Monday, July 23, 2012

2 more days!

I just got off the phone with the lady who will be hauling the girls for me.  She's in Cheyenne and will be picking them up tomorrow afternoon, right after the brand inspection.  They'll go down to a reining trainer's facility in Cheyenne and stay Wednesday.  Then they're on the road early Thursday, and I think they'll be back in OR by Saturday!

This actually works pretty well for my schedule--I'll have time to pack up the fencing after they head out tomorrow, and be on the road early Wednesday.  This way I think we'll get back about the same time.

Here's to hoping everything from here on out goes smoothly!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

t-minus 6 days

...until my little silver car is packed, the cats are in the back seat and we all hit the road--the horses having left the day before, of course.

I am freaking out.  Of course it's a controlled kind of freaking out, which mostly involves how things are going to fit into boxes, stressing over boxes being too heavy, and trying to grasp exactly how much stuff I have.

At any rate, this time tomorrow I'll have a lot of it loaded into a u-haul trailer, and by this time Saturday, it'll all be in u-boxes.

I feel sort of sorry for the horses.  They have no idea that anything is coming, except that their grain has mysteriously stopped arriving twice a day.  The hay continues to show (almost a bale a day!), so they aren't too distressed.

Eating is a huge part of their day

I was curious about how Tiny would feel about having something cinched around her, since she can be goosey about some things--she didn't even bat an eye at the bareback pad.  It'll still be a long while before she's ready for anything serious, but I think she'll be easy when it's time. 

Where you going, carrot lady?

Why you on that side of the corral?

I've also noticed both Chev and Tiny's hoof soles have been shedding like crazy.  Chev has finally shed enough sole that her bare feet are starting to look normal.  The impacted bars have shed, and she only has a little old sole still stuck by her toe area.  Doesn't her foot look great? 

Chev left front (more pancake, previously bad) foot, 7/19/12--it just looks comfortable!

Here's how her hoof looked before on 5/9/12 and 5/12/12, a little more than 2 months ago:

Narrow frog which has now widened, impacted bars (look how far forward the heel buttress is!), and TONS of sole!  It looks very painful to me, not at all the feet she has today.

I am really looking forward to Chev's old farrier working on her feet again.  I don't think I've ever seen her move more soundly than she does now, and she's obviously very happy with her hooves even though they are chipped here and there.  I'm sure he'll be able to get them balanced and shaped just right.  This climate though has been awesome for rehabbing to barefoot, and I hope they'll stay nice when we move back to the soggy PNW!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A night of cellphone photos

This is the most I've seen the girls move in at least a month!  Chev is a LOT faster than Tiny ('course her legs are twice as long)...but isn't that picture of them drinking together adorable?

What do you love?

It's time to get back to what this blog is about:  Horses.  I love 'em.  I know that whole "student of the horse" thing is a little corny, but heck, it's true and it's just how I feel.

I just got done watching the Buck movie again (because it's a brilliant way to put off packing!).

There's a part of the movie that I really loved. 

Buck is standing there with a mecate (a twisted horsehair rope) strung from his hand to the hand of a volunteer.

He starts by telling the guy that's he's going to put about 20 pounds of pressure on the rope, like you would do to take a hold on a horse's bridle rein.  "Don't let me pull it out of your hands," he says.

He starts by taking a firm, tactful hold on his end of the rope, and applying steady pressure until he reaches 20 pounds.  The volunteer reacts by calmly adjusting to the pressure.

Buck does this a couple of times, both parties are calm, and no one is upset.

Then Buck jerks his end of the rope to get up to the same amount of pressure.  The poor guy flinches, braces, and is almost pulled off his feet.

After just a couple times of this, the volunteer is really on edge.  After just a couple of times of Buck yanking the rope, the guy is flinching every time Buck even picks up the other end of the rope.

He just can't help himself.

And for God's sakes, neither can your horse!

I remember I had a trainer back when I was young who had a huge impact on me.

She was a highly skilled woman, with a Dressage background and an understanding of the nonverbal.

She was always telling me to "tactfully take up the reins".

I heard that so many times that it became entirely engrained in me.  I think every time I take hold of the reins, I hear her in the back of my head.

The demonstration Buck gave illustrates her point exactly.  There are always a lot of ways to get something done, but it should always be done with tact.

If you need to take hold of the reins (and we all do, sometimes in less-than-ideal circumstances), you have a choice.

You can do it tactfully, or not.

And boy, you can sure tell a horse who hasn't been handled tactfully!  Just like the poor guy in the demonstration, it only takes a couple of hard yanks to change the whole body and attitude of the horse.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Countdown to leaving

I am t-minus 9 days until I ship all my things but the essentials back to Oregon, and 13 days until the horses ship out.  It's 14 days until I pack up the kitties, my houseplants, and my suitcase, say goodbye to the man I love, and head West again.

Will it be goodbye forever?  Fourteen days of tears surprising me on and off every day, wondering if I'm doing the right thing.  Two weeks to question if I'm making a big mistake--but I guess that's what making big changes is about.  It's too late to change my mind again.  And I do feel that it is time to go home.

Yesterday the vet came out to do vaccinations for the girls, check them out and write up health certificates.  He took a look again at Tiny's jaw lump, and was perplexed to see the same thing sprouting on the other side.  I'm convinced they're "teething bumps".  With her itty bitty head, she has less room for teeth to come in.  He declared her fit for travel in two weeks and asked that I send him an email after she saw my vet back home.  There's a traveling dental specialist in Washington who can see her if need be.

I am having a really hard time.  Some moments feel like nothing could ever be different than it is right now--I make my coffee in the morning and eat my toast, sit in my favorite chair and watch the cats do whatever it is they do, just like any other day.  But now everything has a countdown.  Is this the last day I drive by that house?  The last time I hear a Wyoming thunderstorm?  I don't remember the last time I drank from my favorite cup before I packed it away, and so many other things.  Everything seems important.

It's almost like what happens when you lose someone: somehow everything somehow relates to the day they died, which becomes the center of your universe.  That bill I paid, it was before.  This moment, is after.  But the waiting is worse, knowing the end is coming--and that I caused it--and not having a clue how to face it when the moment to leave finally arrives.