Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm as proud as a peacock!!!

We had our farrier appointment for the horses last night.  We pulled shoes on Shad and the whole herd got their trims.  I was a tiny bit apprehensive about Eagle's turn.  So, when we still had two horses to do, we brought him in and put him front and center in Ladde's stall, where he could nosh on some hay and quietly observe.  And observe, he did.  Eagle is definitely a "watcher".  I like that about him.  I'm a firm believer that horses learn from watching our interactions with the other horses, seeing how they respond and such. 

So, T started out with the front hooves.  It's his habit to work on both front feet first, and then move to the hind ones.  Eagle pulled his LF out of T's hands once.  T picks it up again and moves on as if nothing happened.  Front hooves done, and on to the back.  T picks up right hind quietly, but confidently.  Trims the hoof and all is well.  On to the LH and Eagle staunchly does not want to pick up the foot, and has a mildly worried expression on his face.  T asks us to let him have Eagle's lead and he does a few minutes of groundwork, backing, moving away from pressure and standing quietly while he runs his hands all over Eagle's back and hindquarters.  This took a few minutes for Eagle to relax and let T pet his rump and hind legs, but he finally did.  Then T quietly, but confidently asks for Eagle's foot again...slowly, but surely Eagle lifts his foot.  T sets the foot down, gives Eagle a reassuring stroke or two.  Eagle sighs and licks his lips.  Again, slowly and confidently T requests that Eagle lift his foot.  Eagle complies.  T holds the foot a little longer this time before setting it back down and giving the reassuring little pet and soft-spoken "good boy's".  Third time, T picks up his nippers and trims the foot.  Eagle stands quietly and was fairly relaxed in his whole body.  I'm so thrilled I could have kissed T !!  Afterwards Eagle got to stand quietly while we chatted, he got an apple as a reward, and I removed his halter.  He was still in the barn with us, but loose.  He chose to stay with us and not go outside.  Another very good sign.  I gave Eagle his evening ration and he ate his hay, but continued to watch us instead of going outside.  I think he was mulling over the lesson in his mind.  And it was apparent that he was very pleased with himself.  He knew he'd been a good boy and he felt good about it.  According to my hubby, who fed the horses this morning, Eagle was still feeling confident and comfortable with himself this morning.  :)

Judging from the rope burn scars on his right hind foot, somebody in his past wasn't so patient with him, which is even more amazing that he was so willing when he was treated with kindness and respect.  My gut instincts are right on the money with this horse.  He wants to please, he gets enjoyment when he understands your requests and he is one very smart horse.  A true "diamond in the rough".  I'm so thankful we got him!  He is admired by everyone who meets him, and so far without exception, every person believes he will make a wonderful trail horse. 

So, the plan this fall is that we will continue our groundwork in the round pen and look for a local horseman or horsewoman to work with us and aid us with their expertise.  And then hopefully, if all goes well, we'll be riding by winter in a nearby inside arena.  If everything doesn't go perfectly according to this outline, well then...we'll take things slower.  However long it takes...but we'll get there.  It's all about the journey, right?  And, I have to admit that I'm enjoying this process of getting to know this horse immensely!  He's a joy to be around and with every single day I see a layer of distrust peel away.  That's what true horsemanship is all about!!  The building of a trusting and long-standing relationship.  It is not simply about riding.  Not for me anyway.

In other areas, it's turning out to be a fairly busy week.  Monday after work, we took our truck to the repair shop.  Recently it's developed this rather unsafe "wandering" in the steering.  It reminds me of older Fords we've had in the past.  Loosey-goosey steering is something I hate.  Last night after work was the horse's trimming/pedicure appointment.  Tonight I'm visiting a barn about a half hour's time from our house where hubby and I will observe a "trainer" (I really hate that description), horsewoman work with a horse.  Her prices seem a bit high, but I want to keep an open mind and observe her in action before I make a decision.  Tomorrow night, we pick up our truck from the repair shop and go to a friend's house where we're picking some apples and some pears for making sauce for the freezer.  Friday after work, we'll be picking up our first ton of stall bedding pellets for this preparation for "stall cleaning 101" term 2011/2012...oh boy!  And, I guess amongst everything else, I'll be making apple and pear sauce this weekend.  Fall is always a very busy time of the year for us. 

