Are you still playing horse?

This 40-year old woman relaxes as her alter ego, Shyanne. All I can think is, she must be a good candidate for a bitless bridle!

This 40-year old woman relaxes as her alter ego, Shyanne. All I can think is, she must be a good candidate for a bitless bridle!

When I watch my friend’s girls canter, horseless, around the pasture or in their driveway, I can remember how I used to while away the hours pretending to be riding my imaginary horse as a child.

I don’t recall pretending to be a horse, but I probably did that, too.

However, I haven’t had any inclination in more recent years to dress up as a horse. This is not the case with an Australian woman named Leanne, who has created an alter ego in the form of a pony named Shyanne. The 40 year old finds it relaxing to dress up as a pony (complete with saddle, bridle and fake hooves) and even, on occasion, pulls her a cart “driven” by a friend.

All I can think when I see this picture is that she’s a good candidate for a bitless bridle.

No wonder people think horsepeople are strange!

 

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Don’t drink the goldfish!

Goldfish

Apparently goldfish flavored water is quite delicious. Or maybe it’s the squirming fish at the bottom of the bucket?

This morning the forecast was rain . . . and I found a dead mouse floating in the water tank. These were both signs from above that I should drain and clean the tank since the water collecting from the drain pipes would fill it without any effort on my part.

I carefully removed the existing water and put our goldfish (aka the eaters of mosquito larvae) into a bucket full of water. I stored the bucket in the middle of the tank where they would be safe.

I left Curly and Zelda out in the field with an entirely full tank of water in back of the barn.

A few hours later I returned to fill the tank manually since there had been no rain. I discovered the goldfish in a bucket that had been almost completely drained of water. No, those silly horses didn’t drink from the clean, full tank in the back of the barn; instead they had sipped away at the goldfish bucket until those poor fish had only just enough water to stay afloat. Thank goodness the horses hadn’t tipped over the bucket. Nope, they had delicately sipped from it until the water was almost gone.

Imagine how those fish felt as the water slurped around them!

Note to self: if I take Zelda off property and need her to drink, I should bring some goldfish along to add to the water. It will make her feel right at home!

 

Suffolk Downs Open House Sept. 27

Freedom hunt

Freedom says that OTTBs from Suffolk Downs make awesome hunt horses! Here he is after the hunt last Saturday.

It’s official: with the “no” on the casino from the Gaming Commission, Suffolk Downs officials have announced that the track will close for good at the end of this meet on October 4th.

CANTER New England has stepped up to help trainers find good placements for the 100-plus horses on the backside that trainers can’t carry through the winter. CANTER is hosting an open house at Suffolk on Saturday Sept. 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. so that prospective buyers can visit the backstretch barns and meet the horses in search of homes. There will be CANTER volunteers on site to assist with lining up transportation resources, to escort buyers on their search for trainers and available horses and to answer any questions about the transition process from track to farm life.

As part of this re-homing effort CANTER New England is pleased to announce that Dover Saddlery will provide buyers purchasing a Thoroughbred from Suffolk that day with a starter kit that includes a halter, lead rope and a gift certificate to the Dover Saddlery. Dover Saddlery has been a longtime supporter of CANTER New England and many associated with the store have purchased horses from Suffolk Downs in the past.

If you have been considering an OTTB but have been hesitating–now is the time to move!  There will be SCORES of horses for sale — check out the link to the Open House Flyer and you will be amazed at some of the lovely prospects that are available at incredibly reasonable prices.

Most of all, CANTERNE asks you to SHARE THE NEWS with fellow horse lovers!  Many horses will need homes and we need your support to help all of them.  Let’s make this into a happy ending for the horses!

New friends

Alpaca

This fellow was the most curious of the bunch. The question is, was he having a good hair day? Or a bad one?

This morning’s hunt started from an Alpaca farm. The Alpacas appeared last year — when Freedom first saw them his eyes got as round as saucers. At first he was too startled to move and then he proved that he could back up very, very fast.

