an opinion.  Working without a lead rope is so revealing.

Today I put the saddle on him and left him in the round pen for several hours.  Then we did some hindquarter disengagement.  He was all bound up and stiff on his left side.  It took a while to get smooth movement, but it did eventually happen.

Today he was willing to give me his left side while I stood on the mounting block, but it was really hard for him to bring his head around to me on that side.  He didn't mind looking at me like this:
Interestingly, when we switched to his right side toward the mounting block, it was really hard for him to bring his head around and look at me on that side.  He wanted to look at me from the opposite side.  A little bit of denial, I guess.  Since stressful things are happening on one side, look on the other side? 

I massaged his neck and spent a lot of time just standing there, on both sides.  He eventually relaxed enough to drop his head and breathe.

Then we played the on-again, off-again game.  It went quite well, mounting and dismounting with the saddle from both sides.

He's very focused.

You might say he's intense.

And now - completely off topic - Winston's butt can't touch the ground when he sits down.  Seems to me this might be a conformation flaw?  It's kinda cute how he squats.  He likes to sit on the back of his butt like a people when he's on the couch.  I wonder if that'll be hard on his joints in the long run.

I'm not sure how much horse time I'll have with the holiday coming up.  So in case I don't see you by then, Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Good rides

Today I got to ride my two favorite horses in the whole wide world.  Bella hadn't been ridden since Easter.  She thought it was weird, but she was a good girl.  I didn't feel any lameness but I know it's there if we use her much. 

Then Liam rode her.  He loves her.  She loves him.  But she really thought it was weird carrying him on her back.  Kids are a whole different deal than adults are.  All squirmy and distracted.  She did well though, and so did he.  I didn't turn them loose together, just led them in circles.

This evening Joseph and I had an absolutely wonderful ride.  It started out like the rides we've had before, all starts and stops and squiggling this way and that.  But once I found my seat and relaxed and moved with him, we got going pretty well.  He would still stop in hopes of a treat sometimes, and he stopped if I lost my balance, but eventually we moved all the way around the round pen more than once in each direction.  I know that sounds dumb, but our rides before were a step here and a step there, all in a small space maybe a quarter of the size of the round pen.

I think he was relieved to find that it wasn't as hard as it seemed to be, and all we were trying to do was walk forward.  What a good boy.  He tries so hard.

I was looking at some photos of him in the BLM corrals in June of 2012, and his mane was jet black and shiny, but his body was lighter and duller.  Now it's the opposite - his body is darker and his coat is amazingly healthy, but he has those highlights in his mane.  I wonder if there's something I'm not providing him in his diet.  I don't mind his pretty highlights but I'd hate to think they're due to a nutritional deficiency.  He is on a supplement but I have to admit I haven't been very good about giving it to him all the time.  I've been better about it lately.  I'll keep on it and see what happens.

I think I might just ride him in a saddle tomorrow.  :D

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Joseph isn't sure about this whole collar thing.  Neither am I, to be honest.  I'm not sure how it's supposed to fit.  I think it might be too long.  The other two look tiny but I might try them on him just to be sure.  I think they might fit Bob and Pedro, but not the horses.  I will definitely be playing more with it all tomorrow.

Two good boys waiting.  Do you see infinity?  Is it coincidence or ... ?

Ice, weeds, glorious sunlight, me and my horse.


I see the future.  One day I shall be taller thanks to his grace and generosity.

I see past, present, and future.  I see my smart, kind, creative, beautiful daughter beside me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Yesterday I bought 3 sets of logging harness, collars and hames and all.  They're not in pristine condition, of course, or I wouldn't have been able to afford them, but they're harnesses!  The horses are going to start earning their keep.  As soon as I find a harrow.  Then there'll be no holding me back.  How about a manure spreader?  Mower?  Hmmm.  The possibilities are endless.

Realistically speaking though, we probably won't do most of those things.  But we can if we want to.  Now I just have to get them home and figure out how to put them on a horse.  I smell a hint of future blogs in the air!

Monday, November 18, 2013


The wind stopped blowing today so I didn't hide in the barn with the horses while I petted them.  Joseph and I went to check fence.  At one point I had to drop his lead and scoot under the fence to get after my fighting dogs (they had found a tasty dead thing) and Joseph stood there very sweetly and waited for me.

The dog fighting has got to stop.  This time Huckleberry came away with several bloody spots and a limp.  Blue is going to borrow a shock collar from my sister tomorrow.  I can never get to them quickly enough to break it up before they get carried away, and then I can't catch the bad dog after the fact. The shock collar will hopefully be a very satisfying experience (for me).

