Monday, November 25, 2013

A Ride for the Scrapbook

Saturday's ride was the kind of ride where Casey looked at me and said, "You're going to have great stuff for your blog."

It started off innocently enough. Casey and I were excited to take our gaited horses on a ride together, Casey with Daisy for her first ride, so I saddled up Harlan Pepper and we went up the road. Daisy was prancing and peeing, but was overall really good...not spooky, didn't buck or bolt, etc.

We ended that ride fairly shortly since Casey didn't want to push Daisy too much. I stayed on and let Harlan eat grass while Casey got Gus out of the pasture and saddled him up.

Ever since he arrived, Gus has not liked people getting on. Once a rider is on he's great and shows no sign of discomfort, but having something come up and over him really freaks him out. He reacts the same way to his winter blanket, so it's not just that he doesn't like being ridden.

So anyway, I moved Harlan up to block Gus's path so that when Casey got on he couldn't bolt...except that he wheeled around, bucked, and bolted, throwing Casey off. She was fine other than landing on a rock, but that bleeping pony took off down the road.

Here's what I don't understand. If I were a fat pony and just bucked off my rider, I would a) run back to the barn or b) run back to my pasture. Not Gus. Gus ran AWAY from comfort.

Harlan and I trotted after him, hoping to catch up and grab his reins.That stinker just kept going...I got close a couple times, enough that my fingertips grazed his fur and then he was off again. At one point I jumped off hoping I could get Gus that way. Nope.

When Casey finally caught up to us on foot, Gus was in somebody's backyard. She went around one side and Harlan and I went around the other. We each took a step and stopped. Took a step and stopped. Took a step and stopped. Until fiiiinally, Casey was able to grab Gus. I helped her get on, then looked around for something to stand on so I could get back on Harlan.

Reenactment #2
I found a little retaining wall and tried to get Harlan lined up so I could get on. After a little bit of dancing around I attempted to get on. I swung my leg over, he moved, and I kept on going, right off the other side.

I was wearing so much clothing (jeans, Carhartt overalls, two sweatshirts, and a helmet) that I landed softly and just laid there in someone's driveway laughing hysterically. Poor Harlan had no idea what was happening, but he stood patiently and waited for his lady to get her senses back.

The ride was uneventful after that. I told Casey I had fallen off so she didn't feel bad, so let's maintain that story, shall we? It's been a few years since I've fallen off, so I suppose it was time. I am very impressed with Harlan's reaction to my acrobatics (or lackthereof) and even just his whole demeanor while Daisy was her high-energy self. I love this guy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

What's in a Name, and Other Odds and Ends

The thought has been tumbling in the back of my head since I brought Renegade home that I wanted to rename him. I have hesitated because he responds to his name and so many people know and love him as Renegade.

However, when we (my partner at the time and I) adopted Hobbes his name was Dakota, and his previous owner said that other folks had tried renaming him but he wouldn't respond. Yet he didn't take very long to get used to Hobbes and now knows his new name very well. I like to think he associates it with better times than when he was Dakota since he has obviously had some rough times in his past.

I don't think Renegade has had rough times, but I love the idea of starting fresh with a clean slate. A new home, a new person, a new name. 

SO, Renegade is now Harlan Pepper!

Not only is that a character from one of my favorite movies (Best in Show), Renegade/Harlan's registered name is Renegade's Shock and Awe.  A quick internet search revealed that Shock and Awe was developed as a military tactic by Harlan Somethingorother. (Finding out his registered name also reinforces the need for a name change; technically he's Renegade Jr....gross.) Throw in that he's salt and pepper colored, and it's a fit. For some reason it just works!

Now all he needs is a bloodhound named Hubert and he can go catch a big fish. (movie reference)

In other news:

- In a spectacularly terrible coincidence, Daisy Mae choked on grain last night...just a few short weeks after Casey's other pony Gus did the same thing. Gus' choke resolved on its own, although we did have the vet come out because it was both my and Casey's first experience with a horse choking and we had no idea what to do. Daisy on the other hand definitely required assistance from the vet via a tube up her nose to clear the obstruction. Luckily both Gus and Daisy are fine, but we are going to have to rig something up that makes them slow down while eating grain.

- I bought a rat trap (basically a giant mouse trap) and have caught/killed 5 rats. Wednesday morning I found 3 rats drowned in a water tub in the tack room. With the original ROUS, the body count is at 9. NINE RATS. What is the point of having 3 cats if they're going to let rats run rampant around the barn??

- Hattie is back and settled in. She and Gus are in their own little pasture and have quickly become thick as thieves. They are just abominably cute together.

- Last Friday I drove down to New Hampshire with Shalegh to pick up Reese, the pirate pony formerly known as Piper, and deliver her back to Lupine Farm. The surgery was very successful; the surgeon removed everything, placed a silicon ball in the socket, and sewed it shut so that it just looks like she has her eye closed. It was pretty Frankensteinian with a temporary gauze stent sewed in when we picked her up, but it has since been removed and looks very natural. Shalegh and Reese have a learning process ahead of them as they figure out how to navigate the world and each other, but Shalegh reports that Reese is in good spirits and has been a "little cuddle bun". If you can, please consider donating to Reese's vet bills.

- Deno reports that Cooper is gradually settling in to his new home. Best wishes to both of them!

