Thursday, July 29, 2010

back to some work

After our huge rains on Tuesday, and yesterday's drying out and return to "normal" summer weather, the slightly cooler evening seemed like a great time to get back into some work with the horses. I noticed the forecast is predicting lows in the upper 60s again, instead of the mid-70s, and there's something about that shift that makes me realize there will of course be an end to the heat.

Given we have been, including the equines, simply existing the past few weeks, I decided to just do some walking on the ground with Keil Bay in the arena. But first, we took Salina and the donkeys in and while Salina had a walk with my husband to stretch her legs and get her joints warmed up, I pulled grass (the arena is undergoing a transformation - going green! - kept company by Rafer Johnson and Redford. I think they thought I was doing my own version of grazing but Rafer looked at me like I had truly gone crazy when I tossed my harvest over the arena fence into the woods.

We finished up picking feet and applying some ointment to frogs.

The geldings had gone out to the front field earlier, but came marching up to see what we were doing. My daughter grabbed a handful of alfalfa pellets, divided them between herself, my husband, and me, and we proceeded to invite the geldings in for a walk. Keil Bay had to be rewarded for the first three big steps out of his stall and into the arena. It was approaching dinner tub time, and this is not the normal routine, so he was not amused at my timing. But he couldn't ignore the possibility of a few pellets. He first turned himself nearly in half but once he took the first real step it was pretty quick moving from stall to arena.

My daughter was walking with her pony, and my husband with Cody. It was dark and the arena light is in the phase it gets to before it needs to be replaced - still bright enough to see by, but definitely dimmer than usual. It's actually pretty nice having it dimmer - it has a pinkish cast that makes the arena seem slightly surreal.

All I wanted to do with Keil Bay was get back into the arena, do some big walk strides together, and get him to connect with me as a partner. The first few minutes he was walking for the pellets, not able to contain himself from going to my hand, and paying more attention to my hand than to me. We worked through this. After just a bit of time he stopped caring so much about the pellets and we were just walking, turning, stopping, and then I asked him to move his haunches away from me a few times in both directions.

Once we were working together easily and smoothly, we stopped and he got the rest of the pellets all at once. Daughter did some nice work with her pony - she ended up hopping on him and worked on walking and halting, which was something considering there were two other people in the arena with hands full of pellets!

Cody was his usual quiet, respectful self, although he did try to leave husband at one point to come join Keil Bay and me - sometimes I work with both of them together that way and he enjoys being part of a two-horse team, I think.

So - we're over the little slump now and if the weather will cooperate, I'm going to do a little more each day (or night) and aim for actual tack in a week or so.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad to hear you're temps are cooling down. Ours were for a few days but it's humid and raining today.

It sounds like you all had a good night in the arena. I'm sure the donkey boys think you ARE crazy,to their way of thinking no sane person throws good grass into the woods.

billie said...

Arlene, it was too funny - Rafer was right beside me, shoulder to shoulder, and doing his own "grazing" - it was clear he was enjoying the fact that we were doing the same thing, together, and while I wasn't using my teeth or eating what I picked, he seemed very happy that I had finally come to my senses and discovered the wealth of grass to be had!

And so when I stood up and tossed, he actually did look up at me like "what in the world are you thinking?"

The more time I spend with donkeys, the more I think retirement homes for people should also be donkey sanctuaries. I see such potential in that pairing up of demeanor and wisdom.

Valentino said...

So happy we both finally got a break in the weather so we could get back to work. And I agree with Rafer. You should know better than to throw aside perfectly good grass :)

Billie - I have a question for you that I would like to send via email, regarding your last post. Here's my addy: if this would be alright. If not - no hard feelings. Thanks :)

ponymaid said...

Billie, we donkeys do love doing things "en famille". A herd of mixed species, interacting together, gives us a very warm and secure feeling. As for throwing away perfectly good grass, well, Herself does that also and although I can't understand it on any level, I know there must be some bizarre reasoning behind it. Or I hope there is and that it is not just random insanity. I know exactly the look Rafer gave you...

billie said...

V, it felt so good out today - although 90, there is a coolish breeze blowing, which is what I call a truly nice summer's day!

billie said...

Sheaffer, I knew you would recognize "the look." None of the equines here seem to have a bit of problem with the jungle of grass we seem to be growing - it's a very green, verdant year on November Hill. Beautiful, but chore-making, and girth-widening for some of us...!!