Fragrance

There is no denying the effect that the fragrance of horses has on people…

You either love it, or hate it.
We, ’round here, are quite firmly in the “Love It” camp.
😉

Make no mistake, there are days when I say to the Girls “Could ya stop lying on, and rolling in, the manure pile? Damn, you stink!!”
For the most part though, the Eau De Equine soothes the Spirit, eases the aches and pains of the daily grind, heals the open wounds in our souls.

I say it a lot…only the horses are allowed to eat money around here.
It’s true, horses are a money pit.
So, why do we keep them?

“oh, hi Mama…you got treats for me?”
~ Ruby

“The Hell, Mama!!
Stop calling me, I ain’t dead! I *was* having a great nap though!”
~ Astrid

LOL!! We had another passerby stop in to tell me about the “dead horse” in the pasture. Astrid was not impressed. 😉

“I hear your beepy thing…I know you’re there…I’m too sleepy…”
~ Cookie

“I be rollin’
My back is itchy…oooooh, feels soooo good!!”
~ Sable

We keep them because horses change lives.
Our lives are so much richer in ways other than money.
Yeah, they eat money, but what they give back to us is worth so much more.
Those days I have to leave the Farm, I’m always thinking about coming home. About standing in the midst of my little herd, breathing their unique scents, feeling their breath, touching coats, leaning on bodies that love to support us…

Many times I’ve been told that they’re lucky to be with us.
And while I sorta agree, because of what could have been when they were in the auction ring, I tend to lean farther towards I’m lucky to have them. We’ve given them a soft place to land, a Home ’til the end of their days, with good food, health care, and a whole lotta love.

What they’ve given me, all of us here at the Farm, is so much more.

4 of 4

Last night, my baling bin broke (say that 3 times fast!) while The Kid and I were trying to get the hay on the ground baled before rain.
We only got half of it done before the bin was in such rough shape that we couldn’t continue.
Instead of wasting 50lbs of beautiful, scythe cut, Mama sweated on,  lovingly raked and dried hay, I forked it over the fence for the nags to enjoy now…instead of in the fall or winter.
And, I just happened to fork it over the fence right beside the smudge, so that nags could enjoy some tasty noms while in a smokey, bug free space.

3 of 4 trotted over, because this is an unusual time of the year to get hay, so it’s exciting and new and they must gobble it down.
Toddlers.
😀

4, though…
Interesting.

The Cookie…eating not at the hay pile…

Right out of the gate, the moment her hooves hit the land here, we knew this Girl had issues with food.
Not aggressive, resource guarding type issues, but anxiety issues.
For the first 2 winters, we had to stick to a strict schedule of when hay arrived in the pasture. It didn’t matter if there was lots in the feeders, or if we fed extra at the right times…what mattered was that it came regularly, when her internal clock said it should.
If it didn’t, she panicked.
It was the same with beet pulp pails…and that’s a year ’round feeding.
Panic if it was late.

1200lbs of panicked toddler is…

Not fun.
Kinda scary.
Really, really sad.

This past year, we’ve seen some amazing and wonderful changes in her. And last night solidified it for me, that I’ve done right by this horse.

I threw 50 lbs of top quality hay over the fence.
3 of 4 trotted over to gobble like piglets.
4?
4 came over leisurely, had a few mouthfuls, and wandered on.
She nibbled the greens just past the smudge, she went for a drink of water and played in the big trough, she wandered back and stood with her head on Sable’s back…and when Ruby and Astrid moved off to eat fresh grass, she and Sable ate hay together.

Simply put, no panic.
No worries that there won’t be food later.
Just a relaxed, normal horse, doing relaxed, normal horse things.

It’s taken 3 1/2 years for her to get there…
It’s okay though, because, her and I, we got nothing but time to work together and work things out for her.
And this relaxed normal horse thing looks real good on her.

Skill + Vision + A Whole Lotta Luck

I am often asked how I capture the images that I do with the horses.
It is, in my mind:

1 part skill,
2 parts luck,
1 part artistic vision.

I know, as a fairly serious lover of photography, I should be aiming for 3 parts skill and the other part a mix of luck and vision, but y’know…
1200lb toddlers with a mind of their own.
Many days, I have an idea in mind of what I want to see in the final image, and yet, nothing goes to plan to achieve that vision…adapting on the fly, shooting even when it seems it’s not working and accepting that things may not be exactly as I wanted…that’s how I capture the images I do.

Kinda like this next image…

I caught this during my Canada Day shoot with the Girls.
The plan was the flag on her halter, the flowers and her eye…well, she wasn’t chuffed about the flowers in the first place and kept tossing her head to get rid of them. So, adding the flag pin wasn’t a possibility.
Instead, I stood in front of her, talked softly and when she pricked her ears towards my voice, I shot, capturing this.
Not what I was going for, and yet, a beautiful image. ❤

I am not afraid of storms,
for I am learning how to sail my ship.
~ Louisa May Alcott

Paragon

I absolutely love this prompt from The Daily Post.
When I can’t immediately find some image in my files to go with the prompt, I look for a quote to match up to…this one led me to a quote that sums me up very nicely.
When I read it, I just started nodding, and said to myself
“Ex-f*cking-zactly”

❤ Black Horse ❤

“Me, myself, personally, I like to keep myself private.
I have never said I am a paragon of virtue, a model of morality.
I simply do what I do.”

