Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Price Is Right, But Not Good

So the price of horse meat is up.  This always leads to problems for horse owners.

Back in the mid 70’s trailers would back up to pasture gates in the middle of the night and clean out a pasture.  In the morning the owners would go out to feed and their beloved pets would be gone, never to be found again.

Now the brazen butchers just pull a horse out of a pasture and cut him up right there.  A couple of days ago they took a very expensive show horse, sawed off his legs, cut off the meat, and left body parts there.  They feel this horse was singled out because of his weight, and body mass.  This has been happening on the East Coast of Florida in Miami Dade County for a while, they would just pull them out and butcher them in the woods.  But now it’s happening on the West Coast too.  Getting way too close to home for me.  Whether it’s been going on in other states, I don’t know, but if it’s happening here, it must be happening in other places too.

So what is a horse owner to do?  Back in the 70’s I stopped leaving halters on my horses.  The horse that got cut up the other day was in a pasture with three board fencing.  They just broke the boards and removed him.  I have horse wire with a top board and electric wire.  Way too much trouble to get through.   We are on a one car width, dead end street.  It would not be a wise move to come up here and be blocked with no way out, but still, maybe locking the gates at night would be a good idea.  We live on the property, have an intercom in the barn that lets me know any noise that happens out there.  It’s just a baby monitor, but it works great.  It’s right next to my bed.  I put it in there to hear the smoke alarm if it goes off.  We have a motion sensor on the lights on the front of the barn.  We have dogs that are definitely going to take charge of any situation.  But still, how safe are we?

Now I’m not telling you to sit there at night with a shot gun, but don’t make it easy for some wacko either.  This is not a one time deal.  These were professional butchers.

I’m just putting this information out there for you.  What you do with it is up to you.

Surprise!!! Winter Is Coming

Winter is not only coming, in some parts of the country, it’s here!

Oh do I hate winter.  I’m not sure what happened to spring this year, and now fall has gone missing too.

I couldn’t believe the pictures this morning of the snow falling in the upper states.  The leaves are still so beautiful, but with snow on them?  Really????

So it’s time to think about bring out the blankets. oiling the clips, and finding that heating element that keeps the water from freezing.  Don’t forget to look under the bushes where the water line passes.  Make sure your dog didn’t expose it during the summer when he was seeking a shady cool spot.  Mine did that one year. and my line froze leaving me no water to the barn.  So then I was bucket watering from the old well with a hand pump until that froze.  Then it was carrying buckets of water from the cellar.  As I slipped on the ice, fell with the buckets, and created more ice.  I think that was the winter I decided to move to Florida.  Or may be it was the following winter when the snow was five foot and I couldn’t get the wheel barrel out the door.  Doesn’t matter.

Then you can remember how much fun it is to ride in the freshly fallen snow.  We used to love riding in the first snow fall of the season.  It was peaceful and quiet.  You can also start remembering that you have to pick the snow balls out of their feet, feel the pain in your feet and toes as you hit the ground, and not being able to feel your fingers.  Only kidding.  Or not.

The bottom line is that even though you still have time, believe it or not, it is time to start thinking and planning.  Try to remember what you need to do to make it through until the little buds and birds of spring return.  Don’t dwell, just prepare.

Are You An Ambassador?

Many of us grew up loving, and owning horses since our youth.  Some of us came into the wonderful world of horses later in our lives.  We love our horses.  We spend as much time as we can with our horses.  Some of us belong to organizations to support the horse industry.  BUT, are you an Ambassador for the horse.

So much of the open land that we rode on as children is disappearing.  Horses are being pushed out of places they have been for 100’s of years.  People want to move to the country, but once they get there, they change it to look like where they have just moved from.  They want paved roads.  The horses and the cows smell, so let’s get zoning changed so that they can’t be here anymore.  Take down the trees, we don’t want to rake leaves.  Seriously??????

How many times have you just ridden by people and not even looked at them, let alone stopped and spoken to them.  Yes there are a lot of wacko’s out there, and you must be careful who you chose to speak to, but you can always smile and say hello.

