“Well, look who I ran into”
“Please,” flirted Fate, “this was meant to be.”
~ Joseph Gordon Levitt, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories
Not much happening here.
We’ve been getting the entire summer’s worth of rains in the past few days. As much as we need the moisture, I need sunshine (or at least no sky water falling) to get things done.
Hopefully we’ll get a day or two this next week, because I got 49 birds ready for freezer camp, and I ain’t doing that in the house!
Nothing like napping in the rain, butts to the wind. 😉
If I was any other kinda woman, I’d take today’s rainy day as a sign to pamper myself.
Heh. But no.
Between chores outside (because animals don’t stop needing just because of weather) and working on cleaning the house (haven’t done that in a while, because outdoor work…) I have a 5 gallon pail of ripe tomatoes my brother brought me from his garden.
He had a bumper crop and wasn’t sure what to do with them all…I said, bring ’em to me. I will most definitely use them!
So, I’ll be making some tomato sauce today.
Whilst trying to stay dry…and keeping up on the mud tracked into the house.
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~ Albert Camus
Today is the Autumn Equinox.
It’s officially Fall now.
Are you ready for winter?
We’re still not.
Between meat chickens, pigs, getting the winter’s hay and straw home, putting the garden to bed, and getting the ducks lined up for winter, it feels like there is so much to do yet.
Yes, you’re seeing that right, she’s eating hay.
Y’see, we had a very, very dry August.
The pasture that normally holds them until mid-October is pretty close to done. So, they’re on hay now. A month early.
Oh, but we’re getting rain now!
In time to make the butchering difficult to get done.
We really do need the moisture, even if the timing kinda blows.
Ahhh, farm life…an ever changing, always adapting, oh Goddess how are we gonna get it all done, kinda life.
PonyFace is still halter-less.
She hasn’t dropped any weight, and she’s been herself.
If nothing else, that makes me happy.
I feel like we’ve finally broken down that mental fence that stood between the “broken” horse and the horse who feels free to be herself.
So there is that to count as a success.
Well, we’ll get it done in time.
the glorious mess
that you are.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
It’s really just another way of saying “Embrace the Chaos”…which has become my personal motto. 😉
Can I take a minute here and thank everyone who commented on my last post?
Can I just thank you all for the supportive comments, for the understanding, for not telling me I’m an idiot?
I appreciate it.
This whole equine thing, it’s not a “one size fits all” for training and living with them.
Oh, I 100% recognize there are basics, that can be applied to just about any horse. There are also those horses who fall outside of all realm of logic…for whatever reasons they have.
Kinda like dogs. 😉
We have to listen to them, especially when they’re a wee bit damaged already.
Yes, I could have done things differently with her, of course I could have. But, would we be here, 5 days later, halter free and happy?
With me haltering her every day for a little work, then setting her free again?
I don’t know.
We’re here now, and it’s good.
So, thank you.
For sticking with us, for following along on this step of our journey, and for understanding.
That Cookie and I, we’re just going to embrace the glorious mess that we are…
Next up…full on blanketing…
Everyone has an opinion.
Some good. Some…not so much.
I listen to my horse.
The past 2 years, she’s worn a breakaway halter.
I’ve seen the images of horses who get caught up wearing a halter.
I’ve heard all the lectures.
Remember…horse people have opinions.
And, some are happy to beat you over the head with ’em.
Really, it’s no different from a horse wearing a fly mask…
Or a grazing muzzle…
Or a blanket 24/7…
But nobody lectures you or sends you shitty pictures of dead horses when you put those things on your horse.
Just when you leave a (breakaway) halter on.
Makes me a bit prickly…thorny even…when I get the unsolicited “advice”.
Thankfully, Facebook has a block feature.
My block list is a veritable “who’s who” of the local horse world.
Everyone who has decided to take it upon themselves to “educate” me, for my own good, for my horse’s good.
They’re on that block list.
Because inevitably, what began as “I’m concerned” turned into “you’re a lazy idiot” when I explain why she still wore the breakaway.
Which is hilarious.
I am anything but lazy when it comes to these horses.
You know what they say about opinions though…
For the record…
After a few months with the breakaway, the plan was to remove it.
I spent hours and hours and hours going out with a regular halter, practicing catch, love up and release.
It took time, but it was worth it.
I have exactly ZERO issues catching this horse.
And so, one day, I decided to pull off the breakaway too.
I took it off, gave her the “you’re free” command that let’s her know she can go be herself, and walked out of the pasture.
That was just about a year and a half ago…
She followed me to the gate.
She tried to come out the gate with me.
When the gate was closed and I walked to the house, she ran to the back fence.
She whinnied again…and again…and again…
She ran that fence line, back and forth, working up a lather, calling the whole time.
It was ugly. And sad. And it broke my heart to see.
It went on for nearly a week.
Her coat got dull.
She wasn’t eating.
She was constantly pacing the fence line.
She was getting ribby.
I did what any sane person would do in an insane position…
I put the damn breakaway back on her.
And then we worked her way back to her healthy, fat as a tick, self.
Because the second I had that crown of leather over her ears, she relaxed…
I have, in all my life, never, ever heard of a horse acting like this.
There is no precedent to follow, no training to use, no expert to help.
We were flying blind here, and I had to, simply put, listen to my horse.
Now, roughly a year and a half later, we’ve tried again.
After months (nigh onto years) of catch, love up and release.
I think, I hope, I pray to Epona…
This time, I think it has worked.
We started out with her white leather halter going overtop…
Then, I undid the crown of the breakaway and dropped it.
Finally, I pulled the rest of it out and dropped it on the ground…
While wearing her white leather, I groomed her, cleaned her feet out, rubbed her down with bug juice…
And then came the moment of truth:
And this morning?
A nickered greeting when I came out on the deck, she trotted over for her halter to go on for grooming(and a whole lotta loving ❤ ), and a relaxed, calm demeanor when I removed the halter again.
So far, so good.
She is as normal as she’s ever going to be.
That’s just fine with me.
Our musical inspiration for the day and this post: