Monthly Archives: September 2017

Silly Little Things

I was watching my girlfriend work with her new horse the other day and gave her some small hints.

She exclaimed, she never knew that or thought of that, and certainly never read it in any books.  Where did I learn that?  I really had to think about what she said.  Where did I learn some of these things?  Good question.  Answer – I don’t know.  Perhaps I read something somewhere, a long time ago, but mostly I learned a lot of these little tricks from the school of “hard knocks”.

Maybe you could think about what you do, why you do it, and where you learned it.  I bet most of the things, no one taught you, you learned the hard way.

Did you ever wonder how people found out what was poison to eat and what wasn’t.  Did someone eat a watermelon, and say it was really good when it was red, and they didn’t die, and that’s how people found out what was edible?  Or, Harry tried that thing that looked like a fruit and he’s not here for breakfast.  Guess we won’t eat that anymore.

The school of “Hard Knocks” is an intense study on how not to do things, and equally an easy study on what really works best.

How many horse people have had dislocated fingers, broken fingers, fingers that are full of arthritis.  How many of us learned not to wrap a lead line around our hands (even if we knew that), or not to allow knots in a lead line or lunge line.  Boy when a rope slides through your fingers with a knot in it, kiss you life as a concert pianist goodbye.

I watched her, unknowingly, let the end of her lunge line drag on the ground around her feet.  Now this is one thing that makes me crazy with some of these well-known trainers.  They may be aware of where their feet and rope are, but the people watching aren’t that savvy.  Getting dragged, even around a circle in a round pen, will ruin your day.  And it will scare your horse, which in turn will make him run faster.  It’s just a no win situation.  I know I’ve said all of this before, but it’s so important it needs to be repeated.

Most of the things I told her yesterday where things I’ve printed here in previous posts.  Some she may not have read, or if she did, they didn’t apply to her at that time.

I know I’ve written about holding your lead line or lunge line like an English rein, coming from your pinky, through your hand and out the top by your thumb will give you a better grip on the line.  Nobody taught me that, it was that special school I’ve been attending for close to 60 years.

She has a OTTB.  Okay he’s broke, but not to do what she intends to use him for.  So I told her to just start from scratch as though he doesn’t know anything.  It’s becoming more of a learning experience for her than him.  I can’t say it’s easier to train a horse that has already been trained, because correcting some bad habits, or getting them to unlearn some bad training is sometimes harder that teaching something from scratch to a young unbroken horse.

I can tell you one thing, this whole process will cause some interesting posts in the future.  I will remember things I didn’t know I forgot and pass them on to you.

Be patient, we learn from repetition.  We really learn when it hurts.

What I Learned From Irma

Oh my gosh!  The Hurricane won’t kill you but the prep before the storm will.  If that doesn’t get you the cleanup after is sure to finish you off.

Well the whole “Wolf” thing came into play.  You don’t want to do too much too soon just in case it doesn’t come your way, but you’re afraid not to.  I was going with the thought we were going to get nailed and Bob said no it will turn away.  It was so impossible to predict until the last moment and then it’s path changed in mid stream.  So for four days I carried things I could never move, lifted things like Superman and worked at a speed that I haven’t done in years.

I was exhausted, and hurting all over.  I thought back to 2004 when Charlie was supposed to get us.  I didn’t remember hurting this bad and falling into bed passing out on my way down.  Of course not, I was 13 years younger.  Wow does 13 years make that much of a difference?  You bet it does.  I only realize that now that it’s over and I can think clearly again.  Four days to prepare and so far a week to cleanup, and we still have to undo and put things back where they belong.  The jump poles feel heavier this year for some reason.

A woman stopped me in Publix on Saturday and told me I looked tired.  Seriously!!!!  I just smiled and told her it was a tough week.  Hello?  Where have you been?

