Tuesday, January 05, 2010

my kind of new year's resolution

This popped into my mailbox today via Sue Ivy's wonderful Quote and Kaleidoscope of the day, which you can sign up for on her lovely blog:

Forget the resolutions. Forget control and discipline...too much work. Instead try experimenting. Go in search of something to fall in love with.

- Dale Dauten

Monday, January 04, 2010

wonderful Sylvia Loch newsletter on rollkur

I highly recommend going here and downloading Sylvia Loch's new newsletter which focuses on rollkur.

Sylvia's ongoing work against this issue and toward riding with lightness and kindness is a shining beam of light - let's not forget to support the folks who offer better ways for horses by buying and reading their books, attending their clinics, and requesting them as speakers and clinicians whenever possible.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

time to put the pressure on World Horse Welfare

Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare had this to say on rollkur in today's Guardian article:

"In the right hands it is a valuable training method, and it cannot make a horse's tongue go blue, no matter what people seem to think," said Roly Owers, of the World Horse Welfare charity.

"Current rules do not allow prolonged or extensive use of rollkur. However, the incident has brought into focus that issues need to be ironed out. I wouldn't like a ban, as the method will simply be used albeit not in public. It will go underground.

"I don't think that people inside the sport realise the strength of feeling that is out there. There has been quite a phenomenal reaction to this, and clearly we want to see the Olympics bring more people into equestrian sports, not drive them away."

It's time to contact Mr. Owers at World Horse Welfare and ask him to support his above statement with facts, to offer a more complete statement on what rollkur does to horses psychologically and physically, and to provide details on any research and investigation the World Horse Welfare organization has done to look into this issue.

You can write, telephone, or email here.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

donkeys gone wild, part ... what number are we on now?

We are having the first few days of a long cold week here on November Hill. It was frigid today (for us) and the forecast for the wee hours coming up are 2 degrees with wind chill factor!

Needless to say, horses were in blankets today and spent much of their time quietly munching hay and standing with blanketed butts to the wind. Salina was happy to get her whinny warmers on this morning - keep those knees toasty.

My husband informed me when we were out getting the barn set up for the evening that two young donkeys have been UNBUCKLING Salina's blanket with their teeth! And they have actually managed to get one of her buckles undone. I know Redford is not fond of the blankets, which I think seem big and scary to him when they're going on and off the horses.

Right now they're all closed up in the barn with blankets off for a few hours. I like to give them some time each day w/o the blankets - so we can check everyone over, and so they can lay down and sleep if they want to w/o any constraint.

When they get dinner tubs blankets will go back on and they'll have access to paddocks again. I think tonight and tomorrow will be the worst of the cold week - keeping fingers crossed this is the worst week of this winter.

Stay warm, everyone.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year - 2010!

Yesterday late in the afternoon my children took over at the barn so I could stay inside and start preparations for our New Year's Eve supper. The fog began to roll in, but in the house, the twinkling white lights around the living room and dining room kept me company. For once, the timing of the meal was perfect. Everything was done at the same time, literally as the garage door hummed open and husband arrived home from work.

The horses were set up until their suppertime at 9, candles were lit on the table, and dinner was ready.

The menu:

butternut squash and mushroom lasagna
brie-stuffed mushrooms
tiny filet mignons
green salad with croutons and balsamic viniagrette
French bread with parmesan/romano and italian herbs
champagne with a splash of pomegranate juice

I never managed to get dessert made, but we enjoyed the meal and it was a wonderful treat that the timing worked so perfectly. I was most proud of the fact that not only did I get the meal made, I also cleaned the kitchen as I went! There wasn't much work to do when we were done.

I rang in the New Year watching my beloved equines out the back door. At midnight it was very foggy out, and the only evidence of the blue moon was the ethereal blue tint to the sky. (although I know the term "blue moon" doesn't mean the moon is literally blue, it almost seemed it was last night, in the light it cast)

The arena light filters through fog to a pinkish color, and as the fireworks began in the distance, the backdrop to the barn was a misty, swirling sea of pink light.

I called out to the horses that the new year was here, and that's what the noise was about. They had Rescue Remedy in water buckets, and instead of going out to stand with them, I decided to stay on the back deck and watch them sort out the activity.

After a minute or so of fireworks, Cody, the lowest herd member, marched out from the barn. He headed straight down the paddock, into the darkness. Like an advance soldier checking for danger, his job in the herd is to go out ahead of the others. He does this so well.

In another moment, the pony advanced halfway down the paddock, backing Cody up. Cody was in the darkness, completely out of my sight, but the pony was in perfect silhouette, standing square and tall, ears pricked forward, alert to whatever message Cody gave him.

In another few moments Salina emerged on her side of the barn. She was flanked by her donkeys, who went out a few feet ahead of her and stood at the edge of the grass paddock, pointed in the same direction as Cody and the pony. Salina was an inky black shadow mare, alert and yet calm.

Finally, Keil Bay sauntered out. He, being the herd leader, only went as far as the gate that separates the two paddocks, maybe 5 feet from the barn. He looked out into the darkness but then turned to me, and I called out that it was okay.

They stayed that way for an hour or so, and they were so much in control (no running around, no blowing or snorting, nothing but a keen alertness to the night) that I actually went to bed.

Our little neighborhood was dark and quiet, the horses flanked in their instinctive, perfect herd order, and the night was swirly and pink and blue, magical and mystical and full of peace.

This morning, they have all turned out to the front field, and Salina just rolled in the mud. More on this in another post, but she got her kinesiology testing done recently and is on a 7-week course of herbs, and she is doing fantastically well. It's such a relief to all of us to see her moving and exhibiting her in-charge spirit.

Husband has just called out that he is making chocolate chip pancakes before he goes kayaking for an hour. Bed linens are in the wash, cats are marching around the house, horses and donkeys are munching hay in the field, and it's already a good start to a bright new year.