Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let the Dancing Begin

I’m not a big one for New Year’s Resolutions, but recently I’ve been thinking about what I can do to make my life with my horses more enjoyable. We’ve had so many health problems these past months, and it has diminished the time I spend doing things that I like to do with Silk and Siete. I’ve felt more like a nurse and a pooper scooper than anything else.

If you’ve followed our adventures, you know that in the darkest hours, I’ve questioned why it is exactly that I own these expensive, delicate creatures. Freezing my fingers while I use the syringe to give Siete her meds or shoveling frozen nuggets out of the corral as the wind whips through me, I ask myself how much longer can I keep this up. I often remind myself that when I decided to get this horse, and to keep her baby, it was for better or worse, for as long as they live.

Yet, every day, I take note and really appreciate the patience and the trust that Silk and Siete show me, even when the weather or physical discomfort becomes severe. They stand quietly in their stalls when it’s too icy to let them go out. They don’t have their winter shoes yet since it snowed before the farrier could come. I warn them not to run and slip on the ice, and they listen. At night, as I walk through the snow to the barn to throw them a couple more flakes of hay, their heads poke out of the top of the stalls, and they nicker happily to give me the warm, good feeling that I’ve done the right thing.

The past year has taught me that I don’t need to be out riding to be fulfilled by the time I spend with my horses. My consistency and efforts to stay calm no matter what is happening pay off when my horses willingly respond to whatever I ask them to do. Just the other day, as my husband and I led the horses into the pasture, my sister-in-law’s 120 pound dog ran up unexpectedly and raced in circles around us barking. Neither horse moved or showed any anxiety. The rest of my life can be rocking with turbulence, but out in the barn, I am always welcome.

So, my resolution is to take this relationship to the next step with Silk and Siete. I’ve been studying how people train their horses to follow them and dance together. While it intrigues me, I’ve been afraid to try it. I’ve worried that without a halter and a lead rope, Siete will get so excited that she’ll trample me. I’ve been concerned that Silk will refuse my request, and I’ll feel like I’ve failed. During the past 12 months, we plodded along, and we made it through. In 2009, I’m ready to start dancing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a Merry Merry!

Merry Christmas! Here’s our cowgirls’ Christmas tree, full of sentimental ornaments. I’ve still got the one that my first grade teacher, Mrs. Foy, made me about a hundred years ago. And a mitten that my husband made in kindergarten. And the wedding bell off the cake from my grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. Of course, there’s chili pepper lights, cactus and horse lights, lots and lots of horse ornaments. The one in this photo is Siete, made by my daughter when she was eight years old.

Hope your day is merry and bright! Love you guys!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

View From the Barn

This is the view from our barn at 6:30 this morning. I’m too tired from shoveling snow to write anything, but Silk and Siete wanted to tell you about it:

SILK: Mom was really upset yesterday morning. She says the reason it snowed 10 inches is because we were scheduled to get our borium shoes put on for the winter. The farrier couldn’t come so now I’ve been telling that crazy kid of mine to be careful not to slip.

SIETE: It’s so cool!

SILK: I couldn’t figure out why Mom was putting on our blankets in the middle of the day but about an hour later, the snow really started to come down. Siete stood outside in the corral and got soaked. I tried to make her come into my stall, but you know how teenagers are. She just won’t listen. The snow even came in the back doors of the barn. In the middle of the blizzard, Mom came out and fed us and locked us in so Siete could dry off before the temperature dropped for the night. Oh, I miss California right now!

SIETE: When can we go out and play? Where are the other kids? Where are the sleds?

SILK: When she gave us breakfast, Mom was muttering about another storm coming in tonight with more snow. Thank heavens for heated water buckets and people who trek out here with carrots.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What A Moon!

Did you see the moon these last few nights? I've been saying how much I loved looking at it. My husband took this photo and surprised me with it in my email this morning. I get a “Full Moon Update” each month from a friend of mine. For December, it is recommended to move to a new and better place in your life, entertain the need to do something new that you love to do and honor your intention.

I was listening to an old Paul Simon album, “Hearts and Bones”, the other day and came across these lyrics in a song about the moon:

“If you want to write a song about the heart,
and its ever-longing for a counterpart,
write a song about the moon.”

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Catching Up

I’m sorry that I’ve been slow in responding to some awards and invitations that I received this week. It’s been a mixed bag of blessings and curses around here. We were fortunate not to have to endure the ice storm that swept through the upper part of New England on Thursday and Friday.

We did get about 6 inches of rain, and Silk’s stall flooded. I bailed it and filled it with horse bedding wood pellets. This morning, poor Silk was hiding along the back wall when I came out to feed her because the bubbling ooze had come up again. At 6:30 am, I was out there shoveling and adding more wood pellets. Good thinking on my part yesterday that I didn’t use all the bags since I had a feeling that the ground had more water
it would share with us. The temperature dropped into the teens last night, so everything froze. There’s a very thin layer of ice on the puddles in the corral, which makes it really unpleasant for horses and people to come and go from the barn.