We only lost electric for seven and a half hours, but the phone and internet was down for four days, and it’s still questionable.  Verizon, for as much as everyone complains, worked perfect through the whole mess.  AT&T and Sprint lost towers.  It’s one day over a week and almost everyone has power.  We were not hit like South Florida or the Keys were.  We were Blessed.  Everyone I know just had a lot of  branch cleanup except for one couple who had a big Grandfather Oak land right on their brand new house.  They’ve only been in it for a couple of months.  They went up to stay with family in North Carolina and won’t even come back to look at what’s left.  I feel so bad for them.  They are still in shock and their insurance will only cover half.

So how did my plan go and what did I learn.  First of all I learned that I’m too old for this stuff.  Secondly I learned that my plan works.  The meteorologists said it was going right, then straight, then left of us.  Surprise!!  The eye came right over us.  By the time it got to us it was a Cat 1 or 2.  We had about 100 mile per hour winds.  But the noise that wind made was unbelievable.  I heard this horrible noise at 2:00 a.m., thought yes it’s here.  I thought that the one oak tree could come down right on my bedroom, gave the whole situation to the Lord, turned over and went back to sleep.  Bob however, got up with the flashlight and looked outside.  The next morning he said he’s getting out before the next storm comes.  He saw the big oaks bending over in the wind.  I told him we made it through with no damage, why would you leave?  He just gave me that look.

We figured our barn was good to 120 mph.  It wasn’t even fazed by the storm.  I kept the horses in because with my neighbors, I felt that UFO’s would be more of a problem than the barn caving in.  I was right.  I thought we’d lose some shingles on the house, but no, it was fine too.  God did a lot of tree pruning, so the property was a mess, and since it’s still mowing season that had to be cleaned up before we could cut.

I had extra horses because people were afraid and moved them to a safer place.  So I figured I’d go for extra grain, hay and bedding before any one else panicked.  I went on Tuesday before the storm was going to hit us on Sunday night.  Everyone else had the same idea.  I wasn’t so much worried that they would run out of grain as much as I was afraid their warehouse would get damaged and they would be closed after the storm.

Secured all the jumps in the corner of the pasture.  Tied them together to the fence.  Filled all the troughs, not so much to have extra water because we have a generator and extra gas, but to keep them from blowing around the pastures.  Secured all the gates, and removed hoses, and buckets.  Picked up anything that would become a missile.  Put break-a-way halters on the horses even though they would be in the barn.  The only thing that I had a problem with is the fact that I had name tags to braid in their tails and attach to the halters, but I didn’t have new ones for the new horses.  So I used tags from the horses that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and just put the new horses names on with a Sharpie.

So the bottom line is don’t only prepare for the storm, think of what you are going to run into after the storm.  There was no gas after the storm, because there was no electric to run the pumps.  We had plenty of gas shipped in prior to the storm because of President Trump’ careful planning.  Fuel trucks had police escorts to get them to the stations.  People were going crazy trying to buy water.  Take old gallon jugs from juice or whatever and fill them.  Store extra gas for the generator or your vehicle because you don’t know how long everyone is going to be without it.  Get a generator.  Get name tags or spray paint to put your number on your horses.  Don’t do hoofs, it will wear off.  Put your cell phone number on, your house phone may not be working, but then your cell phone might not either.  Perhaps give a number of a friend or relative in another state for them to contact.  Same thing with your dogs and cats.  The shelters are filled with strays that have been picked up.

Make sure your shots are up to date.  Especially tetanus.  Mosquito control came by last night spraying.  The little monsters have been very active so shots for mosquito borne diseases are also a necessity.  Dump all standing water from the storm to keep breeding to a minimum.  Have your Coggins and any other important papers in a water tight bag or container.  Keep enough grain for a week to two weeks after the storm, but make sure that it’s protected from water.  Don’t forget to have meds for all people and animals to get you through a couple of weeks.  All stores and restaurants were closed for days because of no electric.  All food, dairy, and produce had to be thrown away so stores did not have anything even after they opened.

