Loading, Riding and Christmas Lights

Lauren's Christmas lights adorning the barn.

Lauren’s Christmas lights adorning the barn.

Lauren got the tree up and Sneaky took her spot as a present.

Lauren got the tree up and Sneaky took her spot as a present.

Yesterday morning I got up at my usual time to feed the animals.  I had on shorts and a tee-shirt.  It was balmy and crazy humid, so much so, that I was sweating by the time I had the morning feed done.  It was 4:00 a.m., dark and hot.  Seriously.

I had routine doctor/tests things scheduled and had some office work to finish before my first appointment at 9:45.  Lauren was headed out to do some shopping with a friend.  The horses were out except for Mickey who is again, having abscess troubles (although is much better already today).  It started to rain around 9:00. I had Lauren get Bruno and Kid in before she left.  It was just drizzling so Feather and Snow stayed out.  By 9:15 when I needed to leave, it was all out pouring.

Rarely when I am home, does it matter what I am wearing, but because of my medical appointments, I had made an effort to do my hair, my make-up, and put on nice clothes-well, at least clean clothes.  I headed out the door expecting the sheets of rain to fall on me, but not the abrupt temperature change. It had dropped from the high 70’s to the 40’s in the few hours since breakfast.  I was hit with a gust of north wind that chilled me to the core.

I got completely soaked by the time I had Feather and Snow successfully back in their stalls.  Feather had been standing in the run-in shed and was reasonably dry but Snow was soaked to the skin.  No doubt, Feather had kept the white pony out of the shed with her evil ways.

It was good Jordyn had gotten down the day before to ride, because with the temperatures and rain forecasted, she won’t be riding for a while.  The whole family came down with Luke still off work following surgery.

Jordyn with little sister, Kendyll, headed to the arena.

Jordyn with little sister, Kendyll, headed to the arena.

Jordyn is still reluctant to trot (since the whole Feather bolted with her thing) but Lauren had them playing “red light-green light” getting in some good practice on stopping and making Snowney go.  She is going over trot poles in the jumping position and just being more at ease in the saddle.  Kendyll spent the whole time running to Lauren with her arms outstretched wanting Aunt Lauren to pick her up.  Kendyll got to take her turn on Snowney at the end, and we almost didn’t convince her to get off!

Trainer Sarah had come Saturday to work on loading giant Bruno who had gotten reluctant (as in never getting in the trailer again) to load after his series of trips to the vet.  Lauren has been loading Bruno each day since Sarah’s visit and Bruno has been getting better and better.  Yesterday, (before the vast temperature change hit) Lauren haltered him, walked him out of the barn, across the yard, straight up and in the trailer without even picking up the whip.  He stood there quietly eating his apple.

What I love most about Sarah working with my animals is that she is always positive and never abusive.  It is easy to get frustrated and angry when wanting a horse to load.  It can fall apart fast and did for us when we were trying to get Feather to load before Sarah intervened.  She uses a dressage length whip with a little tassel on it. She gets the horse so she can hold his leadrope and encourage him forward by tapping on his hind quarters.  This allows the handler, Sarah, Lauren, whomever, to load the horse when they are by themselves.  Living where we do and with me out of the area most days, this is crucial.  We cannot rely on having one person to lead the horse into the trailer while another stands behind it with the whip encouraging it on.

It may take an hour or so, the first time, to get this accomplished (Feather, Sarah said, was the record holder of over two hours to load)  but it is a safe, non-violent approach that makes the whole process easier.  Ask Lauren for a demonstration sometime.  Or I think I actually have a “YouTube” video of Feather loading.  Let me know if you want the link or Sarah’s contact information.

Horses when they are lunging, are moving off the whip at the hind quarters, it is really just the same idea.  Just controlled, up close, in-hand.

Everyone got bundled up last night for the first of many days to come with cold temperatures and rain.  We are lucky to have our nice barn, even though it is totally open to the front, it blocks the strong north wind that roars down our open pastures and keeps everyone dry and comfortable.

Lauren has been busy getting the tree up and some Christmas lights on the barn.  It makes it festive at least. I am a little surprised that Bruno has not been inclined to eat the Christmas lights.  I mentioned to Lauren that she should have strung them higher so Bruno couldn’t reach them immediately after she had completed stringing them along the 75 feet of barn front.  She told me if I was worried about it, I could get up on ladder and re-hang them.  Guess we know they are still where they were!


Thanks for riding along.  Stay warm, dry and safe.  Enjoy this wonderful season.

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