Monthly Archives: July 2015

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get You Down

As a rule we don’t have “Rainy Days” in Florida.  We have showers that come and go in a short while.  But we’ve been locked into this pattern that is bringing winds off the Gulf, and we’re having numerous showers early everyday.  Thank you God that we are, because we’ve been in a drought like pattern in Trilby, as of late.  We watch the storms come, part, and go around us.  The pastures have been crying out for rain.  When you have hard well water, the ground doesn’t like it, and won’t absorb it as well as soft rain water.  When the rain falls, everything celebrates its arrival.

But do watch for rain rot, or foot problems caused by too much wet ground or grass.

So here we sit, waiting to get on our horses, and wait, and wait.  But use the time productively.  You know the tack room or feed room that needed cleaning and sorting?  Now is the time to jump into it.  Throw out all that old moldy stuff you don’t use anymore.  Get rid of ripped blankets and leg wraps, that you were going to get around to fixing two years ago.  Set aside the things that need cleaning, and repairs (then in two more years you can throw them out too).  Rainy days are great to do anything that will stir up dust, because all the moisture in the atmosphere will keep it at bay.  How about that tack that you just didn’t get cleaned or oiled.  But with all the moist air it will take a little longer to dry.  It’s also a good time to clean, and clip horses.  Of course you need to dry them out first, if they’ve been outside.  Take down those cob webs.  Clean off light fixtures.  When you clean bulbs they do shed more light on things.  Scrub out buckets with some bleach.  You’re wet anyway.  There is always something that needs to be done.

There are just so many things that you put off because you’d rather be riding or doing other stuff outside.  Don’t just sit there and whine, use the time wisely, and when the sun comes out everything will look a little brighter.

A Loaded Question

Maybe more like a Loading Question.

A friend called the other day and was telling me about a horse she was trying to load for someone.  It hadn’t been loaded in many years.  My first thought is, okay, why?  Is it because the horse doesn’t load?  Once again she was being taken advantage of.  She’s a kind soul who is willing to help anyone, when it comes to horses.  She doesn’t always make wise decisions about people or horses, but she gets excited and tries her best to help.

There have been many video’s, books, and trainers who have addressed the question of how to load a horse.  Many different approaches, many different answers, but it all comes down to the same thing.  Respect.

No I can’t give you the secret that everyone has been waiting to hear, but I can give you a few hints, that you need to do no matter what method you use.  They are so simple, that no one pays attention to them.

First thing, which is the most important – Never wait until you need to go someplace.  Start the whole process of training when you are not pressured for time.

Which brings me to the second tip –  Make sure your energy is calm.  If you are uptight your horse will know it, and take it for a bad sign that there is a horse eating dragon in that trailer.  Or he will just push your buttons.

Third and certainly as important as the first two – Make sure your horse respects you and moves forward on command.  If he’s flying backwards and dragging you with him, chances are there isn’t any respect going on there.

Fourth – Always make sure that the trailer you are trying to use is welcoming.  If it’s like the abyss, just a dark claustrophobic place, no matter how much grain or goodies you may have in hand, he’s not going to buy into it.  He knows that it’s the black hole that swallows horses live.  Open all windows, doors, and make it as light as possible. Paint the inside white if you have to.  Use a stock trailer if you can, it’s open, airy, and the horse can see outside.  Otherwise they believe it’s just an oversized tiger trap, and they are on the menu for the main course.

Bottom line is it’s your whole attitude about loading.  First get him to respect you (and I don’t mean fear, I mean respect), make the trailer welcoming, and then go with the attitude that he’s just going to walk into the trailer like he’s done it every day of his life.  If you approach the trailer thinking “he’s not going to load” he won’t.

Of course ideally, start quietly and let him look it over.  This way he will know that the boogie man isn’t hiding somewhere inside.  Don’t let him dwell on it, just walk him by with confidence.  Don’t let him think you are trying to load him, just let him pass by and look.  Keep walking with confidence, as though nothing happened, or is going to.  If it’s a young horse that has never been in a trailer before, I like to feed them in there for a couple of weeks.  So it becomes a fun place to be.  If it’s an older horse, just walk with the same confidence you had walking by, and walk into the trailer.  If he starts with the one foot, two feet, back up thing, you obviously do not have the respect and control you need, so back to square one.

It really isn’t as much about the horse, as it is about you.  Keep calm and walk on.


Surf’s Up!!!!

Yup, it’s still summer.  We’re right in the heart of it.  Just like the sirens of mythology, the water calls to us.  The break of the waves on a sandy beach, the calm of the lake that calls your name, you can smell that scent of water as you approach.  I’m not including the pool for a reason.  Why not take your best friend to a beach/lake adventure.  Yes I mean your horse.  It’s a sensation like you’ve never experienced.

