Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Feb. 2 -3, 2013

Here are this weekend's horse activities.  We have a show in the southern part of our area, and a health clinic to the north.  Good stuff. 

Also, you may have noticed that I have changed the look of the BIG calendar to provide an easy-to-view and more consistent format.  I hope you like it!

Oh, and I'm now on Twitter (link upper right).  I'm not quite sure how to go about "tweeting," but I'm giving it a shot, so go ahead and  "follow" me on Twitter, and you can watch me stumble around with it.

Have a great weekend with your horse!

Feb. 2: Childhood Memories before Disney-- Passport Horse Shows, Birchtown Stables, Inc., 115 Birchtown Drive, Clifford Township, PA 18421 Great For Beginners and Green Horses! Start ~ $10 Class. Judges: TBA; Show Manager : Jessica Polednak, 570-241-5195; Facebook: Birchtown Stables Horse Shows.

Feb. 2 Genesee Valley Equine Clinic, Winter Horse Health Seminar, Wheatland-Chili High School 940 North Road, Scottsville, NY 14546, 8-noon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Jan. 26-27

It's rare that you'll hear me say this, but THANK GOODNESS there are no events for this coming weekend.  


But if you DO venture out on your pony, I recommend you ride bareback to keep your nether parts warm, use Toasti-Toes in your boots, add extra layers, heavy gloves, winter riding boots, double socks, a face mask, a face mask on your horse, and...Oh, forget it!  Just give your horses extra hay, check that they have fresh water and then stay inside!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tentative Steps

Those are some serious snarls.
Last Monday I saw my surgeon for a post-surgery check-up.   He was pleased with the strength and flexibility of leg and knee that are housing his handiwork: a reconstructed ACL.  It was obvious that I have been working hard at my rehab.

Always flattering, Dr. Rouse told me, “You put the 16-year-olds to shame.”

Hot damn! 
That's better.
Armed with that compliment, I took my first tentative steps back into the barn and to my horses. 

Please note that I’m still in negotiations with my husband about doing actual barn work, and about riding.  My surgeon gave me some specific instructions on what to do and what not to do IF I rode, but my husband is still pushing back hard on the idea that I should be getting on a horse. 

"Get off my neck!"                 "No!"
That aside, this week, the vet and I visited Stormkite, who is in training in Greene, and who was showing some stiffness after about 6 weeks of regular work.  Fortunately, it looks like this issue is due mostly to his being so out of shape, and I’m expecting that he should be fine as he becomes more fit.

While I didn’t work him for the vet (I asked the trainer to do that), I did handle him for the follow-up work, which included a Coggins blood draw and rabies shot, and dental work to remove the sharp points from his teeth.

Honestly, managing a pushy horse felt a little scary, as I’m still conscious of the state of my new ACL, which is in a very weak point in the regeneration time line.  But all went well, and the last time I saw Stormkite, he was still rather stoned from the dental anesthesia.

That looks like a very chilly mattress.
Back at home yesterday, the southern winds brought us a warm day after some biting cold, and I went up to the barn for a visit with our three mares, Hudson, Starlight and DeCato.  Hudson, my old friend of 10 years, remained somewhat aloof in my presence, but by contrast, Starlight seemed to be delighted to see me and wanted to be near me, to secure all of my attention for herself. 

I had to work at DeCato’s mane, because it held several serious dreadlocky snarls, and Starlight kept slipping her face over DeCato’s neck, trying in her sweet, fuzzy-muzzled way to get that brush over to HER neck.
The ewes greet my return with their usual suspicion.

I have to admit, I need to give my ligament two months post surgery before I start to get serious around the horses, but getting my fingers in their thick, warm coats again sure feels good!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Events, Jan 19 - 22, 2013

It may be chilly January, but we have a couple of hot activities for all of those horse nuts out there in the Twin Tiers.  Michelle LaBarre offers her dressage expertise, with auditors welcome.  Then you can partake of a class on identifying lameness.  Good stuff!

I hope you have a great weekend with your pony!

Jan. 19 – 20: Michelle LaBarre Dressage Clinic - Black Points Farm, Honeoye Falls, NY. For info about Michelle, To ride in the clinic, contact Mary Delton at Auditors welcome.  

Jan. 22: Genesee Valley Equine Clinic short course - Short Course on Pinpointing Lameness, 7-9 pm by Kathleen McCarthy, DVM Cost: $8.00 per person. For info about the course and directions, go to, or call (585) 889-1170 to reserve your spot.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Vist to the Work House

I visited Stormkite yesterday for the first time since my knee surgery.  His trainer, Ashley Haffey at Lane Cove Dressage in Greene, NY, had put him in the indoor arena before I arrived, to give him a chance to stretch out before work.
Learning to stand at the mounting block.

When I walked in, he was looking over the gate.  

"Stormkite!" I said.  

"Amy!" he said.  

Well, no, he didn't, actually.  But it seemed like he did. He definitely recognized me.

He was probably surprised to see me there.  Maybe had decided he would never see me again.  Who knows?  

From his perspective, first his big sister, Dee, went away with me in the trailer and never came home.  Several months later, I put him in the trailer and took him to a strange new place, and who should be there, but Dee!  Then I disappeared for a month, only to reappear suddenly on this unseasonably warm Saturday in January.   

