Sunday, 31 August 2014

Things I enjoy about not riding my horse

Does it make me a bad mom to say that - while I am obviously utterly heartbroken that I cannot ride Walker and, for all I know, may never ride him again - I also really enjoy not riding him?

When I got my Walker-diagnosis, I intended to jump into lessons immediately and be ready when or if he came back into work.  Instead, because of many reasons, I took August off, not just from Walker, but from horses.

Here are a few things I love about not riding my horse or any horse:


I have some.  In fact, I have lots of it.  Oodles of it.  

I never realized just how much time I actually spent riding and at the barn.  Now, even if I come home late from work, there are still hours - HOURS - left in the evening.

I can read more.  Bake more.  Walk more.  Learn more.  

Do more.


I have some.

Even though Walker is sick, I somehow am in the clear better than when I was riding.

Why?  Well, I also got a raise and moved Walker to a cheaper barn.

But I also don't buy magical tack that I expect to make Walker a glorious warmblood stallion or myself Ian Miller.

I haven't spent money on lessons.  I haven't spent money on equine massages or new gloves or horsey magazines.

I don't spend money because when your horse is lounging in a field and you're lounging on the couch, there's really no reason to shell out except for the day to day, unavoidable expenses.

And finally:

Quality Time With My Main Man.

Now that Walker needs minimal supervision from me (and I do mean, minimal), I can actually enjoy him.

I can stand in the sunshine in his beautiful field and just chill out with him.  And he will munch his grass or trot over to me or nuzzle my hair.

There's no rush to wipe away grime that he no longer attracts, or rush to tack, ride, untack, repeat so that I can get home to eat, sleep, repeat.

Don't get me wrong, I miss it.  Of course, I miss it.  

But not riding is kind of like a cheat day on a diet.  You know you're going to go back to the diet the next day, so for the meantime, you might as well wash your deep fried fish and chips down with beer.

It's kind of fun being lazy.

Like moths to a flame

No, this isn't a story about a barn fire.  

But this is a story about a fire and the cutest little dog there ever was.

The apartment building next to mind caught fire this past weekend.  I have never been so close to a fire before, and let me tell you, it was a scary experience.

I got home from the barn and saw some smoke coming out a window.  It was big enough that I knew something was on fire, but small enough that I assume it was a minor kitchen fire that someone was in the process of putting out.

But before I could go into my apartment building, I heard people screaming and I ran over to see what was going on.

In the course of 10-15 minutes, the fire went from being just a bit of smoke to flames shooting out the window and eating the siding off the building.

At this point, only one lone policeman was there.  One lady was hysterical, utterly hysterical, running around the building screaming that she was losing all her belongings.  Meanwhile, another girl was screaming because her dog was still inside.

So one brave young guy tried to run into the building to get the dog, but there was so much smoke that he only made it to the bottom of the stairs before being forced to come back out.

So the next thing I see, he is on the shoulders of the one policeman.  He punches out the window to the apartment, climbs through, and passes the dog out to the policeman before leaping out himself, all while flames are shooting out the back of the building.

It was seriously impressive and brave.

And of course for a good cause.  Because wouldn't you save this face?

No, I didn't kidnap the puppy.  Although I wanted to.  I let the girl take the dog into my apartment and calm down while the fire continued to rage on outside.

By the time the firemen got there, there was so much smoke that I could barely find my way the 15 feet back to my own apartment building and seriously thought that I was going to have to save the cat and evacuate.

Anyway, this whole experience has really got me to thinking.  

One, that fires are scary.  

Two, that I should probably check my fire alarm since apparently these apartment buildings go up like matches.  

And three, I need a puppy.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Same Love

Walker has found a new boyfriend.

He believes that all love is equal.

That is all.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Stud Muffin

No.  This post is not actually about Walker, who does, in fact, think he's a stud muffin.

This post is about the Fair near my house.  I went home last weekend to visit and the Fair was going on.  It's a full-blown agricultural fair and I love it.  They have some light horse stuff - barrel racing, pole bending, games - but most of the horse stuff is draft horse stuff - four in hand, six in hand, horse hauling, etc.