Salt water is not good for leather.  If you can go bareback, or with a bareback pad, that is the best.  If you have synthetic tack that is also good, but don’t forget to wash, whatever you use, immediately after your beach party.  If you are using leather, oil it well before, and clean and oil it again after.  As long as your cleaning, don’t forget to hose the salt water off your horse when you get home.

We used to swim with our horses all the time.  Sometimes in a lake and sometime in the Atlantic Ocean off Staten Island, New York or Long Beach Island, New Jersey.  That was always a little unnerving.  They’d get in and start swimming out, towards Europe.  Hello!  I don’t swim.  I failed the YMCA swimming course twice.  I could see us hitting the shipping channel and me hitch hiking a freighter bound for New York.  The lake was always nicer, but you never knew what was down on the bottom, or what type of bottom it was.  Most of the time horses just like to get in, and splash around by the shore.

Toy, my husbands Appendix QH, was always a challenge.  He wouldn’t go into the water, because the waves were breaking and going after him.  So, rocket scientists that we are, we figured if we backed him in, the waves would be breaking in front of him and he’d stay in the water.  Yup, he did.  He turned toward England, and decided he’d get as far away from those waves as possible.  So let’s try the lake.  He was very quiet in the lake.  Just relaxing while our friends horse was trying to get into the idea that this was a good thing.  It was all good until a turtle hit toy in the legs and he leaped into the deep (13 ft.) end.  Bob went off and Toy was using him as traction to get out.  That was another Toy/Bob Emergency Room experience.

Take your horse to the beach.  Be careful, and have a great time.  I don’t think the Life Guards are required to save the horse, just the rider.  Actually where you swim horses doesn’t usually have Life Guards.  P.S – Manure floats.  The nuns at Mt. Loretto, who were in the water, can attest to that fact as the manure balls floated by.  Well we didn’t check which way the tide was going.

If you are going to race your horses on the beach, be sure to run where the sand is wet, otherwise it’s too deep and will blow tendons.

Oh yes.  Don’t forget it’s Shark Week.  Have a nice day!   🙂


Oh I loved that movie.  Actually I like any movie that has dancing in it.  I like dancing period.  Dancing always seemed to be apart of summer for me.

But it’s summer,  wonderful, glorious summer.

Remember the feeling of the last day of school?  How you had the whole summer to look forward to.  Stay up late, sleep late, no homework.  “Roll out those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Days of Summer (Nat King Cole 1963).”  Great year.  Don’t know if the wine was very good that year, didn’t do wine, still don’t do wine.

Okay, enough of those warm fuzzy feelings, now back to reality.

Summer can play havoc on your horses feet.  Depending on where you live, and how the weather is cooperating, you have different challenges.

Too dry and hot, and feet dry out and crack.

Too wet and mushy, and you get soft feet, and foot rot.

Don’t overlook your horses feet this summer.  Use the appropriate hoof shield or dressing to make his tootsies into happy feet.  Sore feet will make him unhappy, which will make you unhappy.  This is so easy to prevent.

If you’re wearing flip flops or sandals you’re doing your toe nails, make sure he has his pedicure too.

Happy Feet = Happy Horsey = “Happy Trails”  Miss you Roy and Dale.  “‘Til we meet again.”



Why Can’t People Be More Like Horses?

Spend any length of time with a group of people, whether it be friends or relatives, and it turns out to be one big drama.

Some people live for drama.  I don’t do drama anymore.  I’ve reached the age where I realize “Life Is Too Short” for nonsense.  It may seem like real problems, but they are usually in our minds.

I just read a quote from “In Praise Of Horses” by Ronald Duncan.  I think I’m going to look into more of his writings.  He really has his finger on the pulse of truth as he speaks of the Horse.  “Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride, friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity?  Here where grace is laced with muscle and strength by gentleness confined.”  Emphasise mine.

So much of the problems between family and friends are based on pride, envy, and vanity.  No wonder we love to spend our time with our horses.  They have none of this.  They are true in their hearts.  If they are angry, they say so.  They are open, and upfront.  They have no hidden motives (well except when they want to go home).  They sense energy and the true spirit of who we are at that moment.

If people learned from the animals they live with, they would have much happier lives.  We wouldn’t hold grudges, be jealous, or hateful.  We wouldn’t hold on to past offences.  We wouldn’t stand around and talk about others.  We wouldn’t criticize others lives.  We would live in the now, and accept people for who they are. We wouldn’t be angry and look for revenge.  Think how freeing, and wonderful that would be.  Horses just deal with it, and move on.

No wonder animals are so alive and free.  They don’t carry baggage like we do.  Who would you rather deal with, someone like your horse, or someone who holds grudges and talks behind your back?

So live each moment, follow the example your horse sets, life is too short.  Leave all the baggage behind, carrying all that weight will make you miserable, and kill you sooner.