~ Steve Coogan

Snuggled down into the hay…

And so, because I feel this quote right down to the core of my bones, I’m pairing it with my very favorite photography subject…make no mistake, I love all my family, 2 feet and 4 feet, related by blood or chosen, but this one, she carries my heart and soul in that body with her. ❤

Friday’s Hunt May28th

Yet another day of rain.
Last weekend it rained for 2 days straight, and we didn’t get the garden tilled.
Yesterday, we were at the Stable, and by the time we got home, it was too late for yard work…well, once chores were done…and I was ready for wine.
So, tilling got shoved off to today. And now? Rain.
*sigh*

Next week, after work, we’ll have to get it done. I have tomatoes, and peppers that need a big dirt place to grow. 😉
They’re out-growing their little pots, and ready to branch out.
Oh, and The Kid’s sunflowers are already 2 feet tall…in the house.
lol
We need to get things planted…
We’ll get there.

This week’s prompts for Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills are Starts with U, Week’s Favorite, and Kids.
I’ll also be sharing this with The Daily Post, who’s prompt today is Radiate.

Starts with U

It can be difficult to come up with an idea for U…
Luckily, I was out taking pictures behind the barn at the Stable yesterday, and the sky was a gorgeous blue…shades of ultramarine perhaps?
Maybe I’m grasping at straws with the colour.
Henry sure looks upset with Remus…they were just playing though.
Horses don’t always play nice. Oft times teeth and hooves are involved…and sometimes the photographer (me!) is lucky enough to capture the shot.

Remus (left) and Henry

As an aside, Henry was the very first horse The Kid rode at the Stable…she fell head over heels in love with him and we started down our path of horses. All this *waves arms around her* can be blamed on the delightfully silly black gelding.
Not that I’m complaining. 😉

Week’s Favorite

Tough one this week.
I had a very good week with my camera.
Yay!!
So, I’ll give y’all these 2:

Waking up from a nap…

We’re having tea together in the mornings.
Every spring, with the planting going on around us, she has allergy issues with her eyes. So, we share a cup of sweet tea while I use the cooled tea bag to clean the crusties out of her eyes.
In the fall, with the harvest, we’ll do it all over again.

I love this one… ❤

All the dust is from our neighbours, who have a race track in the back of their property. They race beater cars for fun on Friday and Saturday nights.
It’s all in good fun, and the dust makes for a grand back drop for black horses. If you look close, she has 1 long piece of hay hanging out of her mouth…she carried that with her from the west side of the pasture, trotting around in a tizzy because of the cars on the track…a 1/2 mile away.
Silly horse. 😉

Kids

I always call my horses 1200lb toddlers.
Horses are just like kids.
Yesterday at the barn, Marty, that adorable little paint gelding, showed just how much like kids horses really can be…
Every day, the horses are brought back into the barn for their grain, and to be tucked in for the night.
It’s been beautiful out this past week, so they’ve been staying out later and later, and wanting to come in less and less.
Poor Marty, the last thing he wanted to do was to come in…

“I’m just eating this bit of grass here first, ‘kay?”
~Marty

And then, when the stablehand went to get him, he turned around and trotted back out to his corral…where he discovered everyone else had already come in for their grain.
LOL!
So he turned and reluctantly came in and went to his stall.
He was just like a little kid crying “I don’t wanna go to bed!”

And finally, another favorite from the week:

Cookie practices her unicorn poses as the sun rises.

“People are influenced by what we are, what we radiate.
This has greater appeal than what we say.”
~Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

She has most definitely been radiating peace and calm energies lately.
That is a wonderful thing. ❤

Banana Cookie

Have I mentioned that Cookie thinks I’m trying to poison her every time I offer her a banana?

Yeah, she’s 100% convinced that bananas=death.
Right up there with anything that has cinnamon in it, or bread.
Banana bread is the trifecta of Death to this poor horse.

Being the mean and horrible Horse Mama that I am, found a recipe for banana oatmeal cookies…and I had to make them for her to try.
I mean, **every** horse loves oats, right?!?
So, I figured it would make for a fun photo shoot, offering her these cookies, and see what she thought of them.

Daddy offers her the first one…

She lipped it up then spit it out right away.
He went to offer to the others, so The Kid offered her a piece of one…they were kinda big, and they were hard for the Girls to eat without breaking them up.

“Uh, this smells like it might be okay…”
~Cookie

Look at the eye I’m getting!
Hahahaha!!!
She smelled the banana right away but considering trying it because of the oats.