I found out from the Oregon State Dept. of Forestry that they'll begin selling woodcutting permits on October 12.  They've doubled in price this year, from $10 to $20 for 3 cords, and they're limiting the number of overall permits that can be purchased by a single family from 5 to 3.  It's still cheap wood, and I enjoy getting it, so I'm not complaining.  They haven't revealed the location yet, but we're hoping it might be the same as last year.  This area encompasses hundreds of thousands of acres of forestry lands and if it's too far to drive, it becomes cost-prohibitive if you have to drive for hours and spend big bucks in gas just to get to the wood cutting area, so...keeping our fingers crossed there.  Judging by how cool it's getting at night, it won't be long before a fire in the woodstove's going to be necessary.

And, lest we not forget...we'll be needing to get about 4-5 more tons of grass hay to re-fill our barns for the winter.  Our hay supply we put up last summer is looking a bit too small for my comfort.  So, as you can see...we're busy.  We're just hoping to be able to accomplish most everything before God forgets to turn the water off in Oregon.  Again.  *sigh*

Hope all your fall projects are going well.  Has anybody else noticed how fuzzy the horses are getting already???  Ours sure are!!  Let's just hope they're getting prepared, and they don't know something we don't know!!  :~D

Blessings all!!
Lorie and the gang at Cingspots

Oh, as far as anniversaries go...yesterday marked the one year date since the all-too-soon demise of our beloved pup, Nellie.  In some ways it seems like such a long time ago, and then again, I can't believe it's been a whole year.  I still miss her. Rest in peace sweet girl.  And next week, we will have had our sweet little Ruby for a whole year!!  Now that's something to celebrate!!  Yesterday was a much, much better day than last September 27th...all around!  Amen!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last day of summer 2011

Son-of-a-gun! Sure did seem to pass all too quickly.  Aah well, fall can be such a lovely time of year.  To me, it seems like the season of beginnings, instead of things winding down; which it really is I guess.  My energy usually seems renewed with the cooling of the weather, and there's always so many projects that need to be completed before the great move indoors again.  Fall is my favorite season to work.  I love riding my horse in the fall, with the fallen leaves on the ground and the brisk temps which call for wearing of your favorite sweatshirt or cozy sweater.  It's also the best time for picture taking.  The light seems so soft and subtle, making photographs so warm and pretty.  Being a squirrel at heart, I enjoy storing up for winter.  Filling my pantry shelves is fun for me.  I love the colors of everything sitting there awaiting my creativity later.  Canning and preserving the summer harvest for the pantry or the freezer is both rewarding and kind of fun, if I don't try and do too much.  I absolutely adore the look of a full barn, bursting at its' seam with beautiful and sweet-smelling hay for the horses.  Can't deny, that's a culinary delight for the critters!  And, getting outside in the woods and cutting firewood.  There's just something so primally satisfying about being in the fresh air and gathering the winter's heating supply that it thrills my soul!  Silly?  Maybe, but I just love it. 

But...before fall officially begins, we have this day to savor and enjoy.  This, the final day of the summer of 2011.  We'll never pass this way again, nope, not ever.  So, enjoy it!  Get outside and do most anything to commemorate the day!  I've dressed for activity today.  At lunchtime, the dogs and I are heading to the park for a walk.  After work, I'm making a quick stop at the local farmer's market and picking up some fresh veggies for a quick and simple supper.  Then, I'll head home to commence preserving that 20 lbs of tomatoes that have been waiting on me.  I suppose we'll get 7 or 8 quarts of tomatoes for the pantry, and if there's any left after that - we'll slice em up and enjoy them fresh!  There's nothing much better than a fresh-picked, sweet-tasting garden tomato!!  Hmmhmm good!!  Who know, maybe I'll fry up some bacon for a BLT.  That's probably my most favorite sandwich ever!  A treat for sure.  :)  What better way to say farewell to summer.  Maybe a glass of fresh lemonade to wash it all down with...yep, that sounds good to me!

