Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, July 11, 2011

In the Arena # 83 - Few and far between

From the Farmette # 4 - Moving day and lessons from the otter

Val is getting a heat + footing + busy-ness related break this week. I'm bummed. I really want to be posting about making progress with my horse. The way things are looking - riding time will be hard to come by for the next little while.

It's been too miserable to ride any time except the evenings. The arena footing is still atrocious even after our first decent rain came last Friday, which would have been cool enough to ride except it was pouring all day.

Our farrier got rained out on Friday, so had to cram everyone on the island in on Saturday. I think he was hurrying. Val and Cowboy were sore, and both of them complained during the trim, which doesn't usually happen. The part where W. uses the nippers seemed like it pained them some. He claimed that it was because of the rain, that their feet were soft. I wondered if one day of rain after over two months of no rain (in a sand paddock) would have that effect... I gave Val some bute that night and the next morning, but didn't feel good about riding him.

So instead of riding I took the tractor up to the farm Saturday afternoon, hoping I could drag the arena, and maybe compact it some as well, but (apparently) we need even more rain to firm the sand up enough - the tractor nearly got very stuck. To avoid having to pull it out with my truck, I had to rock the tractor back and forth for seventy five feet or so to creep over to the firmest part of the arena and escape. Fun. It was quite a sight. (and sound) Val actually left his shady hay sanctuary to check me out with curious eyes and ears. He could probably hear my cursing over the tractor noise. Yes, I am a potty mouth.

Along with visiting family obligations, the arrangements relating to with my future living quarters have occupied every extra minute since last week. However, there is good great news on that front. We moved the trailer to the farmette Sunday morning. Although fraught with snags, semi-emergencies and multiple last minute changes of plans - picture a combo of The Beverly Hillbillies + The Three Stooges and you'll be close. Only one flat tire. At one point I had envisioned a doomsday scenario of breaking down in the middle of our only highway, blocking all traffic and needing some type of major league equipment to clear up the mess...  No worries, we were ultimately successful.

Hooked up and ready to roll

Backing all the way up the street
On the road again (after we fixed the flat)

Only five miles to go

Almost there

Home sweet home

Today I spent the entire day underneath the trailer (in the dirt) with jacks and large (heavy as hell) chunks of 8x8 shimming the trailer up for level and proper height for access to the septic tank - IMPORTANT! Thank goodness that task is done. I believe that the trailer's nickname shall be "The Shimmy Shack" :)

I am getting the sense that my control freak / type A / ocd tendencies are really going to be challenged through this moving / life change transition I'm embarking on. And that was an understatement :)


I had a delightful visitor on my early morning dog walks this week. A sea otter. Otters are some of my most favorite creatures - in close competition with any type of monkey (primate)! ;) He seemed to be curious about me as I took these pictures, at one point coming within a couple of feet, standing up to get a better look. It was still pretty dark, so I'm super happy that any of the photos came out.

Otters are seem to be so happy. Even when they are doing their "work" - hunting and fishing, they find a way to enjoy themselves - indulging in frequent play breaks. Lighthearted and joyful - they know how to live :)


  1. I really like otters. They're so playful and happy, content with their lives and whatever nature throws at them. We could all learn a lesson from otters, I think.

    Good luck with your transition. I know it seems daunting to a control freak, but living with your horses makes it all worth-while. There is something so sublime about waking up in the morning and looking over your farm and your horses, feeding in your jammies with your morning coffee in hand and having horses be the last thing you see when you close your eyes at night. I've sacrificed a lot of things I thought were "necessary" in order to have my horses at home, and I can tell you it is so worth it!

  2. I've got to agree with you about otters, they are one of my favorites. Just so cute and playful all the time, I'll bet there's never been a depressed otter.

    So glad you're making progress getting your "Shimmy Shack" ready to go...the septic tank is a big plus.

    Sorry you're not getting any ride time in but if his feet are sore I wouldn't have either. And this hot weather isn't much fun either. Maybe next week will be better.

  3. Congratulations on getting your home set up! It will all be worth it in the end - keep reminding yourself of that. It's another journey, right?

  4. The Shimmy Shack looks fab! When's the house warming?? ;-) You cannot look at an otter and not smile.
    They are pretty close to the top of my adorable list. Have you seen this??

  5. From what I can see and what you've written it really sounds like a wonderful spot to put your roots in. Someday you will be able to look back on this experience and hopefully smile and giggle at all the trials and tribulations. Hugs to Val!

  6. Um yeah, one month of rain could make your horse sore, one day of rain- not so much. I wonder if he trimmed into their soles or took off too much frog...

    Congrats on the shimmy shack!