- As of right now we're slated to get 8-14" of snow next Tuesday. Yippee.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Riding Miss Daisy

If you can't tell by now, horse people don't go without horses for very long.

Sunday found Casey and me once again taking the trailer along to a Maine Mounted Search and Rescue meeting. From there we went to pick up a little gaited mare named Daisy Mae.

Daisy Mae is short, fat, and sassy. Her owner has become afraid to ride her and has spoiled her relentlessly while not giving her any work to do for a few y ears. Daisy is used to being an only child and dominant over her owner, but she has the showings of a good horse. She and Casey instantly had a really great connection, which helped Casey get through the many bucks when she tried Daisy out last weekend!

Daisy is reportedly a good trail horse and has a big motor, which will help her keep up with Renegade. She is responsive to Casey and learns quickly. Plus she's stinkin' cute! Casey decided to give Daisy a try and work with her before committing to buy her.

Right now Daisy is relearning how to be a horse. It's the classic riches to rags story...the beautiful but spoiled princess who suddenly finds herself the lowliest of the low, forced to work alongside the peons. Daisy got a rude awakening when Renegade wouldn't submit to her and is wary of Tanner even though he hasn't so much as given her a cross look. She no longer gets a "Christmas tree" of hay in a hay bag with apple and orange slices as ornaments...she has to eat what the peasants eat: hay on the ground and grain twice a day. She isn't blanketed 24/7.

We're not completely heartless though. She still gets stalled at night while the boys remain loose. She gets carrots and pats. She gets her hay put far away so the boys don't chase her away from it.

However the worst is yet to come...this weekend Casey will start asking her to actually work, including the great indignity of being ridden. Hopefully this will be a story with a happy ending...the princess will have an epiphany and realize that her life was meaningless before and now gained the invaluable wisdom that comes with hard work.

Oozing sass

Funny aside: I came across Amanda's blog via a Facebook thread about something else completely, and quickly discovered through blatant stalking that she had been the person before me to see Renegade! She lost her Tennessee Walker recently (and beautifully captured the process on her blog), and is ready to let another horse into her life.  She also looked at Daisy but decided she wasn't the right fit. So now I feel like BB Acres is the repository for Amanda's cast offs! Just kidding, but it's a small world, ain't it?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Help Needed

Last night Reese (formerly known as Piper), a BB Acres alumna, had a terrible accident. A tie snapped and rebounded, hitting her in the eye. Reese is currently in New Hampshire at an equine surgery center with her owner Shalegh by her side. Unfortunately they will have to remove the eye and Reese has a long road ahead of her.

We recently had a health scare with Gus when he choked on his food, so it's been on my mind a lot about what it would be like if something major and tragic were to occur to any of my animals.  A couple months after I adopted Finch she chewed up a bottle of Excedrin...she had to have her stomach pumped and stay the weekend at the emergency vet's. Luckily my parents were able to help pay the bill; otherwise I don't know what I would have done, only that Finch would get the treatment no matter what.

Shalegh and Reese are facing much higher bills. If you are able, please consider donating to Reese's recovery. I think all of us animal lovers fear being in this position. There is never any question of getting medical care or not...we get that for our animals and worry about how to pay later. So if you can, even just a little help can go a long way.

Farm Family Fund for Reese's Recovery

In the short time that Shalegh has had Reese she has formed a strong bond with her, something I was never able to do.   I am so so grateful that they have each other to get through this.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Lots of changes are headed our way! Mostly exciting, except for the fact that winter is looming.

- Cooper goes to a new home tomorrow. Casey rode Gus last weekend and that was that...she wants something smaller and peppier for herself. She grew up riding hot-headed Morgans and Saddlebreds and she misses that excitement, plus Coops is on the big side (for her). So she is searching for the perfect horse while Cooper's new owner Deno gets to enjoy his laidback and easygoing personality.

- Hattie comes back on Saturday. Her second shepherding gig has also failed. She is just too playful for the sheep owners' tastes so back she comes. I will say that although I enjoyed the quiet feeding times, I do miss her loud, obnoxious greeting and excitement to see me.  She will chill out at the farm indefinitely, unless the perfect situation for her comes up.

- Poof is probably a permanent Blonde Bomber. After an expensive vet visit, I found out that she is a spayed female around 8 years old with an ear infection and underweight, but otherwise healthy. Her prospective home was hoping for a younger cat, and Poof and Skitters are actually getting along now, so she'll probably stay. She is so sweet that it's hard not to love her.

- BB Acres is getting another human resident. Friend and coworker Julie found herself in need of a place to live, and however much I love my hermitude, I knew we would have a blast living together. We have the kind of relationship where we can say "Go away, I need alone time" to each other, and call each other out on passive aggressive behavior. Plus, she's pretty much going to be my indentured servant. She LOVES to cook and do projects around the house...she came over earlier this week and walked out saying stuff like, "OOH OOH, we could do [insert project here]!!" Which means my walls might finally get done! Hallelu! She's also strawberry blonde...if she was brunette I'd probably have to say no, but luckily she fits the Blonde Bomber type.

So Julie will be joining the farm at the end of the month. She is an animal person, which is good since she will be bringing her two cats with her, meaning we will be a five cat household, in addition to the 2 dogs, 2 horses, 1 pony, 1 donkey, and 2 ducks. I think we will have officially crossed the line into crazy cat lady territory.

And that's that! We're headed back to the beach on Sunday for some more fun in the surf with the ponies.