On another topic, after the Round 1 fight between Shad and Eagle the other day, and Eagle's 24 hour time out in the pasture all by his lonesome...hubby decided to forgive and give them another shot at friendship.  I said my morning prayers for protection and peace, then drove out the driveway and left them to themselves.  It's up to them now...

They have 5 acres at their disposal.  They have apple trees, plum trees and blackberries to nosh on at will.  They have two seperate pastures and two shelters to pick from.  Not to mention, a whole bunch of randomly placed piles of fresh, green hay to keep them occupied.  You would think that they could handle a little compatability with all those choices, wouldn't you?  I'm sure hoping so.  *fingers crossed*

Peace and blessings everyone,  get out there and seize the day!!  It's ready and waiting like a beautifully wrapped gift.  In reality, each one of our days is exactly that, a gift from our Father, especially for us.  I hope we all make the most of it, and enjoy this; the final day of summer. 

Ready or not, here comes the fall...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Round 1 - Eagle by a landslide!!

Yep, we had a fight last night.  Big time.  And the winner is...Eagle.  Not a mark on him, not so much as a hair out of place...he sure is one scrappy little sucker.  I'd call him "street wise", you know, like those kids who run the streets at all hours of the day or night.  Ah-huh, like that - savvy?

Poor, poor, poor Shad.  :(  I could have cried for him, he was so traumatized by it all.  You see, Shad's not a fighter.  He's never had to be.  Shad's a leader because he's got the right moves.  All the bravado, but he's never had to back it up.  Until now.  I have no idea what took place.  I hadn't even made it home from work yet, when my hubby'od that "my horse" had beat the crap out of his, ok.  Anyway, whatever transpired must have just happened because the wounds were fresh.  There's a perfect bloody hoof print on the side of Shad's side rump (few inches below the hip bone), a rather nasty 8-9" long scrape down the side of his ribcage (same side) and a brutal bite on his back on his other side.  The bite is the one that's the most painful.  The bite indicates that it was upfront and personal...not the rump to rump kicking match like the first time.  Shad was so bewildered that he didn't even want to leave the safety of the shelter.  He was trembling and nickering for his herdmates to come to him.  But, Ladde was near Eagle across the pasture.  Kadie was off by herself grazing.  And Harley, well...clueless Harley was sniffing the bucket of the neighbor's tractor who was trying to move our manure pile for us.  Good grief...I've said it before, but I'll say it's a darn good thing that we know very little of what actually happens around there when we're gone.  Thank God, because He apparently watches over our little herd for us while we're away.  I'm very thankful for that.  :)

Maybe the tractor being there somehow instigated something, however unlikely, but something happened.  Guess we'll never know, but it sure would make things easier to understand if we knew.  They've been together in the pasture everyday, all day long for over a week now.  No apparent problems.  And, now today Eagle is in the front pasture all by his lonesome.  Having a little time-out.  A time to ponder ones' thoughts, if you will.  Maybe it was Shad's fault.  But, my money's on Eagle.  I'm thinking that's a pretty safe bet.

This weekend we're planning a camp-out with some friends.  The first of the summer for us, even if the calendar says it's technically the first weekend of fall.  We're not taking any horses.  We have a friend who'll becoming over doing the feeding and the watering for us in our absence.  I'm thinking we'll leave the horses separated while we're gone.  I'd rather not have any surprises in store for us upon our return home.  *sigh*

This same friend will use the opportunity to evaluate Eagle for us.  The wife of this couple caretaking for us is a full-time horse trainer.  She's been doing it for a number of years and is quite accomplished herself.  I'm thinking that if I want to (hopefully) be riding Eagle next summer as my trail mount, it would be a good idea to have someone work with him for a couple of months, then throughout this coming winter, I'll be able to ride him a couple of times a week in the inside arena in preparation for next summer.  If I don't get help, it will take me far too long to accomplish my goals of having a solid riding horse.  And...truth told, I'm not nearly as brave a rider as I once was.  I don't bounce quite as well as I used to.  It's been many, many moons since I can recall a fall from a horse, and I'd rather not experience anything of the sort in my future.  Get my drift? 

