Danger Noodles and Mouse Sized Spiders

I was going to tell you about all our adventures in the last blog post, but it seemed too long. So I broke it into two posts.

I’ve been feeling a lot more confident in Joy’s ability to handle new things this year. I’ve been trying to take her out on the trails by herself more often.

We’ve finally conquered walking past the poop bog. That used to send us careening backward at full speed into ditches and trees. Now she simply gives it the stink eye while nervously walking past.

Yesterday we wandered out to the other side of the field to check out a freshly mowed path. Joy walked on a fairly loose rein the entire time. 

We were on our way back when the branch laying in the path ahead of us started slithering away. 

I’m terrible with identifying snakes. My default is avoidance whenever possible.

I halted Joy with the intent that we’d wait until the snake moved off the path.  I don’t think she even saw the snake.  Some leaf way ahead of us was beyond scary though,  and she was certain we needed to flee immediately. 

A couple of tense moments.  Snake was finally off the path.  Joy and I continued down the path and it was as if nothing had happened. 

I got back to the barn and started cleaning stalls.  I was sweeping up some loose hay in the corner when a small critter the size of a mouse scooted away and buried itself under some other hay. I figured Id shoo it out of the stall.   I moved the pile and this massive spider ran out and stopped next to the stall wall  staring at me.  

I go into attack mode! 

“No spider will allowed to live in my pony’s stall!! ”

I stabbed it with the bristols of the broom as hard as I can. 

I lift the broom,  expecting to see a wounded or dead spider,  but the dang thing had grabbed on to the bristols and was valiantly crawling his way up towards me. 

We lock eyes… 

I see I’m out matched,  so I hurl broom with spider out of the stall door and into the pasture. 

Shit. 

I needed the broom still… 
 

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The case of the dastardly turkeys

Joy’s been about as well behaved as a red head with a napoleon complex can be, so I decided to ride her out to the field behind the pastures for a change of scenery.

Wouldn’t you know it, not ten feet down the path that leads to the back field and there’s a massive turkey and her brood of chicks milling about in the path.

Joy comes to a screeching halt when she see’s them. I was praying the turkey didn’t decide to go flapping her wings and scaring Joy into insanity.

We had a few tense turkey-pony stand off moments…

No one was going to make the first move, so I let out a war cry, booted Joy toward the turkey gang, and we chased them into the woods.

RAWRRR

It must’ve boosted Joy’s moral, because she seemed to relax after that.

We walked down the rest of the trail, and over to the path through the field. I wanted to try trotting Joy down the straight away that runs past the back of my pasture. It went well the first time. We trotted past our pasture and to the end of the straight away where I asked her to walk and then turn around. I didn’t want to trot “toward home” yet, so we walked back toward the pasture. As soon as we were half way past my pasture again, I asked for the trot. Joy trotted, then cantered. I freaked out a bit… then realized Joy wasn’t being out of control so we cantered the rest of the way down that stretch of path. When we reached the end, I asked her to walk. No issues. Whew!

However, after that point I only had two choices of gait: walk or canter. No trot. haha

So we cantered around for a while.

It was a BLAST!! That little pony is so much fun to ride!!

We wrapped it up after a while and headed back toward home.

We were casually strolling down one of the paths through some pine tree’s when those dastardly turkeys came out behind the tree’s with spears!

Joy sprung into action and  valiantly chased the evil turkeys off!

Yay!

Joy’s such a trooper. The crap she has to put up with, with me as her owner… hahaha

All in all, a successful, and massively fun, outing by ourselves. I was very proud of my little warrior pony.

 

Horses at home

My little princess, Ava, doesn’t enjoy summer. She is happiest squirreled into her stall with a hay net and fan.

I threw Ava outside after her dinner so she’d go be a horse for a few hours. 

She kept an ear cocked,  listening for me to come out and “save”  her. Obviously her human had made some kind of mistake and would rectify it immediately. 

I forgot my phone on the back deck.  I had to crawl across the deck on my hands and knee’s to retrieve the phone, because if Ava see’s me she runs to her paddock gate,  refuses to leave it,  and will whinny until I let her in.

Ava heard me open the back door.  She ran to her paddock gate, whinnied,  then stood there seeming confused when she couldn’t see me.

I crawled back inside…

At 9pm I snuck out to the pasture without being seen. I hollered out ‘Ava!! You can come back in now!”

Ava whips her head up, and lets out a continual bellowing whinny as she galloped up to the paddock gate. 

Today, the little monster (Ava still) decided she needed more hay, and began her systematic kicking of the stall wall to voice her displeasure.

Bam

Bam

Bam

Bam

“It’s second lunchies,  bitch” BAM!! 

.. 

