Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post Sandy/bracing for Nor'easter

Well, we were more fortunate than many. The New Jersey coast was hammered, and our beloved LBI was one of the beach communities that was hit hard. In our area, Berks County Pennsylvania there were high winds and a fair amount of rain resulting in fallen trees, flooding, wind damage and power outages. We were prepared with a generator but the power only flickered a few times, so we were quite lucky. The barn did not flood but power was out for a day. We were prepared for that so all was well. The girls were a bit cranky after 48 hours in the barn, but with two days of wind and rain that was the safest place for them. As the wind howled and the temperatures dropped I was glad that I decided to dress the girls in warmer clothing and confident that they were safe and dry! Less to worry about!

Suki's skin was a bit dry after a couple of days without moisturizing, but not bad. I stopped at the barn Wednesday after the storm but power had not yet been restored, so I was not able to groom the girls. I visited and gave out treats, but Suki was especially pushy about wanting to get out of her stall. Nikki was a little cranky but not as bad. It would have been nice to at least groom them a bit but it was really too dark. Apparently power was restored a couple of hours after I left. As I said we were more fortunate than many.

The horses were able to get out in the paddocks for short periods on Wednesday, but the pastures were still a bit too wet for turnout. By Thursday they were out in the pastures again, and a little bit wild. Friday was the first day that I was able to lunge Nikki again. Still windy and chilly I expected Nikki to be a bit wild. Walking out to the arena she was very well behaved and stood quietly while I closed the gate. But as soon as I put her out on the circle Nikki let out a few squeals and a leap, then settled into a forward trot. I let her move forward for several minutes then started to ask for transitions. She was focused and obedient. I know that walk to the arena was difficult for her. She wanted to be silly but held it together. Good baby.

Saturday was windy and cold and Suki was a bit wild coming in. She stood up when J led her out of the paddock. But he left her until near the end and that makes her a bit wiggy. It is only the second time she has done that to him, but it is quite unnerving. Suki has always been demanding about coming in first, so add wind and cold.....well, the sum of that equation is a big negative! Nikki too, had been tearing around the pasture so I opted for a second day of lunging with a ride planned for Sunday. Both girls settled nicely after receiving my undivided attention. I am anxious to get back into a regular routine for a few weeks before winter hits. While the original plan was to take Nikki back to VMF, that is unlikely to work out. So I am probably looking at giving Nikki two months off once the ground freezes. On days when the footing is good I will lunge, but she is not to the point in age or training where she can be ridden after a couple of weeks off in between. We'll see what happens though.

I am also tragically behind with ordering the Suki calendars, so that is one of my goals for this week. The plan is to have them avaialble for ordering by December 1st. I am also uncertain of how many to order and what to charge so that there will be a reasonable amount of money to send to whatever rescue is to be the beneficiary. That is my other dilemma....which rescue? Uggh. I think I need a personal assistant, or rather Suki does!

My thoughts keep going back to making more contacts with human burn survivors for Suki to meet. What I witnessed in some of those meetings was miraculous. Here is a quote from a burn survivor who had lost most of his fingers in a fire when he met her: He said: 'She hesitated a bit. Her ears kind of perked up as if to say, "I don't feel a full hand here". At that moment, I was almost drawn to tears ... I felt that she knew that I had been injured, too.' Suki also helps burn survivors to temporarily put aside their own feelings of discomfort as they talk to her and see that she has experienced some of what they have gone through themselves. It doesn't just apply to burn survivors though. People who have in the past or are currently recovering from or being treated for an illness, or injury also gain hope and inspration from Suki's courage and zest for life. It's about making the most of what life has given you.

I think this recent photo that Jenn took shows the courage, intelligence and depth of can you not look at this face, knowing what it has been through and not be inspired? I should be so wise....

Sunday I had a quiet ride on Nikki, and since she had been off for a week I decided to keep it simple. Primarily serpentines, transitions and frequent changes of direction. Nikki seemed happy to work and attentive to what I was asking.

The evenings have been quite a bit colder so the girls are wearing heavier clothing. Even Nikki with her fuzzy pre-winter coat was wearing a light blanket instead of a sheet. I always struggle with what to dress them in when it is quite cold at night and temperatures rising into the upper 40's during the day. We haven't seen much of the sun lately and there has been a bit of wind, so it seems the blanket choices are working! I can't wait until it just gets cold and stays thinking involved!

Most of my blankets have a smooth surface inside which helps Suki's hairless back as the blanket shifts across it. As the weeks progress each blanket that touches her skin will become nicley slicked with moisturizer from Suki's back! That really helps to keep Suki's back nice and moist, and the thicker blankets offer more padding, giving me a bit more peace of mind! I have some extra blankets that are smaller, so I will be donating them to The Gingersnap Girls horse rescue.

Tuesday (Nov 6): Nikki and Killian were at the top of their field but Nikki followed me down the driveway as I pulled in. My plan was to a quick ride in before the farrier came. As I parked Nikki greeted me at the fence....such a cutie that girl!

As I was scratching Nikki's face over the fence you-know-who started whinnying (loudly!) behind me. She wasn't at the gate when I got out of the car, but I suspect that she heard my voice when I was talking to Nikki.
This is what she did when Peter, in the padock next to her field nuzzled my arm over the fence

Is that a great snake face, or what!

Then she remembered her manners...

Nikki's neck seemed a little sore from her vaccinations the day before so I decided to lunge her without side reins....I worked on sharpening the transitions and she stretched her neck beautifully as she moved out. The farrier had said that her feet are really good and it would probably be okay to keep her barefoot behind. We'll give it a try, since I will not likely be taking her any where for the next few months. Suki seemed less than happy to go second again, but got over it once I started to groom her.

Now to prepare for the nor'easter. We shouldn't be as affected, but there is snow/sleet/wind heading our way for sure. The girls are cozy and safe, so we will hunker down again. I hope that those directly in this storm's path, who are still recovering from Sandy will be okay.


  1. Oh my....that is one Unhappy Diva face Suki slipped on! Do you suppose she regained her composure when she saw the camera on her? Seeing Suki standing would certainly encourage me to let her in first ;)

    1. She immediately regained her composure! I have never been able to capture snake face, so it was quite by accident! It is initimidating isn't it?!

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  3. lol Yeah, that is one heckuva face! But she still looks beautiful doing it! ;) Hope you guys stay safe & warm. The wind has picked up drastically in the last hour, and the temperature has DROPPED. Brrr! ♥

    1. It is an evil expression, isn't it! How did you fare in the latest storm? We were spared any major precipitation, but boy was it cold!!