They Don’t Need to Understand

Horse people.
Everyone has an opinion.
Some good. Some…not so much.
Me?
I listen to my horse.

The past 2 years, she’s worn a breakaway halter.
I’m home.
All.
The.
Time.

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.
Nope.
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.
Heheh…
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.
This horse.
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.
Now?
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 panicked.
She followed me to the gate.
She whinnied.
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.
Ever.
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.

Behold!

“What made me tough almost killed me..at least that’s how I remember the story. Over the years I’ve forgotten how it was…”

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…

“But I survived and I won’t walk down the same old road that they all followed
It only leads to a life not meant for me…”

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:

“We’re always running away and we don’t even stop to think about it
The worlds in our hands…
They don’t need to understand”

“We do it our own way, no matter what they try to say about it. We’ve got our own plans…”

“They don’t need to understand…”

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:

Advertisements

Measure

“Intense love does not measure,
It just gives.”
~Mother Teresa

❤ Ruby ❤

Getting Ruby set up for her black background portrait.
She was 100% convinced that this was too hard for her to do, even though it was inside her own shelter.
Here she gets some comfort from her Human…breathing in his scent for as long as she needed so she had the confidence to do hard things. 😉

An example of the finished portrait…

Friday’s Hunt on Sunday

First…thank you to everyone for their kind words and messages after last week’s post. Your love and support is appreciated and cherished.
October can be a tough month ’round here and it caught up with me. I have always prided myself on writing what’s real here on the Farm. Sometimes real is ugly and hard and emotional.

This week I have a better outlook, and some photographic evidence of how truly Blessed I am…

Prompts this week are Starts with S, Week’s Favourite and Amazing.

Starts with s this week is Sable at sunrise:

Breakfast at sunrise...

Breakfast at sunrise…

Our temperatures have been bouncing all over the place, with some gorgeous warmth lately. That means, though, that our normal hay feeding stations are mud pits. And that’s just not good for anyone’s feet. So, I’ve been walking the hay out to different non-muddy spots and leaving piles for them to enjoy.
They’re on 1/2 hay rations, because they still have some pasture to eat. This way, they clean up all the hay, wander about, and nibble the pasture bits. We started out on full hay rations, and they were tossing it about and wasting it. We dropped the amounts until everything was being cleaned up, and body weights were not affected. Turns out, that was 1/2 rations. 🙂

Another sunrise photo...Sable and her best pal, Astrid.

Another sunrise photo…Sable and her best pal, Astrid.

This week’s favourite is Erik the Viking…

erik-the-joker

He looks like The Joker, with his bloody face.

Last weekend we butchered the last 2 piggies. Going hand in hand with us getting our meat for winter, is a feast for the cats. Here Erik had just finished gorging himself in that bucket…that bucket held livers, hearts, fat scraps, and anything else that we humans weren’t going to eat. After the cats had their way with it, what was left was chopped and bagged to be frozen for winter feeding.

Finally, amazing.
This one…

Rocking the mohawk

Rocking the mohawk

She used to have a long mane, but keeps pulling it out on the fencing. I’ve given up on her having a long mane again…so I pulled out the scissors, and cleaned up her.
The amazing part is that she stood like a rock.
Last time I tried to give her a trim, she lost her shit a bit.
Scissors are scary and could kill a horse, y’know.
Not this time. She dropped her head and stood for me to clean up that raggedy mane up and trim her bridle path. I left the bit of mane long at her withers, just in case I get a stupid urge to climb up on her…gotta have a hand hold, right? 😉
It was wonderful to have her completely relaxed for something that she had previously freaked out about.
It’s really amazing how far she’s come.

Sharing with Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.

Ooooh!! Look at the Pretty!!