In my morning reading I came across a woman who was raised on a ranch in Utah.  Every year they would bring one of their bulls to the fair, children flocked to see him and sit on him.  Yes she was promoting her ranch at the fair, but she was also letting children experience the closeness of one of God’s creations.  She was showing and sharing her love of her animal with children who had never been that close to a large animal before.

Most horse people I know are not church goers.  Although, more are now since someone came up with the idea of Cowboy Church.  You get a Bible Lesson and a horse related experience all at the same time.  When I was a kid I never thought of bringing my horse to church, in the house yes.  Yet I believe that horse people are more spiritual than people outside of our loop.  We have more connection with nature and creation because we can actually touch it, feel it, smell it, and get love back in return.  We love spending our days wandering through woods and fields.  We notice the comings and goings of other creatures.  We watch the birds of the air.  We see the little water critters scurry when our horses feet hit the stream.  We stop, look, and listen to the sounds of life beyond who we are.

Yes, large organizations promote our industry.  Even backyard groups are trying to keep horses where they have always been in the past.  But it is up to us, as individuals, to be Ambassadors of the horse to people we meet around us.  Together we can fight the tide of building that is taking away our open space, but individually we can change the mind of our neighbors about what a horse really is.  If you have a quiet horse, be the one to stop and let a child or an adult pet him/her.  Let people know they are not big scary animals, but just large lap dogs.  If more non-horse people were allowed to touch, pet, and ask questions, we would not look so much like aliens.  It would open up the lines of communication.

We may not be Ambassadors of great nations all over the world, but we can be Ambassadors of ours.

Life Is Too Short….Just Ride

It’s been a sad week here in Florida.  Two high school boys were killed in accidents.  One was playing football, and one was in a motorcycle accident.

This summer has been a wonderful growing season for our pastures, but with my husbands back being so bad, I have been doing most of the mowing.  By the time I finish the last pasture, it’s time to cut the first one again.  Rain, sun, and warn nights equals growing overnight.  With trying to keep up with my responsibilities and his, I have not had a chance to ride.  But it was hot so it’s okay.  Or not.  I used to get up early and ride before the sun came up high enough to bake us.

I witness many older people in my church die, and I know they are no longer in pain.  They are free to be the young people they once were.  Healthy and happy.  But to lose someone who hasn’t even experienced life yet is hard.  It’s a wake up call to all of us.  No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

When you get to the end of your life, that would be the dash between the day you were born and the day you died, will you sit there and think – I should have spent more time working, or I should have spent more time with my loved ones and my horse.  I’ll bet on my family and horse.

I read this poem years ago.  I thought it was cute and would be meaningful when I got to be old.  A friend asked me the other day – “When are you old?”  I told him I believe I will know I’m old when I am the oldest person in the restaurant.  Makes sense to me.  Anyway as another birthday approaches I’m looking at my priorities.  I think riding must now come to the top of my list (mowing season is almost over anyway).

Here is the poem.

When I am an Old Horsewoman…..

I shall wear turquoise and a straw hat that doesn’t match and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my social security on white wine and carrots and sit in the alleyway of my barn and listen to my horses breathe.

I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night and ride the dappled mare across the moon struck meadow in only my slip if my old bones will allow.

And when people call I will laugh at the jokes unspoken as I walk them past the gardens to the barn and show instead the flowers growing there in stalls fresh lined with straw.

I will learn to swear and spit and wear hay in my hair as if it were a jewel and I will be an embarrassment to my child who will not have found peace in being free to love a horse as if a friend, with nuzzle and nicker and patient eyes for the kind of woman I will be when I am old.

Written by Patty Barnhart

Well I’m past the wine stage (got really sick years ago and can’t stand the smell) and I gave up swearing about the same time.  The spitting thing, I was never into.  But the poem does speak to who I am, and will willingly progress to be.

So don’t wait to be that crazy old bat down the street.  Ride in the moonlight with a tee bareback across the pasture.  We all wear hay in our hair now.  And my kids can attest to the fact that I am an embarrassment, and my grandchildren will second that motion.

Life is short – Ride On.