Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ready for my closeup

I haven't seen a praying mantis around the barn in ages. We used to see them all the time.

Contrary to popular belief the ladies don't always eat their mate after "doing the deed". They only do that 16 percent of the time.

This guy was really very friendly.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


The annual Polo in the Country match was last Sunday. The hunt club is well known in these parts and we always look forward to the annual polo match. It was a positively perfect day. Warm in the sun. Cool in the shade. Dry. Breezy. Sky filled with fair weather clouds.

Our tailgate is getting better every year! While not hardly award winning we got some nice remarks.

And nobody went hungry!

I love this picture from a nearby table. He's ready. Just in case she drops something!

Normally this is a friendly game that nobody really takes seriously. That remained the case however there was some real action on the field this year with both teams playing some real polo.

I think just about everybody's in on this! You can see the ball there right below the grey horse's right front foot. There are 6 players on the field. Three from each team. And a referee.

The half time events begin with the hounds making a couple of laps around the field. Everybody loves the hounds.

On a couple of occasions we've had some hounds pass our barn running a little off course. Did you know the Huntmaster runs the hounds almost every single day?!

I saved the best for last. Dressage is very popular here (the Charles River Dressage Association is also nearby) and the half time festivities typically include a dressage demonstration.

This year Heather Blitz did the dressage demo. And the best show was out back. Warming up. I like "performances" as much as the next guy but I *always* drift out to the warm up area to see people really do their work.

I'm not sure who this horse is. I think his name is Legato. He's 16 years old and I think he's a Hanoverian. And he's..."distracted".

Edit: Yes, this is Legato, a Grand Prix Hanoverian belonging to Rowan O'Riley.

And here. Mounting up. Things are...going...wrong.

Uh oh

Now, I'm not at all amused watching riders in challenging situations.'s see riders at this level dealing with these things too. And of course it's a good time to learn things.

And what do you suppose she did with this?

She bailed! And. She did. Groundwork.

Which is *exactly* what I would have done, and have done, more times than I can count. It was quite fascinating to watch her work. This was great stuff. After lungeing for a few minutes she started to focus him on her and then focus on his work. She worked him for about 10 minutes and then walked him down around the trailers that were distracting. We call that "go say hi!" around our barn.

Her demonstration fell apart in a couple of places. But her mount was having a meltdown. I wouldn't have gotten on him!

As always. It was a really fun day.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Costa Rica maybe?

Our empty nesters have left the building.

All the swallow nests are empty - I suppose I should count them!

It's been *awfully* quiet around here lately. Barn Swallows have so much to say! You get used to them *constantly* yakking away in the background.

This year the swallows left on the 26th of August. A couple of days later than last year. Just a couple of nests had late summer babies and they had to fledge before they could leave.

Who knows. They're probably off to Costa Rica. It's not really Fall yet but I know Winter will be here before we know it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

In the weeds

Two posts in August?! That might be a personal record. It's not like nothing was going on. Quite the contrary, actually. For the most part the weather was positively stellar. For a couple of weeks every day just sparkled. Sunny. Dry. Breezy. Fair weather clouds. Cool at night.

Acres and acres of goldenrod

The weather was apparently perfect for goldenrod. We have acres of goldenrod, much of it 6 feet high. I haven't seen it quite like this before. Even though it's just a weed it's all very pretty. Be careful though! There are *tons* of bees out here.

We follow deer trails in the woods all the time. I was rather amused to find that, with our down time through June and July, the deer started following some of *our* trails!

It's a little hard to see there. That freshly trampled brush. We haven't been through here in 2 months! Our trail goes off to the right. The dark shadow between L's ears. That's our trail.

And then here! Weeks later. That's a deer bed deep in the brush.

The flattened brown grass there. Deer have been sleeping out here. We later found a spot out there with what had to be 4 or 5 beds. Apparently a small herd had been sleeping out there. There are I think 3 herds on the property.

I'm reminded of one of our first milestones 7 or 8 years ago. During our first few weeks moving out of the ring. I had L doing her big trot out in one of the fields when we spooked a herd of deer out from some brush. The deer just exploded out of this huge clump of brush. They went every which way. We almost ran over one of them. L screeched to a halt, stood up straight, spun around, stopped and looked at me over her shoulder with this "Holy crap did you see that?!" expression. I thought that was a pretty level headed reaction for a 5 year old with hardly a handful of trips outside the ring.

This might very well be my "Picture of Summer 2013".

15 August 2013 5:25 pm

I've been here for many years. I walk and ride out here several times a week and it just never gets tired.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Make no mistake. I adore my L. But sometimes I have to wonder what ever possessed me to bring home a mare.

She's in heat.
Don't touch me. I mean it.

I could plainly see was in heat. Which can go any one of who knows how many ways. She might be bitchy, she might be off on another planet somewhere.

Here she was spooking at the *floor*.

I lost 9 pounds one summer weekend 6 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was showing L. Big show. It was hot. Like...100 degrees hot. And L was in heat. We were in the ring Friday night and she was all kinds of antsy. She let out a scream and I heard a stallion in the barn answer her. I'm thinking "oh crap". She starts spinning and bucking and kicking the wall and I was sure we were going to get kicked out of the ring.

Much to my complete amazement we took 3rd place in that class. I got her back into the barn and tucked her in. I peeled my shirt off and it made a loud "thwack" when it hit the floor. I sat on a milk crate mumbling something about never ever doing this again.
The next morning, gassing up the truck at 5:00 am someone even called over to me and said "whoa, you sure got a workout last night didn't you!". Yes I did. I lost 9 pounds that weekend.
Geldings *never* do that. I've had two geldings and in all the years we were together I don't think either one of them ever so much as gave me a dirty look.

Oh. Her hormones settled and later that weekend we got ourselves some blue ribbons to bring home.

Mares have a *lot* of personality. I think I can pretty much count on L giving me her "you've got a lot of nerve!" look almost daily.

And mares tend to be ..oh...busy. Sleep in the barn sometime. They make a *lot* of noise. Doing things like ...this:

Here. This better depicts the product of their shenanigans:

L's little sister in the adjacent stall was thumping the wall and somehow got that board to pop. So all the other boards over it slipped down the wall. Just on that one end. I'd really love to know what they're thinking sometimes.
It was a real stinker fixing that, btw. This is what it's supposed to look like.

And I just love this little piece of handiwork:

No that's not a big cartoon mouse hole

You know what that's for? It's obvious! It's there so L and her little sister can peek at each other. And scream and kick the walls. I don't know which one of them made the hole.

Mares make things so much more ...interesting. Seriously though - they're not for everybody and you have to think about that if you're going to have a mare in your life.

Look what popped up the manure pile!

The bees were all over it. Bees love sunflowers. It was a cheerful thing to have around while it lasted.
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