Then I saddled Joseph up and we played with the hula hoop.  Since he's got the clicker "target" thing down he stuck his nose right on it and would have done so repeatedly into eternity as long as I was game to keep playing.  When I put it over his head he thought it was weird, but I've practiced throwing the rope over and sliding the rope (and the bridle) over his ears so it wasn't a totally new idea.  Then we worked on neck reining with the hoop.  He's a quick study although he wasn't totally comfortable with the idea.

No bucking or even scooting today with the saddle, and he seemed more comfortable with it overall.  It was a good day.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lunch Date

Horses and sunshine will cure all ills.  Well, at least some days it seems that way.  Still not feeling up to snuff, in fact I spent a lot of today in bed reading a good book.  But yesterday I had lunch with my best friends.

The lunchtime lineup:

Not sure how he felt about me lounging in his meal.

It looks like he wants a kiss, doesn't it?  He doesn't, really.  But I gave him a click and a treat for a kiss or two this evening and I'm hoping maybe he'll get to where he likes it.  :)

And I have found that it's not MY saddle that scares him.  It's just a saddle thing in general.  So we'll keep soldiering on, trying to build some good habits in hopes of building a comfort zone one of these days. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I think I was sick yesterday.  It may have just been a reaction to stress.  I don't know.  Glad to be feeling better today though.  And the sun was shining!

This past week was very windy and rainy.  The trees threw off all their clothing like nudist toddlers and today we spent many hours picking up after them.  I didn't enjoy the work but I figure it's a small price to pay for all the long, warm, silent moments in the summer under their slivery, dancing leaves. 

I let everyone out on the pasture for a while today.  Pedro didn't get to stay out as long as the horses.  But I think I made a mistake because Joseph's feet were very warm tonight and he was ouchy on gravel.  Hmmm.

Bob was upset because I moved Pedro over by the horses so I went and opened some gates so he could be near them.  I wish I could put everyone together but with Bob on pelleted feed and grass, that just doesn't work.
 He was pretty bright and happy.  One thing that stuck with me after I watched the Pete Ramey video on donkeys was what he said about their attitude.  That they should not be depressed and droopy like Eeyore, and if they are, something is wrong.  Bob had me worried because he was pretty droopy and down most of the time.  But I was thinking about it as I walked with him today, and it's been a long time since I've seen him that way.  He runs around, seems happy to see me, and is pretty bright, although still more shy than Pedro.
 I think he's doing pretty well.  Sweet old guy.

Joseph played hard to catch today out in the pasture, so I had to insist.  I gave him a couple treats and a bit of love and went back to working on fence.  When it came time to go back into lockup, he just followed me and Bella.  I decided to make it a point to catch him with the halter and do nothing, then release him.  He ran off a couple times before letting me halter him.  The next time he came right up to me.  We need to do more "catch and release."  :)

We played with the clicker as well, working on targeting.  Interestingly, he has a hard time touching the target when it's down low.  I think it's scarier for him to dip his head down like that.  But he got to where he was really enjoying the game and would touch it wherever I put it, sometimes trying to cheat by touching my hand.  When I put him away he stood at the gate and asked for more.  I think that's a good sign.

I had been kind of excited about a group on Facebook that I thought was a clicker group, but it was so weird I couldn't even wrap my head around it, and there was a lot of paperwork and checking of boxes.  I think it might appeal to someone with a more computer/engineering type brain.  Wasn't going to work for me, it was like it was written in a whole different language with a different set of symbols than I'm used to.  Oh well.  We will continue to feel our way through rather than using scientific methods.   

I'm looking forward to another nice day tomorrow.  I love the sunshine!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Clicker / Shutter

Started playing with the clicker today.  Still on the fence...  Joseph does like food though.

My sister and I went to take pictures of things in the snow.  I didn't come up with much, but it was fun.  I'm looking forward to seeing what she got with her good camera.


Sunday, November 03, 2013


I missed out on a couple of days with my horse because of emergency calls at work.  I can't really complain about working late when it's life or death for someone's pet.  I feel like those moments are the ones that make it all worth it.  Even if it doesn't end well you know you did your best to help soften the blow.

Now that the time has changed and shortened the day I'll have no time for Joseph on the days that I work, even if I get off on time.  I have a hard time with winter.  I need to learn not to push back against things I can't change, like the seasons.  :)

Yesterday the wind was horrible, today the wind was painful, then it died off and it started snowing.

Winston thinks it's fun.

Joseph wants back in his stall where the hay is.

So I really have nothing interesting to talk about.  I'm just being a slug in my jammies.