I snuck out to the barn hoping to catch her in the act, but right before I get to the barn Joy lets out a big “Hey, what’cha doing?!” whinny.

D’oh. Caught.

I hid behind the wall of the barn hoping they’d both think they were mistaken and go back to what they were doing.

 They both pressed their heads hard against the bars, trying to eye ball me as I snuck looks around the corner.  

Ava’s new trick is to shove whatever itches in my face.  Shoulder itches?  Shove it into the human.  Belly?  Yup,  human can access it better from the ground.  

The cat’s have become complacent around Ava lately.  They should know better, but they are arrogant cats.  Yesterday I let Ava out and one of the cats decided to make friends with Ava.  It should’ve been one of those cutsey moments..  Instead,  Ava’s ears go back and demon monster horse lunges with teeth and hooves flying toward the cat.  The hoof missed by skant inches. Cat goes fleeing for her life.  Ava promptly turns toward me with a “Hehehe..  Did you see that cat run!”  look.  Like she expected me to get a good laugh out of it.  

Ok,  I admit,  once I knew the cat was fine,  it was kind of funny. 

Pics!! 

The old lady

Power of Defensive Pessimism

 

I’m fed up with the whole “power of positive thinking” movement!

Ode to the Power of Defensive Pessimism!

What if…

What if I fall, what if I die, what if I break a leg!

What if I feed, and it’s all wrong, what ever should I be doing?

What if I today I skipped my helmet, imagine would could happen!

What if today, with winds a howling, I chose to lunge instead?

Terrible ode.

Worst Ever!

Julie Norem, a psychology professor at Wellesley College, studies people she calls “defensive pessimists” who deal with anxiety by thinking about everything that could go wrong.

the-official-strategy-is-defensive-pessimism-always-quote-1

Her studies show that by processing the negative possibilities, defensive pessimists relieve their anxiety and work harder at their task to avoid those pitfalls. Several studies by Norem and others suggest that forcing optimism or a positive mood on an anxious defensive pessimist can actually damage performance on tasks that include math problems, anagrams and playing darts.

 

….

 

What ever…. You’ve already stopped reading.

You’re pouring yourself a glass of wine, and practicing your “positive thinking” right now, aren’t you?

Let me help you with that…

When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood

Really?

Poisons?

Image result for anti-science

Or this…

Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances will change accordingly.

9-just-hold-stomach-and-laugh-until-people-start-laughing-with-you

 

Another useful technique is the repetition of affirmation.

 

 

Or this gem..

Resolve to be cheerful, no matter what happens.

 

Or, just don’t bother with adult responsibilities at all…

Do things that make you happy! If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it.

 

….

 

 

 

that’s all.

 

Arena Building with No Money

Well,  the expanded arena is moving slowly.  Since we can’t afford to rent proper equipment to do this,  nor hire someone,  we’re stuck rota-tiling the entire thing and then dragging it ad nauseum until relatively smooth-ish.

Definitely going to be a “Premier Arena” when finished. 😂 

For the small area I ride on now,  we were able to break up the weeds by rota-tiling and (after massive amounts of dragging)  make the area less uneven.  Still rolly,  but no ankle twisters,  or leg breakers. It worked okay. 

We’re optimistic this will work on a large scale.

yeah, right

 

The rota-tiling was going fairly well,  but the old machine is popping seals and protesting!

Burning engine 

Luckily hubby is a small engine repair God and can make just about anything work with barely any money.  

Engine repair

He got it working again! 

The alternative is a hoe and a rack,  and I’ll be 80 before the arena is done.  *sigh*

So,  this image is “the dream” :

And this is the reality:

Looks like a God damned alien landing pad. 

Communication

I would regale you with my exciting riding adventures,  but there are none.  I’ve been rather depressed,  hot,  and stressed out. Ponies have not been ridden in nearly two weeks.  I’m starting to hate summers here as much as I hate winters…

Anyway…  I decided this week that I better put more bells and whistles on Joy if I’m going to ensure she gets a great home if I sell her.  So yesterday I decided I would teach her…  *drum roll**..

Spanish Walk.

I’ve never done this before.

Don’t worry,  I watched all of the youtube videos.  😂

Thirty minutes of trying to teach it,  and all I can get is that she’ll pick the leg up that I’ve touched,  but only to about fetlock height. Doesn’t matter what I do,  where I tap,  or what I varied,  that’s all she would offer.

I got so desperate that I tried showing her what I want.

Yeah,  didn’t work. Nothing worked.  Total failure of communication.  Back to the drawing board.

Since that obviously wasn’t working,  I decided I’d try to teach Joy to bow.

