Friday, October 26, 2012

Oh, Hey! Hi! How's It Going?

Ugh, I am a blogger fail.  Seriously, I can't believe the last time I updated this space was in JULY.  Fail Fail FAIL, all on me.

All my fail makes chubby 3-legged kitteh fall down, go night-night.

One of the major reasons for my fail is because I was working a job that was literally sucking the life and creativity out of me until about 3 weeks ago.  It's hard to have anything left when it's all you can do to get through 8 to 10 hours every day.  In some ways, it was an extremely rewarding position-I had a role in making a program strong and robust and everything I envisioned for it.  In (many) other ways, it was incredibly sad to see those efforts be all for naught.  Anyway. Long story short, I applied for and got a position with our local food bank 3 weeks ago, and I LOOOOVE it so far-seriously, since I was laid off a year ago, it finally feels like I'm doing what I want again.

Lo, I know that you don't care about my career:)  You want to hear more about him!

And maybe her, my sweet Senior Chamie.

Just because I haven't been writing doesn't mean I don't have anything to write about (er, maybe that's debatable).  This summer and fall I haven't ridden nearly as much as I need or want to-yet every time I do I have I ask myself why I'm not riding all the frigging time.  Miles turned 12 on October 16th, and he's truly in his prime-he is the best kind of horse.  The one who you can ride after he hasn't felt a saddle in 2 weeks and not need to lunge or anything-he is that horse. 

Last night, we took a trail ride in 40 mph gusts of winds and he was up, yes-only because he was SO happy when I pointed him at the trail instead of the arena.  To be clear, Miles' "up" these days is a shake of the head and sometimes a cute little passage-he just loves to explore.  I could FEEL his disappointment when the trail turned to take us back to the barn-he wanted to keep going!  I told Amanda, our trail buddy with her super mare Cody, that I will never get that beautiful, forward, bouncy walk in the arena. That is Miles' Dora the Explorer walk-if I had a trailer (and any kind of stamina of my own) I swear he would be the best endurance horse of them all.  What can't an OTTB do?

Lo, he is a handsome chub, is he not?  I sure do like him fleshy.

That's all for now-I have to save some content if I want to write more than once a frigging quarter.  I'll leave you with the happiest Golden face ever.

Feels good to be back!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mobile Confidence Course!

This weekend, Miles and I participated in a Mobile Confidence Course clinic.  It was so much fun! 

Yes, it was about 90 degrees that day, but I'm so, so glad we did it, despite the low level heat exhaustion I and the other 7 participants were suffering by the end of the 4 hours.  Kim and her partner set up about 12 different obstacles in the indoor and outdoor arenas-passing through giant flags, pool noodles and brush, walking over bridges, mattresses, rubber duckies, cut-up pieces of hose, crushed plastic bottles, working with giant balls and tarps, walking under wind-socks and various other colorful man-made materials, and of course crossing water.

Miles made them all his b&#*h.  Seriously, not to brag, but he was so, so amazing.  I love this horse, trust we have a good relationship, and I thought we would do well, but I had no idea just HOW brave and curious my boy is.  We did every obstacle multiple times, except walking on the pedestal.  I didn't wrap his front legs and he kept banging them against it, thinking I wanted him to walk over it  (which makes sense considering the jump work we've done) and I just didn't want him to hurt himself.  He was trying hard to please and was in no way scared of it, and other people had similar issues with their horses so I don't feel too bad about that.

I hope we are able to get Kim to come back and do an advanced class.  ALL the horses were superstars, and everyone was pleased with their horses and happy-tired by the end.  Miles was the only TB in a sea of Quarter Horses, Tennessee Walkers, Morgans and crosses thereof.  He trusted me throughout the day, both on the ground and under-saddle, and did himself and his breed proud.  I couldn't be happier with how the day turned out.  What I loved most was that he was engaged and happy the whole time-even when he snorted at something or scooted through an obstacle, he looked to me to tell him it was ok and lead him back through.  The few times he didn't go through/over something the first time, he never stopped being engaged and trying to solve the problem.  Damn, he would make a great cross-country horse:)

It's true.

