Friday, March 27, 2009

Hay for the Horses

I've decided that John is the reincarnation of a Roman emperor. Reasons:

1. He is supremely self-confident as would befit an absolute monarch.

2. He believes he is the center of the universe; "All Roads Lead to Rome."

3. He gives the people their circuses (by stealing their hats, picking up his bowl, bowing etc.).

4. But most importantly: he makes a little couch for himself out of fresh hay and then lies down to eat in it.

Today I held gates for the barn owner to put out big square bales in the biggest pasture.

I was impressed at how well the horses have their hierarchy sorted out: first big bale, top tier of horses. The second tier stands and waits:

Their hay shall come. The barn owner was diagnosed with lymphoma last year around this same time. It has been, for her, a year of chemotherapy, radiation, experimental treatments, shunts, exhausting travel, fatigue, and hope alternating with near certainty of immanent death. She never stopped putting out hay for the horses. And she never once, not even once!, complained.

Some of us are brave.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Night of the Living Deer

Last night somewhere near the beginning of Rambo II, could Sylvester Stallone be any more godlike?, a shadow appeared outside my living room window. This startled me a little and I took a look through the blinds which have to stay closed or you can't see the television which would be fatal to all life on the planet - and that's what I saw.

This little adolescent deer is (a) chubby, and (b) very much still wearing her winter coat.

As you can see she is eating the shrubbery. I tapped on the window in the time-honored manner of territorial folks who are too lazy to go outside and chase something away. The deer looked at me with indignation and began to mosey. I returned to Rambo.

Minutes later more dark shadows appeared outside my office window, and I went to take a look there.

It was like a scene out of "Night of the Living Dead": there were about five of them, full grown and staring me in the face. It was so freaky. They are not afraid! They have fleas!! They eat apple trees!! Here they are slowly leaving the yard:

They'll be back.

Rambo: Photographs?
Murdock: Just photographs. Under no circumstances are you to engage the enemy!

Every time I got up I had to disturb the poor dogs:

which is animal cruelty in their moral universe. Sometimes it is hard to balance the competing interests of sensitive life forms.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Snowmelt

I was the first person out to the barn this morning so I cracked some ice and the horses had an interesting time walking over snowmelt and ice combined. In the photo you can't tell but that is running water under the ice.

1. Montana: "GAAA! My foot slipped. It's the end of the world. Save me Horse Gods! Oh lordy. Well that's OK then, I guess we can walk on.".

2. John: "Ho di ho ho, nice new development here in this road, I think I'd like to drink some of this water here, check me after about 5 minutes of slurping. Yup! Good Stuff."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hog Heaven

"Look; there she is. How much can I eat before she gets here? I bet I can make a dent in this pile. I'll just keep eating right up until that halter hits my head. Maybe I'll keep eating even while she puts it on. Oh, one last bite - grab, munch munch, It's a good day."

"Ha. She's all done, now back to my real job. All those other fools are around behind the run-in eating from the Self-Same Hay Pile. Winston and me, we're the smart ones. As usual. Dude, meet you in the middle. We're the kings of the world!"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Merrily We Gait Along

Kathy and I decided to meet up early this morning and ride our gaited horses together. That way we can each observe the gaits of the other horse and share strategies and training tips, while also conducting a happy session of 'critical information networking' i.e. barn gossip. We put down cavaletti on a circle and worked on getting them to lift their feet and tuck under a bit more. We also worked on stopping them midway over the pole and trying to sidepass down the length. Which caused both our horses to reverse and back over the pole to get all 4 feet on the approach side.

It was a beautiful morning and we did beat the crowd, which was beginning to gather as we finished our ride. On a day like this, the sun brings up the horse's native fragrance: Montana with his cinnamon spice notes, and John with his green-grass just got mowed smell. I bought them a huge tub of soft peppermints at Sam's Club last night so we are provided with treats for a good long while.

We tried to get a good photo of the two horses' heads together, since they are relatives and best friends - but of course they did everything but pose nicely. In the picture above you see Winston chewing on John, and John enjoying it.

Here they are just standing there wondering why we have stopped halfway back to the hitching post and their treat supply. I'm sure they discuss how crazy we are as soon as they can do so tactfully. Two sweet guys.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Puppy Dreamland

It's a wonderful place. These 2 do not appear to have much on their consciences, in spite of the fact that ONE of them (ahem, RUFUS) recently chewed through Jan's laptop power cord.

'It's a dog's life".