Monday, March 25, 2013

Preparing for training and spring!

Saturday, March 23, 2013
I made my bi-weekly trip to Oley Valley Feed today.  They have a great wild bird seed blend which I add to two other specialty mixes.  Our wild birds (and squirrels, chipmunks, groundhog and deer) seem to love it.  In fact, as I am writing this, the yard is filled with birds, squirrels and chipmunks!  The drive over is one of my favorite routes and today I was rewarded with many opportunities to smile.  The first was my drive past the former Pink Star Equestrian, site of the barn fire that injured Suki.  For a very long time it was difficult for me to pass it and I often went out of my way to avoid it.  After the fire it was sold and turned into a standardbred breeding farm.  The barn where Suki once lived had burned to the ground, and the indoor arena was converted into a large barn.  Today, for the first time I was able to see the new babies out with their moms.  So cute!  The yearlings are in their field and so are the two-year-olds.  I marvel at the size of the the picture that I have of Nikki at 12 hours old she appears to be close to the size of these yearlings!  I couldn't help but smile.  Does this mean I have recovered??

Next I passed one of the dairy farms, and the girls were walking in a line from their pasture to the barn for milking.  Calmly, in a line, no pushing or shoving.  There is a place for each of them and I suspect the order in which they make their march has a certain hierarchy to it.

The quilt store parking lot was full, and as usual I imagine a large group chatting happily as they work inside.  A trip through the covered bridge ALWAYS makes me smile!  (I LOVE that I live wher covered bridges are a part of the landscape!) then on to Oley Valley Feed.  As I pass Reppart's chocolate I imagine how busy they will be in the coming days approaching easter.  It is a local, family-owned home made chocolate shop. 

The parking lot at OVF was packed, not unusual for a Saturday afternoon, but a vaccine clinic added to the traffic.  I waved to the guys on the loading dock and went into the store.  A bag of flax seed treats for the girls, bird seed and a homemade peanut butter/chocoalte buckeye later and I am on my way to the girls.  Driving past old stone farmhouses and bank barns more than 200 years old, I look at the fields and mountains that will turn from brown to green in the coming weeks.  Sometimes I think that I am the luckiest person in the world....

Suki and Nikki were in their pasture when I arrived, near the fenceline parallel to the driveway.  I stopped my car when I was about half way down the lane and opened my window.  Nikki came right over ears forward, followed by Suki, who of course made a face at her!  By the time I parked and gathered my supplies the girls had moved further from the gate.  I called to them once again, but of course the rare sunshine made them not want to come in.  It was late afternoon with probably 2 more hours until they would be brought in to eat.  As I walked across the field the girls turned and started to follow me so I turned back toward the gate.  Occasionally I would look over my shoulder and noticed Suki pick up her pace a little.  Then she moved into the trot followed by Nikki.  Nikki kicked up her heels and galloped toward me.  Suki, not to be outdone did the same.  Finally they slowed and circled me, ready to come in at last.

Starting with Nikki, I removed her heavy blanket, two much for a day that suddenly became sunny driving temperatures into the upper 40's.  She wasn't sweaty, but her thick coat was beginning to pick up its shedding pace.  Using the shedding comb I removed thick clumps of hair with each pass resulting in a huge pile on the floor.  A thick rubber mitt helped to remove more and Nikki practically turned herself inside out as I relieved the itchies!  While I was in beautifying mode I decided to pull Nikki's mane.  Digging around in the grooming boxes failed to produce a pulling comb....I have about 10 of them.  Why do they always seem to disappear when I need to use one?  Then when I buy another they reappear as if they had been having a party somewhere out of sight!  I knew that there was one in the junk drawer in my kitchen.  Little good it does there!  There are two hoof picks in that drawer also!  Drives my husband batty!

The beauty treatment took a little longer than anticipated so I lunged Nikki for only 10 minutes.  It was a good session though.  She seems quite ready to go back to work.  She listened well and had nice swing and spring in her stride.  I had emailed that local trainer inquiring about some assistance with getting Nikki started back under saddle.  He did not respond.  I included my phone number in the email.  I can never understand why people include a method of contact that they do not respond to.  If he is not interested then just shoot a short email back.  How do people run businesses this way??

Suki was not as muddy as usual so her grooming and spa treatment was shorter.  She does not grow a thick winter coat like Nikki so the shedding out period isn't nearly as impressive. Suki's work on saturday consisted of some brief in hand exercises to sharpen her responses.  That went well too.  She enjoyed the extra attention and will love having a job again.  I definitely see the spark in her eye! The spring-like temperatures and my beautiful mares kept me smiling!
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Isaiah had his riding lesson today.  He then accompanied me to Suki and Nikki's barn to change blankets, etc.  I was surprised to hear Isaiah say that Suki and Nikki make him a little nervous because they are so big.  He used to say that he wanted to ride them!  But now that he is riding regularly, I think that he can really see the difference, and is quite comfortable with the ponies.  I told him that he should not be nervous, but should respect their size and be sure to let them know that he is boss.

Standing nicely.....

Searching for treats
 Notice that the aisle is somewhat clean except for hoof pickings.  Annoying boarder who leaves blanket thrown in aisle and poop by gate, couldn't be bothered to clean up after picking her horse's feet.  My 7 year old, however walked in and said "Who left a mess in the aisle?" He cleaned it up when we were finished with Suki and Nikki.

Monday, March 25, 2013
Snow, again.  The great thing about March snow is that it doesn't stay around for very long.  I worked from home today and watched the wildlife in my yard while sitting at my desk.  They were very busy eating seeds, fruits and nuts!  Suki and Nikki had to stay in, but by the weekend it will be 50 and we will be working again!  Yay!

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