REALLY wish I had pictures, but you can see on the MCC website what a lot of the course looks like.  If you live in the MI/OH area I HIGHLY recommend this clinic.  Kim and her partner Niki were amazing teachers and advocate a great gentle-leader approach to work working with horses.  No force is involved at all-being assertive when necessary is encouraged, but it's all about creating a positive experience for the horses and rewarding the slightest try.  It's amazing what our horses will give us when we whisper instead of scream.  I'm not ashamed to say Miles charmed the pants off both of them, especially Niki-she told me she has a 32 year old OTTB at home, and said that TBs get a bad-rap when it comes to participating in these clinics, where everyone assumes they will be "spooky".  I pray I'm lucky enough to have Miles for another 20-plus years, since I can't imagine my life without him.  I have a better horse than I thought, and I thought he was pretty damn awesome before:)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

If You're Looking For Original Content

Ha Ha, jokes on you!  Still, I had to link to this post from News from Aspen Meadows -  she posted a lovely poem from a fellow OTTB enthusiast.  Really great writing.

Miles and Chamie are melting in 95 degree temps but want me to say "What's Up" for them.  They are doing spectacularly for the most part.  I've just been taking super-chill rides in the fields and on the trails with my best boy.  It's been a very nice summer so far.

Hope to have something worth writing about (ahem, universe, no catastrophes please) soon.  The most exciting thing around these parts lately is the fact that I've finally found a fly mask Miles can't remove in an hour.  Unless you're Dave Barry, it's hard to make that stuff fun to read.  I am no Dave Barry.  Kisses to your ponies!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wherein We Take To The Trails

Wednesday I took both my kids out on the trails for the first time this year, and it was also the first time ever for Chamie since we have been reunited, although we used to trail ride all the time back in the day.  I rode Miles, and my friend and fellow boarder Amanda rode Chamie.

It was a spectacular first outing.  I hadn't ridden Miles in a week, and Chamie hadn't been ridden in over a month.  The weather was perfect, and the horses were both lovely, with only a few shenanigans (all Miles, and tiny at that-a kick at a bug here, a throw of the head and a dance there).  We trekked along for about a half hour.  Longer would have been nice, but Chamie got sore at the end:(  She was an eager beaver the whole ride, keeping up with Miles and stepping out just fine, with no prodding from Amanda.  By the end of the ride, though, she was gimpy on her left front, with some minor swelling.  We both felt really awful, but after buting that night she has been ok.  The swelling is still there, and though it is minor, I no like.  Boo.

I'm going to get the vet on the horn soon and ask about his recommendations for her.  I don't expect her to be a regular riding horse, but I would love her to be able to do a trail ride every week or two (especially now that we know how great she is).  Will injections help?  Another supplement (doubtful, but you never know)?  A bute regiment?  Maybe nothing will make her trail sound.  That would suck, but it would be ok.  She is loving her life at pasture with Miles and Bliss, which is what is most important.  Today she asserted her boss mare self with Bliss while I was scratching her ears in the pasture, keeping Bliss at a distance with her evil mare face.  Not going to lie, it was cute, even if a wee inappropriate.  Her personality has really started to shine since she's been out in a big field with her little herd-I think her defenses have finally come down and she has relaxed into her new life.

I know my old girl is happy.  Now I want her to be as comfortable as possible as well, being able to walk as much of the 100 plus acres we have access to as she can.  It was obvious to me she loved it-no balking, no jigging when turning home, just walking next to Miles, turning her head this way and that, with a soft expression of interest and confidence.  It sucks when they get old:(

Chamie says to take your "old" label and shove it.

After the trail ride, Amanda took a couple of pictures of Miles and me-he was a wee put out that I actually made him work-I told him a jump of this size is hardly work.

Why yes, that would be an OTTB shirt from Laz's mom, why do you ask?

All in all, more of the same-can't complain.

