Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thank you Online Friends for Enriching My Year

Goodby 2009 and Welcome 2010 - a new year and a new decade.

One part of life I've so enjoyed is getting to know all of you, your passions and challenges. I've appreciated learning from you and being inspired by you. This post has my very favorite photo from 2009. My two horses sharing a connected moment within the herd. Thanks for being part of my extended herd! Even though our connection is through the miracle of the internet, it is still real and of great value to me. Blessings to you, your families and your herds as we see where the trail takes us through 2010.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunday Stills: Odds and Ends

What a great way to end the year. Here are my odds and ends from Fall, 2009.

I love wheelbarrows. Can you think of any other tool that
carries food before it goes in AND after it comes out?

The soon to be "end" of a Ramone's oat cake - Red's FAVORITE treat.

Tess is a very generously proportioned cat who seeks out the highest places in the barn.
It is rather odd to notice movement up high around the beams, look up,
and see Tess perched grandly on a beam or ledge far above the ground.

Black Jack is our newest barn cat. He is determined to match Tess in size.
It is very odd to see how he starts begging for more food, seconds after cleaning his plate.

The "end" of my nasturtiums, one that survived the frost.

This rose bud is on a bush that was "lost" for a bit in an overgrown corner of my garden.
What a lovely "end" to two days of hard work.

Puffball mushroom or alien life form invading the general pasture.

This flower is very odd. It is on a wild azalea bush that blooms in April.

To see other wonderful "odds and ends" visit Sunday Stills Photo Challenge.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Don't Fence Me In . . . Or Else!

Why is Lyra is refusing to look in my direction?

I rent an extra facility - a very nice little round pen, so I can sometimes keep Lyra "in" and feed her extra. Like last night. A clear and chill night, perfect time to keep her overnight in the round pen with some quality hay and extra Moorglo (my current product of choice for weight gain).

I had Red in the pen, so thought I'd bring in Lyra, and take out Red. Easy switch. Not. Lyra was determined she would not be left alone. She hooked her head over Red's withers and literally held on. When I tried to bring him out while blocking her, she kept her death grip (with her neck) and pushed him into the side of the pen, pinning him there. Just like a ginormous child wrapped around their parent's legs screaming, don't leave me!!!!!!

This morning she would not look at me. She stood with her head facing her beloved herd in the general pasture. Only the promise of getting out of her hated prison brought her around to face in my direction.

Later, when cleaning the pen, I found her final revenge. All that great, nourishing hay was thoroughly scattered and ground into the mud. I really think she didn't take more than a few bites.

I imagine her "point of view". Last night as I got ready to say good night she was making very unhappy horse noises and looking at me, and at the gate, and at me, and at the gate. Did not need an animal communicator to get her message. And I ignored it, deciding I knew best.

Think how many times we ignore our horse's messages, delivered loud and clear, and then call their response to being ignored "bad behavior". I don't think I'm going to keep her in overnight anymore. She becomes so stressed, there is no benefit I can think of. Next time Lyra asks, "let me out of here" I will.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On a Dark and Stormy Night

Red Horse was absolutely drenched AND completely dry at the skin under his
nifty, nature made rain coat. What a wonder is a horse's coat.

When I agonize over blanketing, I need to come back and look at these photos.
In our coastal 30 degrees winter, I think Red does a fine job keeping himself warm and dry.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"All Those Eyes"

Often we write of our horses' eyes and the satisfaction of looking deeply into a kind, soft eye. This post is about another kind of eye - the kind that Joe Shelton writes of in his post over at Thoroughbred Friends. Joe changes his post every day so I'm copying it here (thanks Cheryl for your post about this sadness):

Tuesday, December 22nd... For the 4th time since 1997. The feed lot came to us.

Weird, having a big ugly silver stock trailer stop in front of our ranch. Filled with horses on their way to slaughter in Mexico. Cold and foggy. Almost dream like. The many eyes looking out through tiny slots. You think about all the horrible things going on in the world. But to me nothing is more tragic than horses butchered alive. This is a national embarrassment. A disgrace.

For $5,500.00 I could have bought every horse in the trailer. But I only had $800.00. No sense in describing the wheeling and dealing. I had to walk away from a thoroughbred. The driver made a big issue about my request. I asked for credit, promising to pay next Monday. I was told no.