Anyway, apparently one day, a five-year old Percheron stud got loose from his stall.

And went on a breeding rampage, breeding four mares.

They had to block him in one of the barns, and from the people who were telling me this story, it sounded like a war in there as they tried to catch him.

Apparently they went after him with shovels and everything they could to get him away from the other horses (read: mares) who were freaking out, not to mention all the people (some of which were probably un-horsey, innocent spectators) who at this point were trapped in the barn with him.

Picture it: a giant (and I mean giant) five year old Percheron stud galloping through a barn full of straight stalls with confined mares and idiot spectators dodging the bone-crushing hooves of a trapped stallion.

Never a dull moment with horses.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Walker and I are both loving the new barn.  It is doing everything for him that I thought it would.  He is more comfortable on the soft grass, and his feet - those feet that the vet said would never be anything but dry and chipping from inflammation - are now suddenly smooth.

Most importantly of all, Walker's happiness has shot through the roof.  He is back to the happy-go-lucky horse who loves life.  Towards the end at my last barn, he would stand still in his stall with his head in a corner and he would stand still in the pasture without moving.

Here, he is back to bouncing around, causing mayhem and mischief, and loving life.  My barn owner - the saint - has left his window knocked out until winter because it gives him such great joy to poke his head out.

Supermodel pose
I also don't worry about him running around on the grass because it is literally that soft.  I mean, it is the softest ground I've ever seen.  I can now understand why my barn owner won't put them in some of the fields if it is raining because even when it's dry, it's still super moist.

As for me, I feel almost zero need to go to the barn, which in its own way is a good thing.  Of course I still go out to check on him, but for the first time since I've had him, I don't feel like I need to.  

He is getting excellent care by someone who is as observant as a hawk, and with the pads on his feet, I don't even really need to pick them out.  Because he's 100% off work for a few months, there's absolutely nothing I can do, and there's nothing I feel like I need to do other than chill out in the sunshine in a beautiful field with my horse.

And of course start taking lessons on another horse, which is in the works.  I actually am starting to have some faith that if I stayed here long term, I would be able to start working Walker too.  But one step at a time.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

In a Hurricane

I apologize for the radio silence this past week. It has been a whirlwind.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was planning to move Walker by the end of the month.

Well, the end of the month came about two days ago when my new barn owner's horse suddenly colicked and had to be put down.

Suddenly she had a lonely, screaming, herdbound 27 year old horse on her hands.  She called and asked if I could come early.  I said, "Yeah.  When?  Like the weekend?"  She said, "How about an hour?"

So I did.

Surprisingly, I actually found a lovely man to trailer my horse with that much notice.  Walker, being a super pro, hopped on the trailer with no fuss, hopped off the trailer with no fuss, took one look at his new digs and was like, "This will do, human."  Then he promptly threw his head in the grass and began his new life.

He could adjust in a hurricane.

He and his new barn mate, Kayden, are also starting to get along.  I was slightly nervous that Walker might try to dominate the 27 year old, even though he has been out with older horses before.  I should have known better.  Kayden squealed and stomped his feet when Walker came up to him at first, so Walker was like, "Whatever, dude."  And walked away.

As of today, they are both officially turned out in the same pasture and quite content.

My barn owner seems to like him, even though he decided to do a bit of redecorating.  The screen window was cramping his style so he punched it out to create a room with a view.

He also insists that supper be fed at exactly the time that he was fed at the old barn, which is about an hour earlier than my new barn owner is used to.  Walker, being a persistent fellow, has convinced Kayden that this is a great plan, and so the two of them stand at the gate until my barn owner takes pity and comes out early.

I've tried to impress upon my barn owner that Walker is all gelding and not to leave things too close to his stall, but he has already made that clear himself.  He has already pulled everything off his stall door every night, and he has slowly been ripping the paint off the counter nearby.

My barn owner's response: "I didn't really like the green paint anyway".