Thursday, July 9, 2009


I caught the horses having a neck-fest the other day.

Everyone wants a nice massage.

Lostine gets a little too much into the biting part.

I was feeling frustrated because I got pulled into yet another meeting and told we have another impossible deadline for a project that I thought was over and done with. Each time I think I'm going to get a little relief from working long hours solving a ridiculous number of problems, I'm told I can't relax yet because some other urgent task is right around the corner. This project is like a monster in a horror movie that keeps coming back to life every time you think you've killed it. I was going to give up my vacation day this week yet again, but then started thinking about how these emergencies at work seem to be never-ending.

This is my life. I have responsibilities at home. I have dreams. I don't want to be tied to a ball and chain. I went ahead and took that vacation day knowing I won't be able to meet the deadline at work. The temperature was around 80 degrees, which is considered to be cool around here. It's not often that we get summer days below 90 degrees, so I knew I had to take this day off. I can't tell you how many nice days I've been forced to sit in front of a computer and work, and then when I was finally allowed some time off, it rained or it was in triple-digits and I couldn't ride my horses, which is the only thing I want to do when I have time off.

Last year I got only half of my barn stained before it started raining and snowing. I ran out of stain and was told by the stores that they don't stock it in the off season, so I had to wait until this year to get more stain. My son and I finished the staining the other half of the outside of the barn today. I will need two more days below 90 degrees in order to finish staining the inside of the barn.

I also soaked the pasture by letting the hose run on it all day. The horses gnawed the grass down to the roots and now I am in damage control mode. I don't have enough land to be able to move the horses between two pastures, so I just let them graze in the pasture for a couple of weeks, and then feed them flakes of hay in the paddock for a couple of weeks while the pasture recovers.

I also rode Gabbrielle. Each time I ride her, I practice what she last learned, and then teach her something new. Her last lessons involved walking on cue, halting on cue, turning, and keeping her head up. She had this habit of pulling on the reins and stretching her neck out. When I would try to hold her head by putting resistance on the reins, she interpreted that as meaning halt. So, I taught her that if I pull on the reins to prevent her from tugging, and squeeze with my legs at the same time, she needs to keep walking. She caught on pretty quick. I decided to end each lesson with her backing up. She's still a little confused about whether I'm asking her to move forward or back, but I have confidence she'll figure it out soon.

While I was riding her, Bombay took a chunk out of the fence with his teeth. I hollered, "BOMBAY! BAD BOY!", completely forgetting that I was riding a totally green horse that has only been under saddle a few days. Gabbrielle's head shot up and she started to speed up into the trot, thinking I was yelling at her to go faster. I stroked her on the neck and said, "Don't worry. You're a good girl, Gabbrielle." Then she relaxed.

I usually feed the horses their dinner as soon as the sun sets, but I wanted one more ride before I had to return to work. I figured Lostine would be irritable and uncooperative since it was so close to her feeding time, but she gave me a quick, decent ride at all paces. After riding Gabbrielle with kid gloves, it was nice to just sit back for a good, fast gallop on Lostine. When I unsaddled her, her tummy let out the loudest growl I've ever heard. She was happy to finally get her hay, and I was happy to get in a couple of rides today.


Katharine Swan said...

Yay! Good for you for standing strong about taking your Thursdays off. I'm so glad to hear about all the horsey stuff you got done today, riding and everything else. It's such a good feeling, isn't it?

Leah Fry said...

Live your dreams, Nuz. No one gets out of here alive.

Kate said...

Gabbrielle sounds like a smart, kind horse - it's fun to read of your progress with her!

manker said...

lol what leah said. i had a biathlon coach who used to say "none of us makes it out alive"... go for it

git 'r done (and i'll do the same at my horse show tomorrow... butterflies in formation! :)

S. Lauren said...

Your horse Gabbrielle sounds so sweet to be around! And she's super cute in all the pictures, I like your other horses too!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Cute pictures of the horses necking. Good for you for taking a stand and taking your vacation day.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Love the necking photos, NM. I'm glad you got some ride time in , too. Gabbrielle is such a sweetie. I love reading about her and how she's coming along.