Three thoroughbreds came off that trailer, and the driver put my $800.00 in his pocket. Said he sure hopes the fog on Interstate 5 goes away.


And of course. I am standing there with a horse on the end of 3 different lead ropes. As the driver closes up his trailer and gets ready to pull away. Here comes a young girl with her mom. The girl is 10. She wants to give Cathy and I a plate of Christmas fudge.

I asked the girl, you know how to lead a horse? Yep. The three throughbreds with gentle manners. The girl grabs a lead rope, and so does her mom. Up our driveway we go.

Almost to the front gate, and the girl says Oh My God. That was a slaughter trailer huh?


In our yard the girl gives a dewormer to each of the thoroughbreds. She watches as the horses are vaccinated. The girl cleans their feet. Helps prepare welcome to our ranch feed buckets. She brushes a gelding while he eats.

Two of the thoroughbreds go into a large round pen. The other into our crowded mare motel.

I am late (as usual) to be somewhere. I tell the girl and her mom thank you for helping with the 3 horses. And thank you for this delicious fudge.

Not exactly word for word, but this is the hearty part of what the girl had to say:

It was meant to be that I come here today. This was my best day in a long time. I love being with horses. I am going to start raising money so I can rescue a whole bunch.

Driving in fog, Christmas music on the truck radio. Came right up on a jogger and her dog. A nice looking black lab. The jogger waved. Starbucks sells a yummy eggnog latte. Wondering who is going to win Sing Off? There is a Sergeant with the Woodland police department who is helping deliver Christmas dinners. A good guy. They say alfalfa prices may go up next spring. Darn. Our friend who works at Raleys had her baby last week, a girl. Never did find out what she named her baby.

All those eyes, through tiny stock trailer slots. Try to think of other things. Easier to function that way...


I have become complacent, content thinking that we no longer have slaughter in the USA. Then something shatters my complacency, reminding me that we are now shipping horses by the thousands to Mexico and Canada. The need is overwhelming. Frontline warriors like Joe Shelton deserve our recognition and support. Today, light a candle or say a prayer. Better yet, do one small thing to end suffering in the lives of those around you, maybe send a little holiday present to TB Friends or a reputable rescue near you.

And if you have an extra minute during this busy time, visit the HSUS site to read about the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503/S. 727). If passed, it will close American borders to the exportation of equines for slaughter.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice: Gratitude for Both the Darkness and the Returning Light

Winter Solstice

when you startle awake in the dark morning
heart pounding breathing fast
sitting bolt upright staring into
dark whirlpool black hole
feeling its suction

get out of bed
knock at the door of your nearest friend
ask to lie down beside ask to be held

listen while whispered words
turn the hole into deep night sky
stars close together
winter moon rising over white fields
nearby a wren rustling dry leaves
distant owl echoing
two people walking up the road laughing

let your soul laugh
let your heart sigh out
that long held breath so hollow in your stomach
so swollen in your throat
already light is returning pairs of wings
lift softly off your eyelids one by one
each feathered edge clearer between you
and the pearl veil of day

you have nothing to do but live

by Jody Aliesan
Grief Sweat, Broken Moon Press 1990

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Last Thing a Carrot Sees

Sunday Stills: Holiday Lights and Decorations

I love the winter holidays at Freshwater Stables.
My friend Sherri Dobay strings glittering white lights and holds
a "tack room" sale of her gorgeous equine art.

This year our management added something new. Instead of the trusty snowman we have . . .

. . . one of Santa's four hoofed helpers!

A Christmas Pony!

Please visit Sunday Stills to see more glorious holiday lights.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

That's My World: Estate Sale on the Loleta Bluffs

These days I try my best to avoid yard sales and estate sales. I have enough stuff! Especially horse stuff. When I read about the estate sale in a BARN on the Loleta Bluffs, my best intentions were devastated by the "B" word. Barn. I love barns and where there are barns there might be horses.

Indeed there were horses. This sale was on an amazing ranch in the business of breeding thoroughbreds. Gorgeous little TB weanlings leaned over the fence watching the action. And somehow I did not get their pictures.

This ranch has some of the most amazing views I've ever seen in Humboldt County.
To the west was the Pacific ocean and to the north . . .

. . . was Humboldt Bay and Eureka, California.

The Wiyot People live here, on the surviving remnants of their land.

The Loleta Bluffs have some very old ranches with their weathered barns.

Friday, December 11, 2009