Miles loves the fellas too-here he is with Blue, our resident yearling Paint.  Those two would be 
T R O U B L E if they ever took on the town together.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Has Excuses

My posting has been...sporadic, to say the least.  This is because on March 2, my grandmother passed away after suffering another stroke while she was in assisted living.  She had such a hard was neither unexpected, nor a relief.  Anyway, she is at peace.

So, we had a graveside service, and a memorial service.  Also, we're moving into her house.  It's like, twice the size of our current house, with a beautiful yard for the dogs (she always took great pride in her yard).  I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to be able to live in this house that was a second home to me growing up.

But, it's work.  Oy, is it a lot of work.  My grandma saved everything, as her generation was wont to do, and as my husband has the same habit, there is a TON of stuff to sort, sell, recycle, and throw out.  It's a huge project.  Not to mention, we have to get our house ready to sell *cue whimpering*.

All this to say, blogging is like, 20th in importance on my to-do list (although I TOTALLY love seeing how my readership is down every time I log on.  Thanks Blogger!  Awesome feature.).  It will not always be so, but right now I just don't have the time or the inspiration, frankly.

I have been riding, and out to the barn at least 3 to 4 times a week.  Not enough, but it's been keeping me sane.  I've had some amazing rides on Miles, and Chamie is doing so, so well.  She turned 27 on Cinco de Mayo, can you believe it?!  I can't.  She's got some grey, but she looks AMAZING.  Totally shiny and fat (but not too fat!).  She's also so, so happy, being out with Miles and Bliss, an Arab mare.  She was so adorable today...after I turned her and Miles out, she stuck around for scratches and pettings, putting herself gently but firmly between Miles and me.  When Miles gave up and sauntered off with Bliss, she stayed with me, for the first time since she came back to me.  Love my old girl.  What a gift to have a second chance with her.

 She looks dynamite in pink.  Also, she is not attached to the coiled mess of rope next to her:)

Miles.  What can I say about him?  He is beyond gorgeous right now, shiny and fat (for him!) and content and calm.  He had a couple days where he reverted to insecure cray-cray TB when a new herd of horses moved into the pasture next to him and His Mares, but he settled after 2 days and is back to the boy I can ride after 2 weeks of no real work without lunging.  Complaints?  I hasn't them.


Miles lurves Derby Day!

I think my readership is tiny enough that I feel comfortable giving out my name, for those that would like to follow our adventures on Facebook-that's really where all my horsey updates are these days.  Search for Sarah Szwejda, and find out how ridiculous I really am:) 

R ownr iz batshit.  Luckie wez out-numburz hur.

PS-I'll Have Another?  I don't care how controversial his trainer is.  I want a triple crown winner in my lifetime already!  Come on pretty red colt!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

...and so have my horses' hormones. There has been some pasture reshuffling at the barn due to horses leaving and grass coming in, and we decided to try Miles and Chamie in the same pasture. You know where this is going, right?

Let's get inappropriate, behbeh.

I wasn't there, but apparently it was consensual and the (3!) encounters were brief. Chamie's heat has since calmed down (oh thank God) and now they are just best buds. Am I a horrible horse owner for keeping them together, knowing it could happen again? Probably. Still, neither are worse for the wear, and of course they are both happy as clams. Chamie had been out with LaShore, and as much as I love that horse he did not love her. He kept biting her little bottom and I felt horrible for her. She has no such marks on her now. I even rode her last weekend and she was moving phenomenally (for Chamie). She called a couple of times but then settled and we did some brief work in both directions. I'm so happy she is ride-able! Chamie, maybe not so much:)

Now, Miles has his own mini-harem, with Chamie and Bliss.

They are sweet.  My horses win at life!

Pasture grass is in and has made Miles a wee fleshy (!).  He and Chamie are now on just a ration balancer and their supplements, along with the occasional beet pulp mash as a treat.  Even this, they eat sparingly and slowly.  It's lovely what full tummies all the time does to horses.

Coggins were pulled and shots were given a couple weeks ago.  Miles is overdue for floating, so this will be done next week (First sedation for my boy since I've had him.  I don't think I can take it!).