I’ve never succeeded at this before.  Tried and horribly failed with Ava. BUT,  I watched all the video’s yesterday,  so I’m,  like,  an expert,  you know.

ijer7

Anyway,  first session..  grain in hand,  lead rope in other.. . I pick up her hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

Ask again.  Nothing.

Work on backing without the hoof lifted.  That works fine.

Pick up hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

We do this over and over and over,  until she just barely will shift her weight back a little. My back was killing me,  my legs hurt from being crouched over,  sun was beating down and I was sweating profusely..

I couldn’t coordinate lead rope,  hoof,  and grain so i take her halter off…

Joy takes a step away,  drops like a stone and starts rolling vigorously.  Then she hops up and drops to the other side.  She stops long enough in her rolling to eat a small offering of grain I held up,  and then pops back to her feet.

I pick up her hoof,  ask her to back…

Nothing…

😂

We worked on that for nearly 30 minutes.  She did start shifting her weight back, finally,  but then i accidentally dropped her leg mid back-up and she decided I was no longer trustworthy, so she left.

Today, i tried again…

Picked her leg up,  asked her to shift her weight back.

She shifted back!   She only brought her knee about halfway down,  but it was progress! Yay!

I had the lead and halter on again,  and decided to take it off.  If Joy actually DID bow,  I didn’t want her to step on the lead (which I couldn’t seem to keep out of the way).

As soon as i take off the halter –  straight down and rolling.

She pops back up and shakes vigorously for a second,  then lets me pick her leg up and ask her to back again.

We never got the knee to the ground. A decent effort on her part,  but she’s not there yet.

Then Joy decided she was done and left.

Maybe tomorrow…

….

Pics

Clean barn!

Foggy morning.

Everyone gets a cape when a new bag of shavings is opened!

 

Indian Summer

We had a brief glimpse of what spring may look like.  It was fantastic. I was running around in a t-shirt! I was marvelous! The sun even came out for the day.

The following day was the dreariest day in history.  Fog all day, and the worst chill. Blah!

dreariest day ever

All day with that fog.

We’ve had three days of sunshine in 2017.

Three!!

Screaming

Post-Ice Apocalypse 

I let the beast (Ava) out of her paddock for the first time in at least a week.  She was quite,  uh,  buck-y about it.  I don’t think she took a regular step for 5 minutes.  Just bucked her way up and down the pasture.

She’s beautiful when she’s expressing herself, but sure makes me glad she’s not like that under saddle. Whew!

I hadn’t let her out because the footing was trecherous. Finally melted.

I broke Joy’s stall door.  As a strong,  independent woman,  I delegated fixing it to hubby.  Heh.

The nut that holds the door up on Joy’s stall fell off.  I couldn’t find it.

I spent half an hour trying to find that darn nut. I was freaking out about not finding it.

…..

Hubby found it sitting on top of the stall door.

As usual, the solution was above my head.

Terrible Weather

It rained and then immediately froze. Everything is covered in ice.
You scoffed at the poop piles left in the pasture, but those were really traction bumps to prevent slipping. This is good equine management practices.
What really annoys me is that exactly half of the pasture (straight down the middle) is completely ice and snow free. Not a spot of anything remotely treacherous on that side of the pasture.
Guess which side the barn is on? That’s right, the side utterly covered in ice!
My idea of leaving the water tank in the large pasture rather then placing it in the paddock is working like a freaking charm. Now instead of the tank being readily available for Joy and Jessie mere steps from their stalls, they have to traverse an ice rink.
Which means I’m stuck hauling water to their stalls twice a day (if not more).
This is good human management practices. Ensuring the human gets adequate full body exercise in winter is important.
Last night I’m hauling water, sloshing it all over myself, and the darn dog decides that I’m doing all this to bring him water. The 140lb lab places himself directly in front of me, as I’m walking on ice, and plunges his head into the buckets to drink. It’s not as if he doesn’t have fresh water inside, where we JUST came from. He must drink from these buckets immediately or die of dehydration!
The entire time I’m thinking “I’m sure the horses will appreciate dog slobbered water”…
Last night we stripped and cleaned all three stalls while the horses munched hay outside. Hubby and I are standing in the barn, appreciating the freshly bedded stalls and clean barn when one by one, the horses walk in and immediately pee and poop.
StanFrustrated.jpg
Then, last night, I find Joy standing next to the water tank in the big pasture, refusing to move.  Just a bit o’ wisdom, but putting shavings on top of ice results in slick ice, covered with shavings. Utter failure.
Anyway, I thought pulling Joy through the yard would be the best course of action. The footing seemed okay to me, but Joy felt it was absolutely no better. She slipped and skidded her way to the barn like a drunk on ice skates.
I finally got her in the barn safely and made sure everyone had water in their stalls and extra hay.
I am so over winter.
Frozen.jpg