Friday, November 30, 2012


In the last batch of hay, 40 or so bales, we had five or six bales the horses would not eat, at all. The latest opened bale is still in stall #5 – and in intact flakes in the field and the hay net – won't eat it. I felt badly, too, because it was a cold night (couple nights ago) and didn’t know none of them would eat it, all night long.

Then LAST night, after their dinner, KC was at the gate – looking at me through the kitchen window – that hay they also would not eat. Argh! He hand-picked each bale, climbing up into the barn, high in the stacks, but some they would not eat.

We only have a couple bales left, so it is imperative we get hay this weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


We're had a long stretch of cold nights - the frost is glistening in the field, on the car. Keeping fresh water for horses is very important and when it freezes in the buckets they are challenged to get drinking water.

We have electric heated buckets, in the stalls and in the pasture. We've had the boys' bucket turned on for almost a week now.

We have a 50 gallon trough, which we used at first but no longer. We got the heating element for it, but we change out the water so frequently that it was a waste of time and water. We use a 10-gallon bucket, changing out the water twice a day.

This summer there were several fatalities in the bucket. Birds and a ground squirrel. Hate seeing that, hate fishing them out. Skip won't drink out of the bucket after a fatality unless it is scrubbed out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beaver Moon

November's full Moon was called the Beaver Moon because it was the time to set traps, before the waters froze over, also called the Full Frost Moon.

We don't trap Beavers like that anymore, mostly, and lately has been frosty. Sometimes the day time temperature is mild, for November, but still chilly.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Holiday Wrap-Up

It's always about the weather, and whether or not we can ride. Thanksgiving day would have been a fantastic day to ride, but we ate turkey instead.

Friday was a beautiful day, got into the mid-60s! We went late to the League and met up with friends that we haven't seen in ages. All are far-flung, from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and elsewhere.

We had not planned on riding with them, they have 'gaited' horses. When we ride with gaited horses we tend to ride fast, and sometimes recklessly. We had planned on going to the Woodstock Inn, but we did not.

I wish I could say it was uneventful, but it was not. Skip hates to ride with a 'large' group; anything over four horses is large in his mind. He gets totally wound up and excited. Plus the gaiting horses were moving quickly and he was determined to keep up with them.

In most "gaited" breeds, an ambling gait is a hereditary trait. I have only ridden one in my life and she was smooth, smooth, smooth. You would never have to learn to 'post' if you rode a gaited horse.

Other horses can have a smooth trot, but you still will have a 'bump.' Not with a gaited horse, the fizz will still be in your beer, and you won't spill a drop.

We never did get lunch on the trail, learned a new trail, got lost only once, and Skip bucked Tom off. He has the bruises to prove it.

Saturday started out nice, but the wind picked up, really blustery and cold through out the day. Worked on this and that around the house, then went to his mother's for Thanksgiving dinner #2. I fed everybody early, which surprised them, but didn't have to ask them twice.

By Sunday the wind had diminished, but still cold. Never got above 40 and we never got around to riding. Even with my flannel-lined jeans it was too cold for me. I hear 'snow' in the weather reports for the coming week.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve 11.21.12

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has long been my favorite day of the year. I look forward to this day, right before my favorite holiday. This year we have so much to be thankful for, and thankful for what we don't have. Honest.

The weather has been delightful, for November. Last night was a serious frost, the buckets were again iced over, the grass was sparkling white. Scrapping the car with it's hard coating was difficult.

Today is supposed to be in the mid- to high 50s, or even into the 60s! The boys were shocked to lose their coats, but they need to get some sunshine on those backs. Skip immediately dropped and rolled in the dry paddock.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mid-November Weekend Wrap-Up

On Saturday he finished up the on-going electrical project and it is working flawlessly! I did the housewifey stuff; laundry, bathroom cleaning, kitchen cleaning, changed sheets, etc.

On Sunday we rode at Union Mills - great day for a ride, clear and sunny but chilly.

We rode out at 11:00, didn't get home until dark! It was a great ride, most trails are wide logging roads, with some single-track through the woods. There is also a short stint on pavement that goes over a metal bridge. Yes, a metal bridge.

For a long time this bridge was out of order, unless you were a balance beam gymnast. To cross the river you had to go around the bridge pillars, into some deep, soft sand. The sand is so deep there that my stirrups were picking up sand. KC hates to be in deep anything, and it is not exactly safe for them. They can pull a muscle or a tendon, panic at being trapped, etc. I was relieved to see the bridge finally completed, but it is METAL. The sound of shoed hooves was like a shot-gun blast. BOOM BOOM BOOM.