Other than that we've just been trucking along - riding outside, but not working on anything particularly exciting (I still love me some cross-rails though).  Maybe we will graduate to a small vertical soon-or a line with set strides!  Ohhhh, the excitement never ends 'round these parts.

I hope others are enjoying your ponies as much as I am.  I love seeing them so content.  Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mush Abounds, You Are Warned

Milez sayz, "Go Michigan State!"

Remember how I used to post about riding and my progress with Miles' training? Yeah, good times:) There HAS been riding, though - not as much as I would like, but I try not to let a week go by without getting on Miles and doing our thing.

Yesterday was especially lovely. He's been so sweet and relaxed lately, but I hadn't ridden him outside yet. I reallllly didn't feel like lunging him, so I looked that sweet boy in his big brown eyes and said, "I trust you." Then I led him over to the mounting block, got on, and we walked outside to the arena.

I had forgotten my crop, but it didn't matter. He was so wonderful with me, responding to a cluck and a nudge from my calves to turn it up a notch. I had him literally on the buckle in our trot warm up - his nose was stretched alllllll the way down, stretch stretch stretch, his back up, rhythmic one two one two pace for 2 full laps around the arena. Glorious.

Canter work...I literally only thought canter and BOOM, there it was, in all its balanced, effortless glory. You know how sometimes your horse gives you that sweet spot, to sit into them instead of on them? Yeah, that. We did a few circles, I took him over a pole on the ground (he left from a long spot when I asked him to), and we called it a day. He's still so wooly and it's so hot I don't want to work him too much just yet. We finished by walking outside the arena, around the trees and in some fields. He was incredible - relaxed and yet interested, forward without a hint of "hot".

The next time someone tells me OTTBs are crazy I'm going to have to try harder than usual to refrain from laughing in their face. At 11 years old, Miles is now literally the perfect horse I would have created if such a thing were possible. I know not every day will be as amazing as yesterday, but I think there will be more and more as our relationship continues to grow. He loves to work and I love that he loves it. He doesn't need lunging most days (honestly, it's more for me than him at this point). He loves the lady ponies but could not be more respectful of them. He likes to play on the lead line occasionally, but it's because he is HAPPY, not because he's being a jerk.

I had a dream the other night that I had to sell him. People kept telling me it's ok, you will find another horse you will love just as much. I woke up with tears in my eyes because no - he is like, The One. There will never be another Miles for me. It scares me to love an animal that much, because we know how fragile they are.

It makes days like yesterday that much more special though, too. I know how lucky I am, blessed, all of it, to have this boy in my life. I hope he knows it. I hope I make him happy too.

Ack with the mush! Ah well, it's been awhile since I've done an ode to Miles post:)

Chamie is also doing great - I don't mean to disappear her. She has been very sweet (especially in heat, arg), but I haven't been working with her much at all, other than doing some walking exercises in the arena. She DOES get lots of love and cookies, and comes into the barn every single time I'm there for a good brush and hoof picking...she gets as much barn time as Miles. I broke down last week and had our farrier put shoes on her fronts and she is SO much more comfortable. Until we do x-rays we won't know what we're dealing with, but she was wearing her feet so unevenly and was SO uncomfortable I'm not going to let my bias for barefoot be responsible for her continued discomfort. She is 26 and deserves the best. She is walking and trotting SO much better now. I hope to bring her out on the trails next week.

I hope you're all having tremendous fun with your horses as well. Happy weirdly, early, bizarrely warm Spring!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One Month

I know, I know. Sigh. How can so much happen in a whole month and yet nothing at all? Well, nothing I'm going to blog about, anyway. Oy, what a month.

BUT! The weather is fricking AMAZING and things are looking up! OK, to be honest, the weather is bizarre and it totally freaks me out that the forcast for the next week is sunny and in the 70s every day. In. March. In. MICHIGAN. What up with that? End Times, that's what. Mosquitos the size of hummingbirds are right around the corner, true fact.

