Thursday, May 22, 2014

celebrating with Big Bay

I've been focusing on the anniversary of Salina's death this month, and missing her, and getting stuck a little bit in my obsessing over Keil Bay (who is 25 now) and fretting over him on a near-daily basis.

Keil is sound and healthy but he has white hairs around his eyes, silver hairs in his mane, tail, and forelock, and he has an off day now and then. Under saddle we warm up more slowly and for a longer time. And I'm discovering I can make fretting a full-time occupation if that's what I choose to do.

Yesterday it was Keil Bay's turn to get his hooves trimmed. My husband and I are doing it now, minimally, since the areas of stone and hard ground and our arena serve as huge trimming tools and I am seeing how healthy the hooves are when they trim naturally. No soreness after the trims, no flat soles. I certainly won't hesitate to call our trimmer if I feel we need her, but for now, this is working really well.

We do clean up the rough edges, though, and this week it seems like the summer hoof growing season kicked in because all the big boys and even the donkeys to a lesser degree, were self-trimming like crazy and the hoof walls were looking a bit too ragged for my taste. 

Husband and I went to the grass paddock and started working on Keil Bay. We were immediately surrounded by the pony and the donkeys, to the degree that trimming was nearly impossible, so we moved with Keil to the front field. 

He fussed about the hoof stand so we moved it to the side and did the trimming with his feet propped on husband's leg. By the third hoof he was licking and chewing. I don't know if it was the attention, the trimming itself, or just pure contentment, but it was lovely. The sun was low in the sky, the heat was fading, and although we were sweating a bit, it was a shared moment of love and affection and cooperation.

When he was done with his trims I pulled his Summer Whinnys up (these are wonderful white leggings that keep the flies off - he loves wearing them this time of year) and spritzed him with the fly spray concoction I mix up (no chemicals, smells good, seems to feel good to him when I spray it on) and removed his halter. 

My husband opened the gate back to the grass paddock and barn and I watched as Keil Bay turned, power trotted through, then broke into a gorgeous canter which he did right through the barn aisle to the barnyard on the other side.

Husband asked, "Was that good or bad?"

And I said "Great."

These moments when Keil shows me that he is 25 years young are priceless. I seize onto them and feel like baking a cake and lighting candles and saying happy day! Happy day with the Big Handsome Bay!

My challenge with him is to celebrate the good days and not focus on the number of years old he is. To listen to him if he needs special care but to also listen to him when he says "I'm 25 and I'm sound and I'm still powerful and brilliant and perfectly capable of behaving like a 5-year old!"

I hear you, Bay, I do.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May column: Anniversary of the Passing of a Goddess

I hope you'll stop by and read, and comment too. 

I miss her still.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

May days

I'm finding it hard to believe May is here already. We've had horses in the backyard grazing down the grass (they mow for me in 3 shifts and all are perfectly willing to work overtime!!), we'll soon be moving the grass paddock fencing to encompass the entire side and front yards of our house (that grass is now almost chest deep to Keil Bay, imagine their delight when we open it up to them!), all the trees are fully leafed out now which means our privacy is back (in other words, we can't see the road, much less the neighbors across the lane), and I am riding with Keil's Quiet Ride mask due to yellowish-orange biting creatures as well as those nasty little midges.

Because of those midges the herd has chosen to stay in the barn with their fans on more days than not the past couple of weeks, and I am using fly spray and various other ointments as well as the full-blown Kellon cocktail of chondroitin, spirulina, and ground flax to keep insect bite reactions to a minimum.

The ride time around here has shifted officially as of this morning. Still very nice temp-wise in the early mornings, and, before the insects come out, it's the perfect time to ride. This morning Keil Bay and I went in the arena and I left the back gate open. He heads straight for the back gate when he's had enough of the arena sun, and that is fine with me. There is nothing better than marching around the back field on Keil Bay.

Writing-wise, I am 15k words into my second novel this year. My goal is to write four first drafts by the end of September so that I can then turn to editing in the fall/early winter. So far I have completed Clairette, a short story; claire-voyant, the third novel in the Claire Quartet; and now I am four chapters in with claire-de-lune, the final Claire Quartet title. The key is writing 5-7 pages a day, no matter what. The REAL key is not letting that time get shoved right off the end of the table with all the other things I have going on. It's not that the time isn't there - it's that I have to actively prioritize my daily writing. (and my daily riding)

In other news, my son is coming home for two weeks! So I'm looking forward to spending time with him enjoying his all-too-brief visit. He is going back to school to do a research job with one of his physics professors and is also taking two classes in summer school. 

I hope everyone is having spring weather by now - without the crazy severe weather of the past few weeks. We had a few dicey days and I'm glad we made it through with no problems. 

Happy May!