  7. Shannon-

    Thanks for the lovely comment. You make living with my horse sound even more wonderful than I had envisioned :)

  8. GHM -

    Let's hope we both get more riding time next week :)

  9. Annette-

    Thanks! Delayed gratification has never been my strong suit, but I'm learning. :)

  10. Wolfie-

    Oh gracious - I hadn't seen that completely precious video. Makes me love otters even more! Thanks for the link :)

  11. Mary -
    It is a wonderful spot. Completely worth working towards living there. :)

  12. smazourek-

    That's what I thought too - about the rain I mean.

    It looked like he went kind of short in the toe.. that he nipped off the outer hoof a lot at a time. They looked good when he was done, but it was the middle of the day - boiling hot, and he was running behind.

    Sadly - he is my only farrier choice unless I want to travel off island several hours away...

  13. Poor Val with the ouchy feet. That makes me mad when my vet or farrier are rushed and my horses suffer. I told my new farrier to never come if he is rushed and so far so good. The vet is another story altogether. Ugh.

    I love your new digs - especially because it is on your farm. It will all be worth it to be with Val. I am jealous - I don't have to drive far, but I don't get to see the boys as much as I need to!

    I LOVE otters!!!! Joyful is the perfect word for them. If only we can learn to laugh and play like them as we work. Great photos!

  14. Awesome otters! I've always loved otters. When I was a kid I wanted a pet otter or pet Capuchin monkey hehe. :D That's so cool that you get to see them in real life. I've only seen them on T.V. so far.

    Your new house looks really good. At least the outside is pretty, so you can focus your attention on turning the inside around. It's going to be pretty cramped living quarters for a while, but you'll adjust and it'll make your new house even more awesome when you finally get it built. :) I'm happy you get to live on your farm now.

    Poor Val and Cowboy. That just isn't right. I don't think trims should ever be hurried. It makes the horses build a negative association to the whole situation. I hope they are both feeling better now. And congrats on the rain. We need some really bad here.

  15. I always hate criticizing someone's work, but I had to finally say something after one of my horses kept popping up tender after trims...farrier was a little offended, but it's our job to speak up for them.

    Congratulations on getting the "shack" moved...and yes, life changes are always good reminders that we seldom have the control we think we do over our lives...:)

  16. Sign of a good farrier/trimmer is that they tell you to BE SURE and let them know if there is any tenderness after the work is done. In this case it sounds like it was obvious if they were having issues WHILE the work was done, but if he was in a hurry maybe he didn't connect the dots in the moment.

    I know a wonderful trimmer in Suffolk that you might touch base with if you want to explore alternatives. I'm not sure she would travel to you but you never know. She's also a very good dressage rider so would understand your/Val's needs that way too. :)

    Love love love the trailer on your farm! So exciting but a big 'life event' too with lots of stress associated. I relate to the OCD'ness making it hard. It will be so worth it later on when you're settled in.

    So... inquiring minds want to know... when the house is built will this shimmy shack be perhaps a... guest house? :)

  17. I think living in the trailer is such a great idea and will be so enjoyable. I'm kind of jealous. I love cozy spaces and simple living.
    The otters are so cute. I used to love watching then in their pond at the Wildlife Park when I was a kid.
    Hope you get your arena in working order soon. You've made great progress with your riding, so don't fret about that :)

  18. Juliette-

    Glad you liked the photos :) I was so surprised and happy that a few came out. When I first saw the otter, from right over top of him while I stood on the bulkhead, I thought I was imagining things. Glad to have proof :)

  19. achieve1dream-

    I got to "pet" a monkey once, in Mexico. Actually I picked him up and got a photo taken... he promptly wrapped his little hand into my hair and YANKED a huge chunk out! He was kind of an aggro monkey - not into captivity ;)

  20. Fetlock-

    What is the story behind your thumbnail picture?!

  21. Carol-

    I'm looking forward to the simplification part of this move. Also - I'll be able to watch Val from my bed :)

  22. Sweet Otters!! I love them too, and could watch them allll day. Happy little suckers:)

    Good luck with your transition! I bet you're going to love it. Yeah, we're also supposed to have a solid week of 90 plus degrees after today, siiiiiigh.

  23. C your little flowerette change-of-pace markers are too cute!

    Wow...the "shimmy Shack"(teehehe!) will certainly give your C.F.T./ OCD pause for the cause. You had the visit from the KING OF COOL- that Otter was so adorable..I am so envious of that visit and photo op that turned out nicely!

    Well, you embark on the dream of a lifetime...take it easy and also take your "training scedule to heart..they reflect each other right now..just take it as it comes.
    With ya in thoughts and energies towards the goals!


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