Friday, March 26, 2010

more celebrations, or perhaps spring fever

Yesterday was a lovely day at the barn. Keil and I finally got to try out the new saddle pad. Initially he snorted at it (the Big Bay tends to snort at new things in general - he likes his routine) but once allowed to investigate it at close range he decided it was fine. When placed on his back, he realized one of the benefits of the thing - sheepskin!

He bobbed his head one time in approval and I continued tacking up. When it was time to mount, we went through a couple of cycles of practicing standing still, and when I got to the point of weighting the stirrup he realized another benefit of the lush pad. Bobbed his head one time and stood still for mounting.

All the gates were open for our ride and we had fun walking the arena and then taking a random open gate out into the various spaces. We mostly walked, since we both need some conditioning, but as we worked on that, we did some sitting trot in a few places when fine-tuning the light cues. (using Jane Savoie's method that works so well)

What I've read about the Thinline pad is true. That foam piece does indeed make a difference. It was easier to sit the trot. Keil moved forward and did happy snorts. We had a good ride.  I had dreaded taking the pad off, especially this time of year, thinking it would be dirty and harder to keep clean than a regular cotton pad - but alas, the amount of dust was minimal and it brushed right off the sheepskin.

Keil Bay got a half cup of oats and then hung his head over the gate when I turned him out. He often doesn't want to disconnect when we finish our rides, and it's been awhile, so it was especially nice to share that last few moments of connection before he turned and wandered to the field.  I'd spent a lot of time grooming him before riding, and even last night he still looked immaculate, with a glow about him. I think he was proud to be back in the work routine. Keil likes working, especially when it's done in the morning and he knows he's done for the day!

It's a pleasure to have a horse who can go off work and come back to it with such good spirit and behavior. I was reminded again - he IS my dream horse.

After this particularly peaceful, satisfying morning, you may wonder why I'm referencing spring fever in the title.

At 2:30 a.m. I was awakened by my son, who had been awakened by Salina's persistent alarm whinny by the barnyard gate. (because of our stall resurfacing project, she has been temporarily displaced from my bedroom window)

I woke up husband, who went out to check, and found two donkeys who had removed the big stick I use to block the stile, gone through, and were munching happily (in the rain even) on nice green grass. Donkeys returned grudgingly to their barnyard, Salina calmed down, and everyone got a middle of the night hay refill.

This morning the first thing I saw when I opened the blinds on my bedroom window was Cody, stretching head and neck and chest over a 4-strand electric tape that is supposed to be hot. Whether it was or not, he was in full contact with two strands, eating the lushest green grass on the farm that lies on the other side.

It's obvious that fortifications are in order if we are to get through this bout of spring fever on November Hill!


Matthew said...

Fresh green grass is like a drug to them!

ponymaid said...

Clever donkey lads - operating under cover of darkness! If I were there I would have thrown caution to the wind and joined them. Jack has no caution (or rather IS a caution) and he would have encouraged any criminal activity.

billie said...

Matthew, kind of like you and cereal. :)

billie said...

Sheaffer, at least they chose the time of day when the sugar is lowest! I'm certain that was Rafer's influence. I can easily see Jack leading a donkey get-away down the lane.

Victoria Cummings said...

I love the description of your ride and time spent with your big boy. It's moments like those that make all the barn work worth it. And I also think that Salina is such a good girl to warn you when things go amiss in the barn at night. She's a treasure.

billie said...

I was thinking about Salina being a treasure last night - thinking how lost I will be without her.

Today the woman who bought Salina's last daughter emailed me to say she is selling her, and knew I would be interested.

Salina's daughter looks much like her, but she is Keil Bay's size, and she's trained through 3rd level dressage and doing very well with the movements. She sounds so much like Salina it is uncanny, and as it turns out, she has lived with two miniature donkeys and loves them!

I don't know if we can take this on right now, but from everything I've heard about this young mare, she would be the closest thing to Salina I'd ever find. And of course I'd be so curious to see if they recognized one another!

If it's meant to be, something will happen to make it possible. But it blew me away that the email came this morning, after what I was thinking last night.

CharlieHorse said...

I laughed out loud at the donkey escapades - too cute !! How wonderful it would be to reunite Salina with her daughter and how rare - I know I'm a romanticist, but I sure hope it works out !! Would be interesting to see if they DO recognize each other.

billie said...

Keil Bay has one full brother who I have been looking for over the past couple of years. They spent several years together before being trained.

Our pony has a full sister who would make a fantastic driving partner for him, and I put the word out that if she is ever for sale we would want to know.

I discovered Salina's daughter during one of my wild googling sessions. She had just sold when I got in touch with the trainer who was selling her for her owner. There were a flurry of emails back and forth as we realized that this daughter is very much like Salina, who is really a special mare. I've always attributed it to her losing her eye and traveling here from Germany but it must be more than that if she has passed it on genetically!

I'd love it if it could work. The daughter actually looks like a cross between Keil Bay and Salina.

Victoria Cummings said...

Billie - That's very exciting. I am sure that Salina will recognize her daughter. Having Silk and her daughter, SIete, is so nourishing for me and my daughter. And I know that both of my horses are more complete and calm from being with each other. In fact, this morning, I was even wondering if I should breed Siete in a couple of years just to keep the line going as Silk is going to be 22 this April. I hope you seriously consider this idea.

billie said...

Victoria, I thought of Silk and Siete as I was pondering this!

It's more a matter of finances than anything else. This mare was very expensive when she last sold, and now she has more training than she did then. I would LOVE to have her join our family and of course feel we could offer her a special and forever home - I'm just putting this out there and trusting that she will end up where she needs to be.

Of course if I had tons of available cash on hand I'd happily give it up for her! :)

CharlieHorse said...

I've no hope of finding any of Cookie's or Lady-O's families. I think this kinda sad somehow. My sister was lucky and managed to reunited her Morgan/Clydesdale mare with her just older full brother. Both are beautiful blood bays. They are so cute to watch; the brother is dotty for his sister, who is very independent and highly directive of him.
I'll help fund raise :)

billie said...

Beth, that's wonderful about your sister's brother and sister horses reuniting!

Fundraising! :) I should put a paypal button on my sidebar. LOL.