Ashley showed me how he has progressed, longeing him and doing some stretches, then riding him at a walk and trot.  His pasture-puff body is still not in riding shape, and he is learning to balance with a rider as he makes circles around cones.

He was a very good boy as he showed off for me, carrying Ashley and listening to her commands so diligently that at one point when she said, "HO-ho," asking him to stop, he halted so abruptly he made us both laugh. 
Walk on.

He's got "whoa."
At the moment, Stormkite and my husband are the only ones in our family doing any work at all.  The mares and I are all just lounging around, waiting for my knee to heal

Stormkite has come a long way since I dropped him off in December, and this is just the beginning for him.  I hope this is the start of many years of a good and productive life for this sweet and bratty little paint horse.   

Striving for balance at the trot.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Twin Tiers Activities, Jan. 12-13, 2012

The only event I know about for this weekend is the unseasonably warm weather event!  It would be a great weekend for a ride on the roads.  

Whatever you do, have a great time with your wooly ponies!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Touching a Horse

The most kissable nose.
I touched a horse on Thursday.  

I have been forbidden from entering the stable.  Not by my doctor or my physical therapist, but by my husband.  He’s not being mean.  He just knows that in a stable, things happen fast, and my newly reconstructed ACL cannot handle the sudden impact caused by a panicked horse.

No, I have no reason to think my horses will panic, but they are horses, and they manage to do things that you don’t expect, usually at the worst times.  Involving high speeds and sudden impacts.

My favorite shot of DeCato in the snow.
Until Thursday, pretty much the only contact I had with my horses since December 11 was on the day my husband drove me up to the paddock in the car so I could open the window and SEE Hudson, Starlight and DeCato.  No touching!

Actually, that was the day when I noticed that their hooves needed a trim, and that led me to actually touching them on Thursday.

I normally trim their hooves, and have for several years.  I’m self-taught, but have received feedback along the way from farriers and vets, and so I know I’m doing pretty well with them.

Before surgery, I was in an incredible state of action.  We were working so hard and fast to get things ready for my extended disability, and I just didn’t get those hooves trimmed before I went under the knife.
Remembering a July swim.
Dan Rossiter to the rescue!   

He’s an Athens-based farrier and he not only was willing to come up and give them a trim, knowing that I will go back to doing them myself, but he also gave me lots of advice and tips on each of my mares as he worked, and that was great.  And he did an excellent job, so all-in-all, a fantastic farrier experience!

But, since I am still not “allowed” in the stable, I stayed outside the fence, hovering helplessly and anxiously, while my friend Trish held the horses.  It was freakin’ cold, and we don’t have stalls, so she had to tie those who weren’t being worked on, and all together, she went above and beyond the call of duty.

One of the best views there is -- anyplace, from your horse's back.
Not to mention that Burdock, the cat, decided he would climb out on the barn rafters and menace everyone from above.  Since I know he jumps on horses’ backs from the ground, I was quite concerned that he would jump on them from above, causing the exact kind of panic that I mentioned.  I did at one point, get him down by going to the front of the barn, calling and feeding him, but apparently that action, in itself, caused a bit of panic in the stable.   And his absence only lasted as long as the food, and then he was back in the rafters 

Goes places he shouldn't
And also DeCato, the least handled of my horses, objected to being tied by trying to eat the barn, starting with the two-by-four to which she was tied.  She also pawed quite a bit, at one point actually stretching out both front hooves at once, pawing with each, looking more like a playful dog than a horse.  I must say, I haven’t seen a horse do that before. 

And then there was Webbly, the ram.  He decided it was a good time to arbitrarily slam his head into the sheep hutch, rearing up and ramming it repeatedly with his big, curling horns. 

So, there were distractions a'plenty during this appointment.  And Trish is probably hoping I’m back in the stable by the time my horses are needing a trim again, at least to hold them.
Thanks again, Trish!

Before and after the trim, I got to put my hands on my horses’ fuzzy winter faces, and I planted many a kiss on Starlight’s soft nose, since she seemed to like that, or at least didn’t object.  
I ram.
There was a point when the horses had followed Dan and Trish elsewhere and were watching them intently.  But then Starlight suddenly looked around and saw me still standing down below, and she hustled back down for more loving, followed by DeCato and then Hudson.  Hudson was less interested in affection than the other two, but I was happy to have them all come back down and see me.

I think they must wonder where I have been, and will I be back? And why are these other people doing what I normally do?  And where is Stormkite?  (Stormkite and I disappeared from their presence at approximately the same time, I to go to surgery, he to go to training.)

It was a brief exchange for us, but rewarding for me, leaving me longing to get back out there, bury my fingers in their warm, thick coats, groom them, saddle them up, and go for a ride on the snowy hill.

The snow may be gone when I actually get back on, so, until then, I’ll be riding through it in my dreams

Friday, January 4, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Jan. 5, 2012

We have our first horse activity for 2013!  

If you need your horse event fix, head south to Birchtown and check out the show!  And let me know how it is, since I haven't gotten there yet.

Have fun with your ponies this weekend.  Anyone sleighing?

January 5 - Packing for a Safari-- Passport Horse Shows
Birchtown Stables, Inc., 115 Birchtown Drive, Clifford Township, PA 18421.

Great For Beginners and Green Horses!  

11:00am Start ~ $10 Class. Judges: TBA;  

Show Manager : Jessica Polednak, 570-241-5195; Facebook: Birchtown Stables Horse Shows.