I'm back! Truth is, I lost my way in the vast inner spaces of the Internet. I forgot to write down my address, more the fool I! But since my audience is still a bit limited, I only have to blush (virtually, mind you) in front of a few people.
September is flying past. It always does. It's one of my favorite months of the year. Getting over the hump of August is such a huge relief. How could I not love September? Today it's in the low 70's and the temperature will drop until it's in the 50's. What a change from the last time I wrote. It was over 100 that day.
And it's raining too. I love the rain. Always have. But September rains are the best. They're still warm enough to go for a walk in. And since I now have my official farm boots, I can get as muddy as I want to!
We started our training back up with the horses at the end of August. It was a long Summer this year with all of the health issues that Lucky had (laminitis from the Spring grasses). Lucky has corrective shoes on now that have given him a great deal of relief from the pain. He's even foxtrotting again! That's huge.
We've been going over to the arena every day. All three of our herd love their time there. It's a nice long walk down the drive, playing games all the way. And then two or three hours of grazing in the arena and work afterwards. On the way home to their paddock, we get to play more games. So it's a whole morning every day of concentrated time with Lucky (my sorrel colored foxtrotter), Apache (my bay colored curly) and Willow (my miniature donkey). After that I groom them and put a bit more hay out until it's time to turn them out for the afternoon.
All three of them are glowing with health. And they greet me at the gate every morning, pushing each other out of the way to be first in line for loves and pats before the morning begins.
Yesterday we had a bit of an adventure. I went out to feed them their grain and get them ready for the arena and found the southwest wall and corner of Patch's stall pushed so far out of place the there was a gap of more than eight inches. I could see the house from the inside of the stall!
I couldn't find any real hoof marks in the wall, so I'm guessing that they were in there playing around (our stalls open onto the paddock so they can come and go at will) and someone pushed the other into the wall and, with 2 horses wieghing a total of more than 2000 lbs bouncing off of the wall, it just gave.
John wasn't home so I had to find a solution to the gap in the wall by myself. The funny part was watching the horses figure out how to open the stall door from the outside. Their curiosity overcame any need for hay or grain. All food was abandoned while they tried to figure out how to come in and watch me fit boards into a slanting gap in a wall. There were all kinds of lovely things to steal and run off with...hammer, nails, boards, a screw driver, my gloves. It was a bonanza of things to do!
They tag teamed me on that one too. Lucky got the bottom door open first. He came in and tapped me on the shoulder. "Hi Ma! Guess who? Can I play too?"
Oh well. It was another opportunity to use my Parelli skills. I backed him out of the stall, all the while keeping Apache and Willow out of the way. No worries. And turned back to the job at hand...
I managed to get the nails that were sticking out pulled from the wall and KAchunk! The door was open again. This time it was Apache. But his goal wasn't to touch me. He counted coup by dragging off the hammer, out into the paddock and then standing on it. "What a ya think of that?!"
Of course, when I went out to retrieve the hammer, Lucky went in to knock the board over that I had leaning against the wall, ready to fill the gap. Sigh! This was definitely a tag team operation and I was it!
What to do? What to do? It was too early to let them out onto the pasture. Autumn grasses are too rich to allow that, especially since the episode this past Spring with Lucky. I use the shed stall I was trying to repair to put one of them in when I'm taking them over to the arena, one at a time. So that was out. And the barn stall is too small to put all of them into (barn stall is 12 x 12 and the shed stall is 12 x 16...much bigger!).
I was stuck. I had to keep going. The morning was going to be what it was going to be. By the end of the morning, Lucky had opened the door into the stall 4 times, Patch 3 times and even Willow got into the act. She managed to get it open once too. After a while it was just easier to let them come in to watch, keeping all the tools in my pockets or bringing them in one at a time from outside the paddock. It took much longer than it should have to complete my repairs. It was past lunch time before I was finished.
Turned out that the post slanted one way...the wall slanted another way and the floor mats were pushed out of place and into the gap too. (Floor mats are nearly 100 lbs each and very hard to pick up) I ended up using three boards I found in the discard pile. They were all warped. I used the warp to fill up the crooked gap, one on top of the other.
Those old boards and the post in the corner of the shed are very hard and thick. And I'm not. My hands and arms still hurt from the pounding. But I completed the mission. The gap, easily big enough for a horse to get his leg and hoof stuck in it, was filled.
Are we having fun yet? YOU BET! I love every single, sweaty, frustrating, overwhelming moment that I spend out there with them. And I love the challenge of reading and practicing before I go out to train them too...not to mention the actual time spent training them and me too.
Being a cowgirl suits me just fine!
later gaters! Nancy, laughing!