All the sunshine has brought out Chamie's, ahem, amorous side (sigh, AGAIN. This is the 2nd heat she's had since November). It has also brought out my horrible punny side and desire to make my horses speak really awful lolcat.

Brown Mare: "Pssst. Hey. Hey Big Guy. I has a seekrit."

Brown Boy: OMG you're talking to me? For seryous??

Brown Boy: Waaaaiiiiit. Miles feels suspishus. U gon' pull a Lucy an' take mai futball away? I am a sensative boi with the deep feelings an' u hurts me wif ur squels an' kickey feets.

Brown Mare: Shaddup an' lissin. Comes closer. Looks deep into mines eyes.

Brown Mare: I wants to haves ur behbehs. LOTS AND LOTSA BIG BROWN BEHBEHS!!!

Brown Boy: I don' think we're supposeda. Momz gits mad at meeee....

Brown Mare: No? Howz abouts now? D'you like-a mai sexxyfayce?
Brown Boy: Ur sexxyfayce skares me. Pleez stops.

Later that day....

Brown Boy: Hullo Cody-girl, my luvs, you woodn't beleeve whut ol' brown mare said to Miles!

Brown Boy: She wanna hav mai big brown behbehs!
Cody: I will cut her. How do you feel about big dun behbehs?

Wimminz iz crayzee. The cheez stands alone.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Neglected Ponies

Yep, mine. This past week has by FAR been the busiest of my life, work wise. The mere 2 days I had where I didn't work until at least 7:30 I was too exhausted to make it to the barn. I went Friday night (for the first time since Sunday-UNHEARD of!) and lavished my kiddos in guilty treats and mashes. Of course, Michigan decided to dump a snowstorm on us and I white-knuckled it all the way home for an hour in a trip that should take 25 minutes, but it was worth it.

Miles is Miles. Alert, adorable, sound, underutilized. I did ride him last Sunday and he was a gem...that is, until a new boarder brought in his horse, a Saddlebred I believe, complete with chains on his front feet. Now, I try to keep an open mind, truly. The chains were LOUD though, and Mr. Saddlebred was UP. I did get about 15 minutes of under saddle work done before they came in, so I decided to hop off Miles as he was getting pretty agitated by the noise and, let's say, surrounding this horse. When the whips came out we exited the arena. In the interest of fairness, I will say I didn't see anything "untoward", but Miles wasn't having it, so we left. The last thing I need is for him to freak out about the indoor - especially because he was half asleep for our ride. I need to get off my butt and haul some jumps up to the indoor to liven things up for both of us for our rides this weekend.

Chamie is doing well. Our order for BL pellets just came today, so I'll be starting her on those. Unless I see a HUGE improvement in her comfort and movement (which is a lot to ask from an oral supplement, considering her age and issues), I'll be asking our vet about Adequan when he comes out to do Spring shots in April. I did a lot of research this week, and after the expensive loading dose, Adequan really isn't that much more expensive than an oral supplement to give her, especially if I can do the shots myself. We will see what the experts say.

Tomorrow, assuming all is normal, Miles will get a proper ride (ohhh, the snow is so pretty now, it's beckoning!) and Chamie will get a good walk in. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Oh Hai!

I will fully admit that while sitting here deciding what to write (because omg I had to write SOMETHING) I dozed off. I have been officially employed full time for 3 days, and y'all, I am SPENT.

Granted, I did work a 12 hour day today, so there is some excuse. I LOVE my job so far though-I'm swamped already but not overwhelmed, and the work is exciting and challenging, and really unless someone is going to pay me a living wage for working with horses and dogs, it's everything I could ask for in a career. Still, other things are falling by the wayside-like blog time, both writing and reading not to mention commenting (oh, I know I'm losing readers by the day, but what can you do?), and pony time (that IS why I started blogging, after all).

Boy and Girl are doing well. The weather here is freakishly warm-I'm not kidding, it's a more than a little worrisome to me. Do I love riding in 50 degree weather? Um, yeah, I'm not dead. Still, it's so bizarre for this time of year. I can't help but worry that this is all going to lead to an unbearably hot and BUGGY summer, and we all know how well Miles deals with bugs. I hope and pray this is not the case.