On the good news front, Siete has lost about 60 pounds -- only 40 more to go. I’m looking forward to ending the daily dose of thyroid meds, but Siete actually considers it her “dessert”. She waits eagerly for me to appear with a syringe of vanilla yogurt and medicine after her dinner every night. It’s strange that she won’t lap the stuff up from a bowl, but she loves the syringe. A good lesson since she used to hate even the sight of a syringe and now, she’s happy to see one.

So, on with the awards, etc:

I really really appreciate the “Share the Light” award from Arlene at Grey Horse Matters, and thank her for the kind words explaining why she gave it to me. “This award was created to share the light and inspire others. Sharing the light is simple and costs nothing and by inspiring others, it adds goodness in this world and encourages others on their journeys.
So share this award, as I will with the people who inspire those around them and Share the Light.”

I am passing it along to four blogs that I read on a regular basis:

Janet Roper’s blog about talking to animals and her experiences as an animal communicator.

Tree’s blog, “Decadent Tranquility”, which is an amazing Sci Fi love story driven by his gorgeous artwork.

Bill Evertson’s “Under Construction/Art Contemplations”, exploring his journey as an artist.

“Unseen Dharamsala”, a beautiful blog written and illustrated by Tibetan refugees living in the Indian city where the Dalai Lama is in exile.

Next, I’ve been asked by Kim at Enlightened Horsemanship to tell you 6 things about myself. Here are the rules of this meme: Link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Write six random things about yourself. Tag six people at the end of the post. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. Let the tagger know your entry is published. Since I’ve been reading this meme on lots of blogs, I’m just going to play and ask anyone who wants to join in to participate.

Here are six things about me:

1. My favorite time of the day is the hour before the sun rises. It’s the only time in my day when I’m alone with just my animals. There’s nothing that quiets my anxieties better than sitting in front of the fire with my kitties and my dog before I go out to feed the horses.

2. I love to spend time with my 13-year old daughter just talking about her life. We find a quiet moment every day where she can just tell me what’s going on and I listen. My mother has never really listened to me, so I know how important it is to really know and accept my child for the remarkable person that she is.

3. Our house is always full of music. We have very eclectic taste. Over the years, my husband and I have collected a really fun, wide range of holiday music - blues, Cajun, old Swing versions, jazz, classical. Right now, you can hear everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Beau Soleil to Ella and Louie to Taylor Swift, the Pretenders and the Jonas Brothers singing about sleigh rides and Santa Baby and all that Christmas joy. My husband’s family plays many instruments, and we love to have jam sessions and drum circles.

4. As I breathe, so I have the need to write. I also enjoy painting and playing with color and light. If I don’t find time in my life to do these things, everything else starts to fall apart.

5. Kindness is really important to me. The world has become so harsh and a “bully mentality” has flourished over the past decade. I am optimistic that this aggressive, selfish period of time is finally changing and that we are moving into a more considerate, generous era that is united for the common good of our entire world.

6. My horses continue to be a spiritual grounding rod for me, always presenting me with new lessons and ways to face my fears and move forward with greater understanding.

The other game that has been floating around the blogosphere is to pick the sixth photo out of your library. I had to show you what came up for me when I did it. I love this picture. This was taken when Siete was 3 months old and my daughter was 7 years old. A little girl with her little horse - or a little horse with her little girl?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crazy Making Weather

This morning is the beginning of a heat wave. Last night, it was 12F degrees. I went out to the barn before I went to bed to be sure that the girls had enough water and some extra hay to keep them warm. Just when I was getting used to not being able to feel my fingers, the weather is flip-flopping. It's up to 30F degrees already. By tomorrow, they are predicting it will be in the 60’s.

‘Tis the season for colic. Around mid-day, I’ve been offering Silk a bucket of warm water. She likes to drink it while I’m holding it, and at least I know that she’s drinking. One good thing is that the snow will melt today. The girls don’t have their winter shoes yet. We’re not scheduled to put the borium on until the 19th, so I’m hoping that we will get through safely until then. I will dig out the ditch around the barn today because we’re also supposed to get an inch of rain tomorrow- How crazy is that! - and I don’t want any ice to clog it up.

I’ve always said that I love owning horses, and my girls are being particularly good and sweet through all this bad weather. Yesterday, as I was trying to pry frozen poop out of the muck bucket while my face was burning from the cold, I imagined what I would be doing if I didn’t own horses. Drinking tea? Eating bonbons in a cozy warm house? Still when Silk nuzzled my arm after slurping up a full bucket of warm water, my heart melted and I knew that there was nothing better I could be doing at that moment.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like.....

I’m having some time management issues. I just can’t seem to keep up anymore. Now that the daylight begins at 6:30 am and ends at 4:30 pm, my horsekeeping duties seem to be throwing the rest of my schedule off. It’s just so much easier to take care of Siete’s feet and give her the medicine when it’s not pitch black. There are lights in the barn, but when it’s so cold and I have to keep schlepping back and forth to the feed room which is under our house, chores become more like some kind of punishment.