We haven't been there for a while and he was hesitant at putting his foot on the bridge, the transition from pavement to concrete to metal are intimidating to a horse's brain. And the metal floor has holes drilled in it. You can look through the holes and see the water. Ugh.

His first step was loud, BOOM, and I could see him process this information for a 1/2 second. I rubbed his shoulder and he took the next step and we walked the entire length straight down the middle. Nina was fine, too, but he jumped off Skip. I understand anxieties, but Skip was fine, too.


We rode up the gravel road to the next turn, there was a large horse trailer parked there. Getting into that parking space took some skill. We didn't take the loops that wind through the park, opting instead to go the usual route to the far parking area. We saw some deer in the woods, too. At the next stop there were about a half-dozen trailers parked there.

We stopped there to eat our apples and Nutter-Butters. Yum. The feral cats are still there, too. Well-fed feral cats.

We rode across the road into the small loop that skirts the remote-control airplane club. They have a nice set-up, with bleachers, an excellent grass runway, windsock, and other necessary accoutrements.

We resumed our ride back to the trailer, seeing a Red-tailed Hawk on the flat. It was still kind of muddy down there, still evidence of Hurricane Sandy's rampage. There is some good elevation changes in this park, and we had plenty of opportunities to ramp up the speed. KC behaved himself, too.

By the time we got back to the trailer we were starving. We called ahead to J&P Pizza in Taylorsville and stopped in on the way home.

We put Nina in stall #4. She was startled by the minis (ha!) and the boys still couldn't get enough of looking at her. She is pretty, and she knows it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Happy Veteran's Day! If nothing else, hug a soldier.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cover Me

To blanket or not to blanket, that is the question.

Back in the day only high-dollar horses had blankets. If they were for sale to the mainstream, I did not know where I would purchase one. Fast forward to now and practically every horse has a blanket. They come in patterns (zebra-stripe, peace signs, plaids, etc.) and a rainbow of colors. Even 'safety-orange' for hunting season.

Skip is a hard keeper. Six months out of the year I give him 'weight-builder' to keep some meat on his bones. It was suggested to us while we were still at the boarding barn to blanket him to help keep his weight up. Shivering uses calories.

We got blankets for the boys. Skip was ok with wearing his, but he'd rather not have anything on. KC had never seen one in his short life and was spooked by the sight of them hanging in the racks in the barn aisles. And at first KC didn't know he could roll or lie down in his, so for weeks it was pristine clean. Eventually he figured it out. He was leery about having it put on him, though, for a quite a while. The barn help needed help putting it on him.

The last year we were at the boarding barn we had to replace their coats because they were shredded in the continually shrinking 'big' field.

We like to let the boys grow their winter coats before we begin blanketing for the season. I watch the weather, as I always do, to make sure they have enough hay to eat overnight. If the low temp is significant I bring them in to spend the night instead of blanketing.

This year we had one night in early October that had a decent frost; the buckets were skimmed over with ice, and the pasture looked like it had a dusting of snow. They both spent the night inside with no blankets.

By late October the nights were getting to be too chilly, and I didn't want them to stay inside every night. I pulled out the blankets and shock them out. Stink Bugs had invaded the coats! Ugh!

As I was flapping and shaking the coats out, Stink Bugs flying, Lil Fred was his usual freaked-out self, and was bolting this way and that in the dry paddock. Sprite was totally unconcerned.

These coats are heavy, I have trouble carrying both at the same time. I really can't afford to blow out my elbows again. The straps are flapping around, too. I hate getting smacked with those!

I flung the coats over the fence rail near the gate where the boys were standing. I put KC's on first; I was amazed at what a good boy he was! He stood stock-still while I swung it over his back, continuing to brush off the Stink Bugs.

Skip was another issue; I had to retrieve a rope to tie him to the gate - he tried untying the rope and kept biting the air around my head. He never actually bit me, but he does let you know that he could positively do this. I used my elbow, over and over, to catch him in the face, and he kept smacking his lips, over and over.

I got the coat on him and he seemed happy about it, in the end.

Now I have to watch the weather to make sure they have them on or off, depending on the high temps for the day, the wind speed, low temps, freeze warnings and rain fall. It really is all about the weather.