My Farrier was here yesterday and told me that he had been moving horses north for other people the whole week prior to the storm.  I asked him about the traffic on I 75, because it was crawling bumper to bumper for days before the storm, and to have horses stuck in a hot trailer when traffic is not moving will cause great harm.  He said they moved them at night.  The top speed was still only 40 mph but it was moving and cool.

It’s nice to know that all your plans and prep work are right on target.  It’s nicer not to have to try it out in real-time.  Thanks to all the people who sent up prayers for us.  We appreciated it and God was good.  Please keep praying for the people in the Islands, Keys, and South Florida.  They have a tough road ahead of them.  And especially pray for the Utility Workers, Police, National Guard, Fire Fighters, First Responders, and Volunteers who gave up their lives to come and save ours.  Also keep in mind the Animal Shelters who are taking in all the animals that have lost their homes and families.  Not to mention the wild animals who are without fresh water in the Keys.  The salt water mixed with the fresh.  They showed this morning on the news some Firemen who stopped and gave a bottle of their water to a dehydrated deer who drank two bottles of water and then went on his way.  How many won’t be that lucky?

There is so much out there that we are not even aware of.  The devastation that Irma has caused and now Maria is causing is going to last a while.  Be Thankful for what you have, so many no longer even have housing, or fresh water.

This has been a little long, but it makes up for last week.

So We All Saw What Happened With Harvey In Texas

Here we go with crying Wolf again.  That was a post from just a couple of weeks ago about being prepared.  The people in Texas were not prepared.  Houston was not told to evacuate.  What were they thinking?  I saw men putting their lives on the line to rescue a beautiful Quarter Horse from raging waters.  They all made it to safety.

So here I sit in Florida waiting to see if Irma is coming for a visit.  I have four extra horses whose owners were picking them up this weekend.  They are in Pennsylvania visiting family.  They had no idea that we are under a Hurricane Watch/Warning.

So to be prepared, I decided I’d better get more grain, hay, and bedding just in case they don’t make it back in time.  If we have trees down on the road, no one can come or go until we know that the electrical wires are not hot.  We’re about five days out from being hit.  I figured there wouldn’t be a rush on the feed store yet.  Surprise!  Everyone else was there being prepared.  One woman said that she had horses coming up from the Keys which will probably be evacuated today, Wednesday.  The last time the people on the West Coast evacuated because Charlie was supposed to come up that way, they all went inland to Orlando.  Charlie turned, ran up the middle of the state and guess where it went?  Orlando.  You just can never tell.

We’re high and dry.  For us to have waterfront property the rest of Florida would be submerged, another Atlantis.  But I’m glad people are taking this seriously.  There is no food or water on the shelves in the supermarkets, Costco, or Wal-Mart.  The governor has already declared that price gouging will be prosecuted heavily. $1,000.00 to $20,000.00 fine.  People are urged to call and turn these people in, they’ve already received 200 calls.  Everyone is taking this seriously.  Bob and I sat down at breakfast and made our plans of what needed to be moved and tied down. Now all we have to do is wait and watch.

Food – check.  Water – check, for all the people and animals.  Generator in working order – check.  Everyone has needed prescriptions on hand – check.  Now it’s a wait and see if we spring into action to lock down and tie down anything that may become missiles. Potted plants and furniture mowers and other equipment needs to be moved indoors. Hoses have to be disconnected because if the wind grabs them they will rip the water pipes off.  If we don’t have electric to the well, we won’t know we have a broken pipe until we do.  But with the generator, we will have water.

I’ve watched a thousand pound horse trying to hold their ground in major wind storms. Irma is packing 185 mile per hour wind.  Nothing would survive, neither house or barn.  Usually when a storm hits land, the winds diminish, but still we may not be in Kansas anymore Toto.  I told that to my brother yesterday and he wrote back, Just Follow The Yellow Brick Road.  I’ll get back to you on how we made out.

Prayers happily accepted.