That said - I'm going to be considering a few different trainers in the upcoming weeks and make my decision as to which one I feel the most comfortable with schooling my new boy.  He's very, very sensitive.  Even if he is scrappy.  I want his trust to be handled with kid gloves.  I want his schooling to be gentle, but with firm hands.  Like Ray always said..."the slower you go, the quicker you'll get there".  Amongst so many other sayings that I remember equally well; those are words of wisdom.  And, I've taken them to heart. 

Let's hope there is no Round 2...pretty, pretty please?

Blessings everyone,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Friday, September 16, 2011

Harvest weekend

This is the final weekend of that's a sobering thought, isn't it?  I love fall, but I'm pretty partial to summer too.  It's always a little bit sad thinking that another beautiful and long-awaited summers' coming to a close.  Oh well...whatcha gonna do?  Go with the flow baby!!

So, my garden has surely been a disappointment to me this year.  Firstly, I decided not to plant much.  That's my fault.  I planted 7 tomato plants and had numerous volunteers shoot up from last year.  Having said that, last week I picked our very first ripe tomatoes.  That's right.  Hard to believe that, but it's true.  I had 4 or 5 and one of those I threw out because it was mushy and tasted terrible.  First time that's ever happened!  I have some yellow cherry tomatoes that are ok tasting.  I've had better.  They're very low in acid and rather blah in taste...won't be planting that variety again.  I have a Beefsteak, that's the plant that's given me a few ripe ones.  They're nice in size and color, haven't eaten any yet, so that's still undecided.  And then a friend gave me an heirloom variety called Brandywine.  I have some tomatoes on the vines, but as of yet; no ripe tomatoes.  Hmmm....mighty slow in ripening wouldn't ya say?

I have tomatillos, also given to me by my friend.  I didn't even really know what a tomatillo was but...they're tasty little things.  And there's bunches of those.  I picked a smallish bowlful of those last night...making us some salsa verde tonight to put on our soft tacos with leftover barbecued pork tenderloin, some of those ripe beefsteak tomatoes, chopped onion, a little grated cheddar cheese, sour cream...yum!  We have watermelon and cantelope (not from my garden) and homemade marionberry/wildblackberry pie that I made last night.  The berries are homegrown...marions I planted and the wild blackberries; well, those just abound everywhere.  I'm pretty sure I may have picked what may prove to be the last of the berries for this season...sigh...sad.  But, we'll surely enjoy sinking our teeth into that pie later tonight.  Hmmhhmm good!!

The only other thing planted in my garden is some flat-leafed parsley and that's growing gung-ho.  So, you see it's not much of a garden this year.  Hopefully the tomatoes will ripen and I'll dry those and stick the sun-dried tomatoes seasoned with sea salt and basil into freezer bags for use later on this winter.  I'm picking up a few local tomatoes at a fruitstand on my way home tonight and have plans to dry up a batch this weekend.  Makes wonderful additions to store-bought spaghetti sauce, throw in a few chopped mushrooms, bell pepper and black olives...yummy!  Dresses up Prego and makes it your own!! one willl ever know!!  :)

The pears from our trees in the backyard have been out-doing themselves this year.  Me and the horses have been enjoying those, as well as the apples.  Hubby and I will make a trip to a local orchard and pick a bunch of apples for making applesauce and apple pie filling for the freezer.  We go through that in a heartbeat...tastes wonderful with homemade bisquits on a cold night.  The only real difference between my applesauce and pie filling is more sugar in the filling and it's more chunky...but in a pinch, we eat it however we want to.  I think I might pick up some pears and make some pearsauce and I want to make some plum jam for the freezer too.  Sheesh!  So many things I want to do!

I want to get some more hay before the weather turns rainy too.  And, let's not forget the firewood.  We have gotten none and I have no idea where we might get some, if we have to buy it.  Last year we chopped our own through the Oregon Dept. of Forestry.  $10 buys you a permit to cut 3 cords in 2 weeks, and you can buy up to 10 permits in a season.  The season begins when they open up the forests after the fire danger has passed.  That's usually sometime in October in Oregon.  I love storing up stuff for the winter!!  I'm a squirrel at heart!  But, my hubby appreciates it, and so do our horses!  We alll love to eat!!

So, unless my wonderful hubby has a few plans of his own; that's our weekend plans in a nutshell!!  Hope everyone who's having weather-related issues gets some relief soon.  There have been floods, fires, storms and all manner of tragedy in our country this year.  May it finished soon.