Hey, unrelated item! (tired brain has no sense of writing continuity)-remember how I let Miles roll in the indoor ring and posted that cute video of him doing so? Yeah, NOW he thinks every time we step into the indoor ring he should be able to drop and roll. He actually tried doing so with my saddle on him the day after I took that video and I almost had a heart attack as I yanked on his lead. That's ALL I need is a saddle with a broken tree. I feel bad because he really does not like being blanketed and he IS itchy, but a time and a place and all that. Hopefully a couple nekkid days outside will help.

Item! Ponies got their toesies trimmed last Friday. Mile's feet are frigging crazy good-he's got some great concavity going on and there is no question now he's staying barefoot. I may get my rock cruncher feet yet! He's moving like well-oiled machinery and I only wish I was utilizing that power under saddle more than twice a week. I try to also lunge him at least one time a week, but still I wish I was doing more. It's a damn shame to waste a sound, happy OTTB:) SPEAKING of...are you guys reading the Retired Racehorse Training Project? If not, for shame! Go forth, read, and sin no more. Solidify is my favorite...I bet none of you could guess that;)

Chamie's feet are less great. She was sore after her trim (as my farrier warned she may be). He's great at what he does, very patient, and does corrective trimming very slowly, so if HE admits his work may make a horse slightly sore, it's for good reason. Her feet were just that bad, unfortunately-the first time he trimmed them he said he only saw feet like that on neglect cases. Yep. She's moving better now though. I'm not having her do more than walk "work" until Spring, and only leading her, no more lunge if it can be helped. I hope to start taking trail walks with her and Miles soon. I'm also painting her soles in Venice Turpentine, in case that helps...although it seems less of an issue now that the earth is made of soft sod and mud.

Item! Laz's mom is making super cool OTTB t-shirts. Because she rocks, and because her baby and Miles are kin, she sent me one. I love it and want another, because Lebowski has stolen mine. Go git your own here!

I sleeps like my momz and dreams of mai own poneee.

And...there's my news. I know, snore (I also dozed off typing all this...I don't think that says much for my content). Even if I'm not commenting on your blog, I'm probably still reading it when I can. It's hard transitioning back into a grown-up. I comfort myself by dreaming of dollar bills-so many dollar billzzzzzzzzzzSnorezzzzzz........

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Ponies Will Not Have To Live In Some Hillbilly's Backyard After All

...Because I am finally, officially employed! Three and a half months after being laid off, I've landed a Program Manager position for a great local non-profit. I'll be overseeing a program called Everyday Digital, which teaches adults from all walks of life basic computer skills (which are really life skills at this point). At the end of the class, the graduates are given computers donated by various groups. Pretty cool, right?

It's a relief for a number of reasons, obviously. Selling my horses was never on the table, but I don't know if they could have stayed where they are for much longer, even with the help we got from my super understanding, generous parents. I'm very happy they will not have to move to some backyard outfit:)

It's also a relief because, well, being unemployed for this long has done a number on me, I'm not going to lie. While I've had more time to ride, work at the barn, write, etc, it sure didn't feel like a luxury and I couldn't really enjoy it with all the worries that being unemployed comes with. Not to mention, in those three and a half months, I've had four interviews and three second interviews, along with sending out customized resumes and cover letters (and filling out all those blasted online applications) every week. Lawd I'm glad that's over.

While unemployement overall is decreasing across the US, my sector (non-profit or state jobs-basically anything that is publically funded) is not doing well at all-those jobs continue to decrease every month. Still, it's the place where all my professional experience lies, where I feel most comfortable, and, most importantly, where I feel valued and have the most to contribute. I can't feel passionate about working to make some shareholders somewhere that much richer; okay, I know there are many private companies out there doing wonderful, creative, important things, but I have no experience working for any of them, so this is my (I'm sure horribly) inaccurate perception. What I know is that I can feel good about working in the community, with people who benefit from my services, while actually making a difference. Extra bonus? I'll be working at a community center 6 blocks from my house, along with one of my dearest friends who was a coworker at my previous job. So, huzzah!