“Eeeeeewwwwww!!!”

“Yer tryin to kill me Woman!!”
~Cookie

As it turns out, oats cannot overcome the poisonous qualities of bananas.
At least, not for The Cookie.

Winging It

Maybe y’all have noticed that it’s been 2(ish) weeks since my last post.
Sorry ’bout that. It’s been an interesting time…
I missed last week’s Friday’s Hunt (Starts with P, Week’s Fave, Foot), which I’ll do now, with this week’s prompts(Starts with Q, Week’s Fave, Evening) as well, and I haven’t taken any pictures since the 15th, when I did some portraits at the Stable.

So, grab a coffee, and let me spin for you the yarn that has been the last 2 weeks here on the Farm…

Like I said, the 15th, I did some portraits at the Stable, starting with this very handsome fellow…

Oreo

This is the Barn Manager’s boy, Oreo, an OTTB, who can be as silly as he is pretty…and damn is he pretty! lol!
This shot is actually from after we were done shooting, and he just happened to be perfectly in the light for a lovely sunflare…

This next fellow, I just love…of course, I am a bit biased towards the black and white paints. 😉
(We’ll call this one week’s favorite for last week, ‘kay?)

Marty

Oh, but that blue eye! ❤
And, he’s such a little sweetheart…I’m looking forward to finishing editing his set…

Yeah, so I haven’t even finished with editing, because by the Monday after, I came down with the plague that has been going around. It’s a flu/cold/plague of death that just kicks your butt all the way to bed and back around the corner. It is unlike anything I’ve caught before…and now, 2 weeks later, I *still* have it. Ugh. It’s just plain gross.
That first few days, my morning chores, which normally take 35-45 minutes, were taking me 2 hours. Seriously. Just gross.
Computer time fell by the wayside.
Until, I decided out of the blue, to attempt to calibrate my new-to-me monitor. I only got it because it’s bigger than my old one…the problem is, the aspect ratio was wrong, and no matter what I did, all my images looked distorted.
*sigh*
So, I’m back to my old monitor, and I’m waiting for my tech guy to come out and update my OS. Mint has been giving me…issues…and DarkTable hasn’t been running as smoothly as it should. 😡
But, I can still edit, and now, that’s what I getting back to…

Oh, wait though…
A week ago Thursday, Hubby wakes me up at 4am and says “Uh, there’s something wrong with me…”
He was dizzy, nauseous, vision was wonky…and then he passed out at my feet.
Oh, joy.
Not.

Really really really really long story short…
Double inner ear infection.
Scary as hell at 4am, and you think your partner just had a heart attack in front of you.
Doctors, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and sleep…lots and lots of sleep…and he’s starting to feel better.

This past Tuesday, the last of my outdoor cats went to get fixed.
Yay!
Both Ghost…

Ghost, with feet in the air, asking for a belly rub…

And TroubleCat (awww!! Baby picture!)…

That Trouble is an adorable little fellow, that’s for sure!

Have lost their nuts…
And so, now they can stay home, and hunt here, while lounging on the deck in the sunshine during the day.
No more cats fights, no more injuries, no more holes from hunting geese…

The Kid now has her beginner’s driver’s license.
Driver’s Ed has been giving me fits.
I know the in class session schedule, but not the in-car schedule, and so it’s been hard to plan anything, or book her riding lessons.
And me, well, I have no control over this and it’s driving (lol) me nuts.
Control freak with no control over things…oh, it’s painful.

But, it hasn’t all been trying, this past few weeks.
I did get my seeds started, for my tomatoes, hot peppers and sweet peppers. I have them in the library this year, so that I don’t forget them in the basement…so far so good. We’re getting close to the first re-potting.
*sigh*
I’m going to have a garden this year, no matter what!

I’ve confirmed my new hens for June.
Again, we’re going with the ex-battery girls.
They’re already laying, and it gives them a chance at a good life of freedom in their yard, until we replace them in a year’s time.
This year’s girls will get the chop…we’ll take out what we can use for ground chicken, and the rest will become cat food.
They’ve had a great life with us here, and now it’s time for them to feed the kitties.
As sad as it is for the hennys, only the horses get a free pass to be money eating pets. 😉

Sable ❤

For Q, we’re going to use this image of Sable…quietly having a nap in the sunshine.

This week’s favorite, is this one…from my portraits at the Stable…

Odie

This guy…OMG.
He is so gorgeous. The second I saw him, I wanted to photograph him.
I wanted him in a black background shoot so freakin’ bad.
Yeah, I’m working my way through the editing of his shoot, and he did not disappoint, let me tell you!
I will admit, I normally cull shots where I lose part of a muzzle. I’m really not a fan of them, but this one, I love his eye so much here…I just had to keep this shot because of it.

And so, I think I’ve pretty much caught y’all up on things here.
We’re finally getting back on track.
Enjoying the weather, letting the sun soak into our bodies and Heal us.
To finish, an evening image from a few weeks ago…

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