Blessings everyone,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time isn't honest

I've been doing some thinking about time lately.  I believe that time is different for different people.  I don't really know how to explain that statement, but it just seems to be so.  For me, I always feel like time eludes me somehow.  There is never enough of it.  And how very much time is like that, it slips through our fingers no matter how firmly we try to take hold of it, and grasp it in our hands.  I'd like to keep it.  Even if just for a tiny, little while and force it somehow, to slow down.  Just a little.

Recently on tv, I along with a lot of other people watched or listened to programs about the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11/2001 tragedy.  Remembering where you were, who you were with, how you felt and so on.  So many emotions.  So many lives lost.  For me, being on the opposite coast, it was surreal.  I was up getting ready for work.  I remember talking to my mom on the telephone.  I remember can this be real?  How could someone intentionally do something like this?  And then finally as the reality sunk in, that evil knows no bounds.  There were many common threads in what people remembered.  But, one really struck me.  And that was, that it was almost impossible to believe that it had actually been 10 years ago.  10 years?  It certainly doesn't seem like that long.  They were talking with children who hadn't even been alive then, children of parents who had died, and some who had never even met their mother or father.  Wow...
The reality off just how quickly time slips by astounded me then, as it so often does. 

I heard yesterday that a friend of mine lost her husband last Friday.  He died of cancer.  He had a brain tumor and had only been around 30 years old.  Time wasn't very honest with him at all.  I wondered that if he'd realized earlier in his life that he was only going to live for such a short time; would he have lived his life differently?  Who knows...but it got me to thinking about all of us and how we go through our days doing the same things over and over.  How our lives revolve around routine, and maybe in a small part, was why time seems to pass so quickly?  If our lives were more varied, and we actually got to do more that we wanted to do, rather than what we had to do, if time would be more fully realized?  Less taken for granted because of the mundane and the routine...I kind of think so. 

Time is tricky.  Time is complex.  Time is so very short.  There are so many things that I want to do, some that I've done and some things that I've never done yet.  But, so much living that needs to be done, and so little time in which to do them.  I remember that song by the Stones that says that time waits for no one, and it doesn't wait for me...

If each one of us could only realize just how valuable our time was, that it's really our most vulnerable commodity that we will ever have...would we, or could we be brave enough to use that time accordingly and give our time the respect that it deserves?  And stop letting others take advantage of us by allowing them to waste our most precious gift that we'll ever have?  It's something we all need to ask ourselves, or at least give some thought to. 

What do you want to do?  If there's something that you want to do, do it.  If there's something that you need to say, you'd better say it, and if there's someone you want to be with, please don't wait.  Do it.

I don't believe that time is honest, and it's certainly not fair.  Time is different for different people, just like life is.  But, I would like to learn to become more honest with myself and figure out what is really important to me and to my life, and start treating my time with more respect, and spending my time more wisely.  Like I want and with only those people that I want to spend it with.

My cage lately feels a lot smaller than it used to.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ho daze of summer

Our weather and I are both quite melancholy.  Yesterday and today has dawned grey and overcast, with some sun breaks in the afternoon yesterday.  Very comfortable, do whatever you want kind of weather.  I'm enjoying this for a change.  I even left the fly masks off the horses for the first time in months.  I'll probably regret it, but was feeling a tad lazy this morning and was running a bit behind schedule and still had to get gas in the car before heading to work.  My boss has been on vacation this week and it's been boring and slow.  Sure wish we could have closed the clinic during his absence, because my time most certainly could have been put to better use at home.  Oh well, I'm resigned to doing what I can, when I can. 

When I got home from work last night, the horses were all crammed like sardines into the one outside shelter...gasp!!!  I'm thankful that my hubby discovered this and not me.  I've been worried sick about Harley lately and this would have scared the bejeebers out of me.  However, after a thorough body check of everyone, the only casualty of war that I could find was under Harley's mask, just below his right eye...a 1-1/2" long jagged cut that was most likely the cause of him bashing his head into something.  A half of an inch higher and it would have been a direct hit on his eye.  How many blows can his eyes take before something extreme happens???  Theoretical question - I do not want to find out the answer to this one...