A few weeks ago, I started cutting some of our grass with grass scissors so that I could dry it for small bales of hay.
Yes, I am crazy.
Certifiably so. 😛
Thing is, our yard site is huge, and the grass needs cutting. My hayburners need hay for winter. So, my brain says, cut and cure what I can, put it up for those odd times.
Y’know what I mean…Like when you first start to feed hay in the fall…the horses aren’t quite getting enough from the pasture, but, they don’t want hay 24/7, and the Hay Guy can’t get me a load right away because *he’s* still cutting and baling…and in the spring, when hay eating tapers off and the nibbling of the newly growing grasses begins. Those times when I’m not sure opening an 800lb bale is worth the potential for waste.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here on the blog that I was looking into purchasing a scythe. Well, I kept looking, because I didn’t want to hand out the money for a new one. I was hoping to find something cheap on the local buy/sell/trade sites.

What I ended up with was something so much better…first, let me show you:

Hubby with the Pretty. :)

Hubby with the Pretty. 🙂

Yep, a scythe. But where did it come from?
I mentioned on my personal FB page what I was doing with the grass and scissors. I had a lot of friends offer ideas where to buy a scythe…many of them I already knew of, but, like I said, I didn’t want to put a lot of money into one. Not if I could find one the someone had in a barn that they weren’t using.

As it turns out, a FB friend had exactly that…and he messaged me with the generous offer to give it to me. Oh, I was happy to accept! 😀
It took a little bit of finangling to get it from him to me…our Hoof Trimmer was involved, there was a barrel racing fundraiser, and, I finally, after being FB friends for a couple of years, got to meet him in person. lol
In the end though, the scythe came home to the Farm.

This past Saturday, my brother came out to sharpen it for me…because he’s the expert in sharpening things.
If I needed it welded, or hammered while red hot, then Hubby could do that. But, he’s not 100% on his sharpening skills yet. 😉
Of course, while sharpening happened, so did photos…

Clamping the scythe down for safety...

Clamping the scythe down for safety…

Wire brushing the rust off...

Wire brushing the rust off…

Wire brushing the other side of the blade...

Wire brushing the other side of the blade…

Cutting the new edge...

Cutting the new edge…

Oooooh...sparky!

Oooooh…sparky!

Other side gets sharpened too...

Other side gets sharpened too…

Testing the edge...

Testing the edge…

Yup, it works!

Yup, it works! (Love Felix in the background watching!)

And now, all I need are a few good hot dry days, and I can make hay!
Squeeee! 😀

Land of Hopes and Dreams

Last week I got caught up in a conversation that caught me off guard, and when the judgements were flying, I took way too much of it to heart.
I don’t normally.
Mostly because I pretty much don’t care what most people think of me. I know that whatever I say or do, someone, some where, will have an opinion, a judgement…putting a lot of Farm life online, well, it’s going to happen. And, for the most part, I don’t worry about what someone else’s opinion is…

Oh, there are those, whose opinions matter. People I respect and love, who, if they told me I was screwing things up, I would listen to. In a heartbeat.

Anyways, I let this get to me, and I shouldn’t have. But I did, and I did the one thing I knew how to do.
I took a social media break.
I went out to the pasture armed with my camera and a Need to lean on my Girls. I took some glorious pictures, loved on the Girls, and even though I felt Peace in the pasture, I still came away unsettled. Grumpy. Injured.

And then, over the weekend, after having lunch with some good friends, as we headed home, the truck stereo played Bruce Springsteen’s Land of Hope and Dreams.
*sigh*
I ❤ The Boss.
When he sings, I listen…and this song has always Sung to me…

Grab your ticket and your suitcase
Thunder’s rollin’ down this track
Well, you don’t know where you’re goin’ now
But you know you won’t be back
Well, darlin’ if you’re weary
Lay your head upon my chest
We’ll take what we can carry
Yeah, and we’ll leave the rest

Big wheels roll through fields
Where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

Well, I will provide for you
And I’ll stand by your side
You’ll need a good companion now
For this part of the ride
Leave behind your sorrows
Let this day be the last
Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine
And all this darkness past

Big wheels roll through fields
Where sunlight streams
Oh meet me in a land of hope and dreams

This train…
Carries saints and sinners
This train…
Carries losers and winners
This train…
Carries whores and gamblers
This train…
Carries lost souls

I said this train…
Dreams will not be thwarted
This train…
Faith will be rewarded

I’ll take wisdom where ever I can find it.
Sunday night I found it with The Boss.
I rode that train to my land of hope and dreams. I sit here living my dream, with my saints and sinners, my losers and winners, my whores and gamblers, my lost souls…

SleepARoo... Napping while Hubby cleans around the feeders.