I wasn’t able to hunt today — work got in the way! But I did stop by in the morning to see the riders off.

I was amazed by how brave the horses were this year. Not a single one ran or the hills.

Jass and the Alpaca

Jazz was fascinated by the Alpaca. Especially when he realized they could move. He stood his ground although there was a whole lot of snorting going on.

Back to summer

Great Brook

The leaves are just starting to turn. It seems very early this year.

After the crisp cool days we’ve been having, today was nearly 80 degrees and humid. The horses are starting to get fuzzy and the heat was oppressive.

Today Freedom and I went with our friends Carol and Willow to ride at a nearby State Park. How lucky are we to live 30 minutes away from a park with riding trails and cross country jumps? Willow hasn’t had much experience trailering but Freedom is her best friend, so she traveled fine. The only area she needs to work on is backing off. She couldn’t see any reason to do that! She’s small enough that she can practically turn around in the straight stall.

We rode about 8 miles and had some nice gallops.

Great Brook Farm

We didn’t ride every trail in the park but we made a good effort! This is a very equestrian friendly park and the threat of thunderstorms kept the dog walkers at bay.

Freedom was actually tired. Hard to believe it but hunting yesterday must have sapped his energy and the heat and humidity did the rest. He still wanted to go (we’ve ridden there quite a bit and he knows where he is “supposed” to canter) but he was also willing to walk on a long rein.

Although it is completely unlike me, I will also admit that I was pretty tired by the end of the ride. My lower back was aching and I was ready to get off! Sure sign that I’m getting older. A few years ago, it wouldn’t have bothered me at all.

Freedom hunts today

Freedom before the cast

This is the calm before the storm. He is always completely relaxed and focused while we wait for the field to gather. He stays calm right until the hounds are cast . . . and then he takes off like a rocket.

Today was Freedom’s turn to hunt. I took him out and galloped him a couple of times this week in preparation and figured he was as ready as he was going to be.  I love the territory we hunted today. It’s not a long hunt, but it’s very pretty, ending along a small pond that frames the hounds and the field perfectly.

Zelda got to hunt, too. my friend Suzanne’s horse is off and I thought she’d enjoy taking Zelda out. It was too nice a day to not

Suzanne on Sugar

Zelda got to hunt today too — with my friend Suzanne. Many of you readers may know her from her blog — Confessions of an AA Event Rider & Convicted Overthinker. Her horse, Sugar, was off today.

be out hunting and I’m pleased to say that Zelda was a very good girl! Of course, that has a lot to do with the fact that Suzanne is such a nice rider.

Freedom was good too. Sure he had his Tigger moments but he was ratable and well behaved. It’s kind of fun to ride a horse that is so up hill in the way he moves. We jumped a few small fences but I think I need to take him out and let him jump on his own a few times before he will settled down and jump calmly in company.

Estabrook Road hounds

The Green line represents the drag that was laid for the hounds and the other colors track the routes of the individual hounds.

The hounds were wearing new tracking collars today. It’s very cool because you can now see where the scent was laid (in green) and how the hounds hunted. Other than a few side trips to explore some special scents, they did a good job of staying on track.

Here are the hounds, staff and field coming back from the hunt.

A little pre-hunt excitement

It was a beautiful, cool morning — perfect for hunting. Zelda was obviously feeling a bit excited about the prospect of hunting, so I turned her out to get her sillies out. She really enjoys running around in her field and her friend, Curly, got into it too. You’d never guess that Curly is 22, would you?

Thanks to Suzanne who had her camera with her and was able to take these great photos. I’m sure she was glad to see Zelda get her bucks out as she was the one riding her in the hunt.

 

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Fresh hay

fresh mown hay

They are haying the fields in our town. With any luck, this is the hay that will be going into my loft soon. The smell of the freshly mown hay is delicious as you ride by. I’m surprised Freedom didn’t want to stop for a snack. You miss all those delightful scents when you’re in a car.