I'm just thankful (again) that it wasn't more serious than it was.  Besides Harley being slightly jumpy, everyone seemed calm and relaxed; including Eagle, who was pleased as punch to be in the thick of everyone. 

Me - I'm an overly emotional wreck.  I find myself crying at the drop of a hat.  I'm as cranky as hell.  I'll bite off anyone's head for a sideways glance.  I'm happy one minute and feeling gloomy the next...someone just shoot me.  I can't stand being with me - how in the world can anybody else put up with my moodiness???  Maybe part of my problems are caused by my age, 51 and  No hot flashes and most of the time, no problems sleeping, but the moodiness and sometimes outright aggression that I experience is seriously a problem.  I deserve a good, hard slap - but I'd probably pounce on the poor offender like a she-cat protecting her litter.  That's how I Clint Eastwood...make my day; just gimme a good (or otherwise) reason and I'll explode.  I need drugs...or a vacation...or maybe just more time spent getting physical exercise outside wouldn't hurt.  The fact that I feel like a caged animal here at work sure doesn't help matters any, if I were busy, at least I'd be occupied.  Maybe I need to get laid?  Any advice?  Is there anybody out there who feels like I feel???  And if so...what do you do not to commit harikari??

Blah blah blah...I'm sorry to sound so pessimistic, but hell...I've just gotta put my thoughts down somewhere or I'll surely bust.  I'm missing my mom and my dad.  Take my advice, if yours are still alive - enjoy them, even if they annoy you, or call at precisely the wrong time, will miss them once they're gone - I can guarantee it.  My sister never, ever calls me.  If she does, it's for a very specific reason; and that's somehow worse than if she didn't call at all.  I should be totally honest here, she probably calls me once or twice a year (maybe), my other sister hasn't spoken to me since before my mom's funeral...and family, well ever since my mom died, it's like we don't even exist.  That hurts because I've always loved and cared for my aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and so on, but...they likewise don't call, with the exception of Shelley, my niece who's closest in age to me.  We speak semi-monthly ish, sometimes a little more.  So, I guess what I'm saying is that I experience loneliness, feelings of isolation and moderate depression at times.  Most of the times, I'm pretty good at keeping myself and my mind otherwise busy, which keeps these nasty, dark thoughts/feelings at bay.  I am so thankful for my husband and my horses and dogs...without them, I would shrivel up and waste away, no doubt.  People need people, we're definitely wired to be socially interactive creatures.  We're happier when we're actively social; at least I think so.  I am. 

God, I sound so pathetic.  So, I apologize to anyone or everyone who reads this blog and gets depressed.  But, the original purpose of this blog was to use it as a journal, a way to chronicle our lives and a way to be able to look back at times and reminisce about events that I otherwise probably wouldn't remember.  And, writing is therapeutic for me, it definitely helps me on days like these to put my thoughts down in written form...get my feelings out, and all that.  It really does help.  So, again hopefully I don't bum anybody else out, I'd hate for that to happen, and it's also not my intention to have people feel sorry for me.  I hate that too.  I do have many, many, many blessings in my life, and I (usually) daily try to actively count those blessings and give thanks to my Father for them...for life could sure as heck be a whole lot worse.  I realize that and am very, very thankful for my life.  Because, overall it is a wonderful's mine, and I'm doing my best.  Some days are just easier than other days. 

See, I feel a little bit better already.  I took a break at lunch time and went to Walmart (oh joy) and picked up some supplies that we needed at the clinic.  The adorable little UPS driver just popped in and delivered some more supplies and chatted with me for a bit.  So, I have freight to unload and put away, a few phone messages to reply to and autoclaving to be to work I go. 

Hope all of you are making the most of these final dog daze of summer.  Autumn begins on September 23, which is just a little over a week away.  There'll be frost on the pumpkin before we know it, chimney smoke wafting on the evening breeze and more time spent indoors when the darkness comes all too quickly.  *sigh*  Fall is my favorite time of the year, but I'm always a little bit saddened by the thought of another summer slipping away...hope we all have a little more time to enjoy the warmth of summer sunshine and friends or family or somebody, to make a few memories that will fill our dreams on cold, winters' nights.

Bye for now all,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back

So, for whatever reason lately, as in the past day or two, I've been in a funk.  I was practically ecstatic about the progress the horses were making in their socialization, until last night.  We've had Eagle for 1 month, and last night was the first time I really had to get after him.  He was very aggressive to Harley and bit him in the butt when Harley was already walking away from him.  That makes me so damned mad!  Harley rarely does anything to provoke someone's anger, but he's always the first one to feel the brunt of their aggressions.  Maybe it's because he's just so vulnerable to every single one of them, but it just causes me to see red.  I absolutely will not tolerate aggression towards Harley, but especially when it's unwarranted. 

The horses lately have been ravenous.  All of our pasture grass is dead and brown.  It resembles a scotch pad, except it's not green.  The only graze is what they can get in the form of tree leaves.  Our cool weather grasses are long gone and we haven't had any rain since the end of June, I think.  So easy for me to lose track of time these days.  Anyway, I was getting a bale of hay and everybody knew it.  Ladde, Shad and Kadie were waiting in the front pasture where I disperse the piles...they know the routine.  Eagle was nickering at me over the gate, watching me come down the barn aisle with the hay.  And Harley, as usual, was just coming up towards the others wanting to bypass Eagle and head up to the front to wait with the others.  Eagle did not like the idea of Harley walking past him, and gave him a pinned ears look in warning.  Harley however, walked on, absolutely clueless.  So Eagle lunged forward, scaring Harley into a retreat.  Bewildered and afraid, he attempted to circle around and pass Eagle from behind.  Eagle was having none of it, and lunged at Harley, causing him to spin around in fright and head away from the comfort of his herdmates, and just for good measure, Eagle bit Harley in the butt while he was retreating and left a nasty red toothmark in his butt.  I lunged forward towards Eagle, bellowing my rage.  Eagle did one of those drop and spread routines with a wide-eyed look, but held his ground.  Harley, very cautiously proceeded forward between Eagle and me and trotted very quickly up towards the feeding pasture.  My body language screamed volumnes to Eagle, who apparently read me like a book, because he didn't move a muscle until I had closed the gate trapping him in the corral alone.  I dispersed the hay piles to all the horses and then came back and let Eagle come into the herd and eat.  I'm not sure this was the best way to handle the situation, but it's what I did.  I will not tolerate aggression towards Harley in any form, and I will not tolerate an aggressive horse at feeding time.  Period.  I think Eagle got the memo because he was very quiet and contrite throughout the remainder of the evening. 

However, the entire situation was very upsetting to me.  They had made such wonderful progress, and I had really hoped that Harley had found a friend and possibly even a protector.  From now on, I will disperse the hay to everyone but Eagle, and then let him rejoin his herdmates.  Maybe I was expecting too much, too soon.  Then again, maybe the horses were just overly hungry.  Whatever the reason, I surely hope the lesson remains intact with Eagle.  Being with the herd is a privilege, and one that can be taken away with unsavory behavior. 

On another topic, I am relieved that our upper 90's and even some triple digit temperatures have dropped significantly over the last couple of days.  This morning was cool, overcast and we even experienced a light drizzle for an hour or so.  It's quite refreshing and I'm welcoming it with open arms.  I wore jeans today for the first time in months.  While it's been so overly hot, I've not gotten very much accomplished, inside or outside.  When that happens, I become agitated and quite cranky.  I start to look around and see everything that needs to be done, and yet don't have the energy to do anything at all.  I'm most definitely not ready for winter, but find myself looking forward to the refreshingly brisk mornings of fall, the changing of the seasons and looking forward to all the outside activities that I enjoy so much.  Just hoping that we have a long, dry fall...not an early rainy season.  Please Lord?

I'm considering finding someone who will come to our house and work with Eagle several times a week.  Since I work full-time I really don't have the time, or the daylight hours to accomplish much myself.  Eagle really seems to be a lovely horse, but he knows absolutely nothing.  It's like having an 11 year old baby, but there's a stubborn streak that most young horses don't have.  I don't want to rush his education, and find myself feeling more impatience with him than I want to have.  I'm just unsure of where to begin.  I know he wants to please, and my instincts tell me that he will make a remarkable trail horse.  I just want to be patient, understanding, but firm with him.  The challenge lies in finding someone in whom I can place my trust, and bring him along in the way I want him educated.  I don't want him rushed, and I don't want him roughly handled in any way.  I want someone who's quietly confident and very patient.  I believe that the slower you go, the quicker you'll get there...I've seen it proven too many times not to believe it. 