SleepARoo…
Napping while Hubby cleans around the feeders.

Astrid... One of the sweetest shots of the day. Peeking at me under Cookie's belly. <3

Astrid…
One of the sweetest shots of the day. Peeking at me under Cookie’s belly. ❤

Sable... My gorgeous pin~up Palomino. It is completely effortless for her to look this beautiful.

Sable…
My gorgeous pin~up Palomino. It is completely effortless for her to look this beautiful.

Cookie... My dear, sweet Darling and her "kissing spot".

Cookie…
My dear, sweet Darling and her “kissing spot”.

A blog reader called it that, her black spot just above her nostril, and I’ve used the term ever since. It’s perfect. I kiss that pretty face every chance I get, and that spot just begs for it. 🙂 And, Cookie herself often brings her muzzle up for it, knowing that it starts with a breath exchange, and ends with Mama putting kisses there.

Those are my lost souls…or, as a good friend put it, misunderstood souls in need of a little extra tlc.

In life, it’s really hard to keep yourself from getting caught up in all the mud-slinging and judgements people throw at us. Even when you are doing the best you can, there’s always going to be someone who will criticize. This break I took gave me a chance to step back, refocus, and remember myself.

This life I live, this life I chose, isn’t always easy, isn’t always fun.
I’m running a household, a business, and trying to build a sustainable Farm that provides for my family.
There isn’t endless amounts of time to do it all.
There isn’t endless amounts of money to do it all.

I’m lucky though, in that I have my Good Companion by my side, who stayed with me through all the sorrows and darkness.
I am a deeply flawed human. I know that. He knows it too, and loves me in spite of it…or maybe because of it. I don’t know.
What I do know is I have worked hard, on myself, and in my life, to get to this Land…our land of hope and dreams.
My Faith has been rewarded.
I’ve earned this.
And so have my Lost Souls.

Happy 2 Years Astrid

2 years ago today, we woke up early, packed our cold weather gear, coffee, and some snacks in the truck, and went on a 2 hour drive.
When we came home again, we had this Girl with us…

This girl is Astrid.

This girl is Astrid.

A young QH mare who’s living situation changed drastically, due to no fault of her own. Hell, it wasn’t even her owner’s fault. Sometimes, crappy things in life happen, and, unfortunately, it happened to them.
We had some room in our pasture with the other 3 and were able to bring Astrid into our herd.

And oh, it was Trial by Fire for Little Girl. We had no way to keep her separate from the others, so in she went. Ruby saw her as competition for food, Cookie was just pissed off, and Sable?
Well, Sable welcomed her with an open heart. No surprise. That’s just how our Big Girl is. 🙂
Astrid, however, was less than thrilled…she’d just had a 2 hour trailer ride in the cold, fallen getting off the trailer, been led into a new pasture, and been chased by the lead mare.
*sigh*
Never again will I introduce a new horse that way! lol!
The squeals, the kicks, the working out of the heirarchy…oy! Not a good time.
In the end, it all worked out…after treating a few injuries, a vet visit for colic, a lot of time and patience…it worked out.

And now, Astrid is a much-loved, by horses and people alike, member of our herd. ❤

We’re the Good Horses

Relaxing with her BFF

Relaxing with her BFF

"Hey, whatchoo doing down there?"

“Hey, whatchoo doing down there?”

"Any nummies, or did Dad steal them all?"

“Any nummies, or did Dad steal them all?”

"Rub my belly Mom!!"

“Rub my belly Mom!!”

"Mmmm, smells like food..."

“Mmmm, smells like food…”

"Will it eat me? Can I eat it?"

“Will it eat me? Can I eat it?”