Glorious

“Embrace
the glorious mess
that you are.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert

So perfect…
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… o_O

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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:

Elevate

Having influence
is not about
Elevating self,
but about
Lifting others.
~ Sheri Dew

People are drawn to her.
She’s so pretty and many want to touch her…
To tell her so.
There are so few people she’s drawn to.
Children.
The odd friend.
Thankfully, me.
I am blessed that she counts me as trustworthy.
I’ve worked hard to prove to her that I am.
I am drawn to her like a moth to the flame.
For that, I carry no shame.

Would Ya Just Look at That!

I mentioned how I was working with The Cookie and a blanket.
Old Lady (who’s not that old) has been feeling the weather more lately, and sometimes she could benefit from a little extra…just like our Sable.
Unlike our Sable, she has no concept of this “blanket for warmth” thing.

Oh no.
She was certain that thing was going to smother her to complete Death.
Yeah, she can be a little dramatic. 😉

First time out was a complete manure show…
She wouldn’t let me anywhere near her with the blanket.
There was prancing, dancing, some pulling back on the lead rope, a fair bit of panicked rolling eyes.
lol
You woulda thought that blanket was a frickin’ cougar trying to land upon her back…and this was just the intro to it, where all I wanted her to do was sniff the silly thing.

Ah, but time and patience goes a long way with my dear sweet damaged horse. ❤

4th time out, The Kid is holding the lead rope and we made it this far before her brain shut off…

“Ermagerhd!!! I’m being eat…oh, wait, this ain’t so bad.”
~ Cookie

And this…

“Keep makin’ with the apple slices, Woman. If you know what’s good for you…”
~ Cookie

Next time, I’ll work on fully spreading it out on her, and then we’ll discuss doing it up.

Yeah, yeah, I know.
For some folks, this a “one and done” kinda lesson.
Meh.
With the other 3, I agree.
This one? We go at her speed. We may not get there as fast as I might like, but we always get there, and the foundation is solid.
That, to me, is more important.

45

I thought it might feel different.
I don’t know why.
But I don’t feel any different today than I did yesterday.
45 doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal.

Yesterday, with help from The Kid, this happened:

I love that my leg and her left front are at the same angle.
I love my “appaloosa” spots on my foot.
I love that little spot of white peeking through on her left hind.
I love the background.
All in all, it turned out better than I had hoped it would.

It was a mess, this shoot, to begin with.
From time to time, I forget prickly mare is prickly.
I can’t just walk up to her, snap a lead on and say “Here’s something new to do, let’s do it right now.”
That’s not how she works.
I know this, but sometimes, I forget. I get so focused on the end product that I go in hot and ready, and she’s like “Um, nope.”
Sometimes, she’s so good at doing the “normal horse” thing that I forget, she’s anything but…

And then, there was the Other 3…
I wanted this shot at ground level, so The Kid needed to be on the ground. The Other 3 wanted to see what she was doing down there.
*sigh*
So Hubby had to hold them off, while The Kid shot the image, and I called directions.
It’s a wonder we got anything good.
Breathe deep.
Embrace the Chaos.
LOL!!

I’m happy with the final image though, and there are a few more that, with a little post production tweaking, will be just as good.
All in all, it went well, and I got what I was wanting.
Hopefully, that bodes well for the year ahead.
🙂

Piggie in a Pan

Nothing to see here…
Just a cute picture of Andy Piggie sitting in the water pan.

And they wonder why they don’t have clean water to drink!!
Silly piggies. 😉

Been a bit busy the last week here…after the great garage clean up, we’ve been working on a few other things, including some repairs to our deck.
And, I’ve got a photo shoot to do tomorrow morning with a Certain Girl.

So, it’s not that I’m ignoring y’all…
We haven’t fallen in the pig pen and not been able to get up… 😉
Just busy.
More posts coming.
I promise!

Monday Morning

It’s a long weekend here.
I’m listening to the birds singing, the little meat chickens peeping and flapping about, hennys singing their egg songs, piggies grunting and playing and the occasional snort from the mares.
Everyone else is still sleeping…

Normally I’m all about the “get out of bed, there’s chores to be done!” but this weekend has been rather productive, so I’m letting them sleep.
Saturday was a putter around the Farm yard day, doing a whole lot of little things, that don’t look like much ’til you stop for the day and see how much you’ve actually done. And then, there was the plan for yesterday…

My Bro came out to give Hubby a hand with cleaning out the garage.
It’s something that’s been needing to be done for the past 3.5 years, and time just hasn’t been there. But, my hay cutting kinda forced our hands and it had to be done to be able to effectively store the hay for winter.

So, that was an 8 hour job yesterday.
Now it’s done, and Hubby can finally use the garage as a shop…oh, and with the tractor pulled out, I could work on teaching horses to stand in there on cold days for hoof trimming. 😉

And then, this bin was moved in, to stack my hay in, and on top of…

Full of my first cutting…

It’s 4’x8′, and 8 feet tall. As you can see, I have it jammed full.
I had extra bales that wouldn’t fit inside, so we tossed them to the horses. Yeah, I coulda stacked them on top (that’s where 2nd cutting will go, when I start in a few weeks), but, they were standing around the smudge fire and I figured feeding them there would be a good thing. That way, they can enjoy the bug free zone, and have some noms.

Speaking of the smudge…
Look who’s enjoying it too:

Aww, they’re so cute all lined up like that! 😉

It’s taken The Cookie a while to come around to hanging out in the smoke. Sometimes, she’s terribly anti-social, and hanging out in the bug free zone is a social activity. It gets hard for her to handle…and yet, the lure of the lack of bugs is even harder to resist.
I’m just happy to see her do normal horse things. 😉

Heh.
The ears tell you how much she appreciated being photographed.

I had to sneak out of the house, hide the camera, and turn the focusing beep off to catch these shots of her doing normal horse things.
It’s really quite hilarious.

Then there’s this…

❤ Sable ❤

There are no words for how adorable it is to see a horse try to scratch their ear with a hind foot…she gave up and chewed an itch instead.
I did help her out and give that ear a scritching. 😉

Onward and upwards, folks.
Today we work on hoof trims…
Have a great week!