So many projects and so little time...the story of my life.

Blessings all,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Thursday, September 8, 2011

That winning combination

We have progress!!  I am soooo happy I could just about bust!!  I'm talking about our little herd of horses and the integration of our new horse, Eagle.  Hubby and I were so pleased this morning with the progress that it's just humbling.  There's really no better word to describe it...humbling.  Horses never fail to amaze me, and in so many ways.  They are amazing, amazing animals and I feel blessed to have them in my life - our lives.  :) 

For the past week or so, we've been ever so slowly introducing Eagle in a smallish pasture, one at a time, with one of his herdmates.  Everybody except Harley - wasn't quite ready to go there, yet.  Remember that I was torn with exactly how to approach this.  So...when in doubt, go with your instincts.  Start out with the top dog and the rest will/should be a cake walk.

We started with Shad and Eagle together in the corral and 3 piles of hay at morning feeding time.  Refreshed from a long, cool nights' rest and hungry...perfect, right?  It went swimmingly!  There were a few sideways looks, a few cocked ears, and a few of those "hairy eyeball" moments; but neither horse was very interested in a retake of the kicking match that had taken place the week before.  Enough time had passed that the lesson, apparently had lodged itself in their brains.  Never underestimate the power of a little time to cement a lesson in ones' mind - equine or human...I'm just sayin'.

Eagle has that perfect, and apparently winning combination of complete and utter self-confidence mixed with just the right amount of humble respect.  And with Shad, it worked like a charm.  You don't worry me one bit, but I respect you and your, can we be friends?  We left them together for a couple of hours and they sniffed, they switched hay piles, they walked around each other...and eventually, they even shared a few bites from the same pile.  Hallelujah!!!!  We have the beginning of a relationship and we couldn't be happier. 

And, this morning - quite by chance, the gate was left open again...and again, Eagle spotted it almost immediately and proceeded to saunter with the confidence and grace of an Olympic athlete right into the middle of the herd and pick a pile and start eating.  Kadie, the little old lady (Shad's little old lady to be exact) of the bunch, made a beeline to Eagle, ears pinned and put her nose on his and promply squealed loudly and strike out.  Eagle responds by lifting his head out of harms' way...and then continued to eat his breakfast.  Kadie stood there for a moment, and then went back to her hay as if nothing happened.  Too funny.  Shad merely watched, mildly interested, and resumed eating.  This is too good to be true! 

Now it's Harley's turn.  Harley's the horse that's almost completely blind.  Harley doesn't have a mean or aggressive bone in his body.  He goes directly to Eagle and assumes the "groom me" position...Eagle continues to eat.  Harley decides to share Eagle's hay.  Eagle could care less.  At this point, hubby and I are beyond speechless.  We are quite honestly, stunned! 

Ladde's quite another matter.  Ladde also felt the "great guns" of Eagle's kicking prowess and remembers that little lesson all too well.  He has a very healthy respect (possibly even a little fear) for Eagle and isn't quite so anxious to resume their acquaintance; but Ladde's also non-aggressive and with some time, he'll come around, of that, I have no doubt. 

What really surprises me the most, is that Harley and Eagle seem to be forming the closest bond of friendship.  I didn't expect that.  In fact, I was the most worried on Harley's behalf.  Go figure.  No matter how well we think we may know our horses, and no matter how adept we may believe that our "reading skills" of equine behavior are...we are infants compared to horses reading one anothers' instinctual body language.  *sigh*  As long as I may live, my hat is off to the amazing horse. 

So, to say that we are pleased with our, or I guess I should say, their progress thus far, is an understatement.  We are infinitely pleased...and ever so thankful, and feeling abundantly blessed at this most recent turn of events. 

I just keep telling myself to breathe...

it will all work out in its' own time.  Not mine. 

Blessings all,
Lorie @ Cingspots