Earlier this week, Siete and Silk had a fantastic play day in the pasture. While I was so thrilled that Siete was moving like a normal horse, I also thought I really needed to restrain her so she didn’t hurt herself. The only problem turned out to be a lost shoe. Even wearing bell boots, she knocked it off. Unfortunately, it was the one on her front left tender foot. I put the soft boot on right away and called the farrier. My eagle-eyed husband was able to find the shoe after I had spent well over an hour combing the pasture for it. So, balance has been restored, and my little horse is walking comfortably again.

The holidays are rolling in so quickly. Last night, we went to the annual town party for the lighting of the Christmas tree in the big pasture near the skating pond. It’s a gorgeous event because they line all the roads in town and around the pasture with luminaries. The high school kids cut out a special design every year on literally thousands of paper bags. The chorus sings Christmas carols and there’s free donuts and hot cider. Everyone turns out in their warmest festive hats and gloves. It was 17F degrees here, and my fingers were numb even with my gloves.

Today, I raced through my horse chores because the Rotary Club had a holiday pancake breakfast. My daughter and her friends were the waiters. According to my schedule, I intended to get out the Christmas decorations and put up the lights outside when we got home since tonight we’re supposed to get some snow. Instead, my entire family ended up napping on every available couch after all those pancakes.

I love Christmas in New England. Tomorrow, all the old houses on Main Street will be open, and they’ll be serving tea and cookies and selling homemade crafts. All my neighbors already have the little electric candles in each of their windows. As I told you, I’m behind schedule. It’s so darn charming that my California-born and raised husband can’t get over it, even after almost five years. His California brother and sister will be here next weekend to enjoy an early celebration with us. And it looks like we might have some snow for my two California horses to kick up their heels. Hopefully, Siete will manage to keep her shoes on.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Award Time Again!

I'm so flattered to receive another award - this one is from my friend Lori at the Skoog Farm. She's a very artistic, big-hearted garlic-growing horse lover, and I'm so glad that I've connected with her.

It's always a difficult decision to figure out how to pass this along and choose among all of you great bloggers. I console myself by knowing that the people I give it to will give it to other friends of mine as well so it will float out far and wide. You're supposed to say something about each person that you award and then tell them to click on the award and paste it onto their blog and pass it along to other beloved bloggers. So, that's what I'm doing:

I'm sending this award along to Arlene at Grey Horse Matters, Linda at the 7MSN and Billie at Camera-Obscura because I start every day with a cup of coffee and a visit to their blogs. Life wouldn't be the same without you guys.

And to Callie at MidWest Horse and Mrs. Mom at Oh Horsefeathers because they are both smart, fun and full of heart.

And to Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch, to the DOR at Cactus Jack Splash, Pony Girl and her Spotted Boy, and to my Pony Cousin at Middle of the Road since all of them make my life a little brighter and happier each time I visit them.

And to Mikael at Mikael's Mania because she doesn't even stop blogging when she goes to the hospital for surgery and I love her determination and spirit. May she feel better fast!

So let's send this beautiful butterfly all over the blogosphers!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Still Giving Thanks

I received this beautiful bouquet of flowers from two wonderful blogging friends. One was given to me by Nor'dzin at Ceffylau in Wales. Thank you so much! I hope that I will have a chance someday to meet her in person since I value her friendship very much. She is wrestling with the difficulties of caring for two horses and trying to make some hard choices about whether to keep them. I hope that Nor'dzin and O-dzin know that they are not alone in their predicament and my heart goes out to them.

The other bouquet - I feel so lucky- was a gift from Mikael at Mikael's Mania. I really appreciate her friendship and I should be sending this to her since Mikael is going in for some surgery this week. All my positive thoughts and good energy will be flowing her way for a quick and successful recovery.

Every time I go to the feed store or put more hay into my horses’ stalls, I feel grateful that another week goes by in which I am able to care for them and give them what they need. Every time I watch Siete walk normally, I appreciate how much better life is now that she’s not limping. Every time it rains really hard like it did last night, I am thankful that the roof over the barn is not leaking and no stalls are flooded. And every time I get another email - and I’ve had so many recently - from someone who is desperate to find a home for a horse they can no longer afford, I say a little prayer that I will be able to always keep my girls.

So, I’m going to pass along these lovely flowers to three blogging friends who have something to celebrate:

Over at Oak In The Seed, deej has gone back to riding and found a great new barn with a good teacher and some new friends. Bravo!

In Niger, Africa, a little filly named Isolde is celebrating her 3rd month on this earth so I’m sending her mom, Esther Garvi, some virtual flowers since I can’t send carrots.

And at the Doghouse, Detroit Dog deserves some flowers for rescuing Quasar, who obviously loves him new home.

I’m sharing my flowers with Siete, who is feeling much better - Dare I say that? I hope I don’t jinx it!