Now for pony news! The kids are doing great. I'm thinking of switching Chamie from SmartFlex Senior to BL this point I think she needs more pain relief than anything-her walk is still ok but she's obviously got some arthritic/navicular issues that are hurting her. The lack of movement in the pasture due to either mud or now frozen mud isn't helping her. I'm going to talk to my farrier about this as well, but in the meantime does anyone have experience with BL Pellets? I could also put her on a low dose of bute but I would prefer not to.

I took Miles into the indoor ring yesterday for a quick lunge. My phone buzzed and when I fetched it out of my pocket, he took the opportunity to have a good roll, or five. He needed that relief after being blanketed for months now. Afterwards, he trotted and bucked and farted and galloped (all respectfully, if that's possible!) and basically had a great time finally being able to move out on the lunge after being stuck in one small space for too long. I know just how you feel, bubs.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Put A Fork In Her

OK, that's a little extreme. Still, when it comes to my 26 year old mare Chamie, and her work on the lunge, even in the arena under she told me that she's had enough.

I worked her on the lunge today, the first time I've worked her at all since her pony session with Miles. She gave me an epiphany. Though I owned her from age 8 until she was about 16, she has endured a lifetime since.

She didn't do anything crazy, and she moved as comfortably and soundly as I've seen her, which is great. Chamie just told me she is done with arena work. She listened to me, because she was taught to. She obeyed the lunge commands as she was trained to. Still, her heart is not in it. Yes, she is a mare, an old mare, in RAGING heat (!!), but that wasn't all of it. I think I've felt it ever since she came to the barn...her acquiescence, her obedience...but that's it...there is nothing else there. No passion, no heart, no drive to work. She cooperates because she has to, and because she was taught to. She is an old mare who has put in her time, one way or another. She is happy in her retirement, and I need to give that to her.

That's not to say she is completely off the hook. She is as sound as ever, and I really want to take her out on the trails when Spring arrives, if not sooner, and show her a life outside of the barn and pasture that she loves so much. I have a distinct feeling that if Miles goes with her, she will be the best little trail horse ever...she better be, if I put my family members on her:)

Miles continues to be my sweet, sensitive boy. I'm doing evening chores at the barn 4 times a week, and thus haven't been riding nearly as much as I should. Still, even yesterday when I rode Miles for the first time in longer than I care to admit, he went ca-razy on the lunge but was a total gentleman under saddle, even when my phone leaped out of my jacket pocket and onto the ground right next to him. In short, nothing has really changed, and even after days of neglect (ha!) he's still my Best Boy.

The difference between Miles and Chamie is so...interesting. Miles never stops being engaged...I get Chamie's attention with treats (ok, this is also true with Miles to an extent). Chamie loves the barn, loves being around people and other horses and, of course, food. Miles love those things too, but he also loves working and going off on our own and exploring. Chamie has paid her dues...Miles doesn't understand what dues are. Does that make sense?

In short...Miles needs more rides, and needs to work more than we are now, while Chamie is done with the arena. I need to get her on the trails soon to see if that is something she would enjoy and be reliable enough for my family to ride her as well.

Also, Detroit Lions? You broke my husband's heart.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In Gratitude

2011, you haven't been super awesome, on many levels. Still, I'm so, so grateful...

That I was able, through luck and the support of my amazing family, to bring my Chamie girl home. Her new environment has brought out her happiness, and I'm so glad she's no longer ignored, living in a stall all day...

And that I continue to own the most incredible horse alive, my boy Miles, who loves to see me, who tucks his head into my arms like a dog, who forgives my mistakes, is more than patient and who, I know, sounds too good to be true. He really is ridiculous in the way that great horses are, though...they defy description. I still don't know how I ended up with one of the greats, though I suppose everyone feels that way about their heart horse.

Happy 2012, my friends. I wish the world for all of us and our beautiful equines in the new year.