Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, May 19, 2013

In the Arena #145 - Someday is today...

I've kept up with your blogs dear readers, but have neglected my own. I have taken stacks of pictures and written numerous posts that stayed in the draft pile, but stopped short of hitting the publish button. The day to day details seemed trivial while I've been wrestling with the bigger picture.

Here's my attempt at catching up. Organized somewhat randomly, and hopefully not too incoherent.

Gardening requires lots of water, most of it in the form of perspiration...

The time I haven't spent in the saddle this spring, I have spent in the garden. I attempt to grow organically, so keeping everything weed and bug free is time super consuming. Plus "we" make all the dirt. The garden beds are filled solely with composted manure that I haul, turn and rotate in and out of four giant composting piles. It is good dirt - for reals.

The proudest accomplishment of this year's garden efforts so far is (drum roll....) carrots.

carrots are the feathery ones

Miniscule seeds sprout into delicate seedlings which must be thinned repeatedly (are un-transplantable) and the darn things can't tolerate any weeds. These better be the best (insert the f-bomb here) carrots in the history of the world. They're already the most expensive.

Also planted squashes, gourds,  cantelopes, eggplants, cucumbers, beans, sugar snaps, greens, beets, radishes, peppers, herbs and of course tomatoes. The tomato total is eighteen, a considerable cut back from years past. All heirlooms - red, yellow, chocolate, purple and green. (!)

various beans

sugar snaps... yum - vegetable candy

squashes, cukes, cantelopes - hoping for vertical growth

greens, tomatoes, basil - all waiting for the sun

Still in the honeymoon phase of this years efforts - check back in when the temperature manages to stay above 70 degrees and the mosquitoes arrive.

Putting our best foot forward...

The farrier was here not too long ago. Great news - my interim trimming minimized Val's usual flare, and the white line / separation issues have resolved. Success ! :D

my trim

I got more instruction from W - this time focusing on hoof balance. My conclusion is that you can read all the books you want about how to trim hooves, but every horse is different. Their anatomy, conformation and movement habits are individual. Experience is so important when deciding how to trim. So is knowing your horse well.

Thankfully - W is very encouraging. I have so much appreciation now for what a difficult job being a farrier is. Working on Val, I get all trembly, my back cramps up,  and I pour out sweat, as much from nerves as anything. Can't imagine trimming multiple horses every day...

We also found the exit hole from the abscess. Bonus! It was located underneath (caused by?) a large toe callous. What a relief to know the source of the mystery lameness. What a relief to not be an abscess virgin any longer. I can whip out a duct tape - diaper booty with the best of them now.

 If you haven't got anything nice to say... (an excuse for not posting)

Val was out of commission for six weeks from his mystery lameness (now not so mysterious.) Then it rained for most of six weeks. Lack of sunshine and persistent cold windy conditions had me losing my mind just a little. I might have gotten in touch with my inner Haagen Daz lover. Bad news for rocking my breeches. Hello power walks.

Last year this time we were riding so much. The last month it's been hard to get two rides in per week. Now I have to build Val back up - slowly. The lack of work decimates his topline. He gets hollow behind the withers and our saddle fit goes to hell. It's like we're starting over, again. I get discouraged and feel like whining... then I think about friends, blogging and real world, who are facing serious illnesses, loss of soundness and end of the life decisions with their partners.

Recently I got the sad news that Teddy, a favorite tb schoolmaster from my former trainer's barn, is not long for the world. He's thirty now, and not coming into the spring well, after a move to upstate New York from SE Virginia. Medical issues plagued him over the winter, and he's getting bullied in turn out. Breaks my heart.

I learned more from Teddums than any other horse I've ever sat on. A plain bay 14.3 thoroughbred, too little for the track, he was kind and unflappable, but infuriating. He would not respond to anything except the correct aid. Unless he heard my trainer and she didn't spell the request. I spent many lessons (nearly in tears) where getting him out of the arena corner by the gate (staring longingly at his mares) was the only accomplishment. I also sat my first (and likely only) piaffe on him.

If that wasn't enough - my former boarder, sweet, funny handsome Cowboy, suffered a serious colic last week, likely a casualty of the crazy inappropriate weather. His gut twisted, and the six hour long trip to emergency medical care came too late. He had to be put down at NC State.

RIP Cowboy. I hope you are enjoying top herd status, first dibs on the eats, and freedom from cruelty, ignorance and neglect. After everything you went through down here, you deserve it.

These events have forced me to reassess my equestrian goals and priorities. Top of the list is take nothing for granted. To enjoy and make the most of the time I have with my horse, because none of it is guaranteed. To get out of my comfort zone and overcome the fears that are holding me back.

Someday is today.

Light at the end of the tunnel...

I spent my birthday (so old now...) last Sunday doing something very exciting and thankfully horse related - the culmination of eighteen months of researching and organizing. Details to come in my next post.

there has been some saddle time



  1. So sorry for the sad news on Cowboy and Teddy.

    Thank goodness the Mystery Lameness is over!

  2. Its great to hear from you again. It sounds like you have your challenges -- but that you are equal to them, as well. I'm gaining weight as well -- working a plane ride away from home, sitting in an apartment by myself afer work, no exercise, eating... I need to get motivated as well.

  3. Love both of your faces in the last picture! :)

    I've always wanted to grow cherry tomato's!!! I need hubby to build something that the dogs can't get into :)

  4. Annette -

    I was hoping you'd stop by.

    I have an aversion to google + insisting on using my name on the interwebs. There was a stalkerish person in my life that I don't want to invite back. Just wanted to say that I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you and Brett in your house / farm search. If you want to trade emails to keep up, I'm down with that. xianleigh(at)earthlink(dot) net

  5. I'm happy to hear Val is doing so well and also that the trimming is coming along so good too. So sorry to hear about Cowboy and Teddy.

    You're gardens look beautiful but I'm sure it's a lot of work to keep them weed free. I hate weeds.

    Great pictures and I'd like to wish you a ver Happy Belated Birthday! Am looking forward to your news about what you did to celebrate.

  6. Those gardens look fantastic and so do Val's feet, well done. It's great that you have such a good farrier who is willing to work with you like that.

  7. Your gardens are truly a thing of beauty, especially the carrots. ;)

    So sad to hear about Cowboy, and also Teddy. Cowboy was so cute.

  8. sorry to hear about the loss of your horse friends, they all teach us so much no matter the duration in our lives.

    But your hard work is paying off in the glorious garden! I know it is a lot of work, but I am so envious. I cannot find a way to reliably keep critters out, so have had to give up the garden and just haunt the farmers market.

    I am anxiously awaiting your new adventure. I think getting out of your comfort zone is one of the hardest things to do. I think some of my greatest moments come from that, but it doesn't make it much easier the next time!

  9. :( Sorry for your sad news. Hope you get lots more riding time and that garden continues to grow and grow!

  10. Sorry to hear about Cowboy and Teddy. As you pointed out, sometimes these sad events bring us back to focus on the positives that we have in our lives and that we shouldn't take anything for granted.

    What a relief to know what the mysterious lameness was! Val will be back to his old self in no time, I bet.

    p.s. Your garden looks fab!

  11. So sorry to hear about the horses and hope they are living large in the next place!

    My veggie gardens look pretty good but the beds with flowers - oh, dear. I have let it all get away from me again and it is already a jungle out there!!

    Hope your new adventure, whatever it is, brings lots of happiness to your life. :)

  12. Good catch up! Your garden looks great. Glad the lameness is solved and god weather has to be on the way now - onwards and upwards.
    So sorry to read about Cowboy and Teddy. Puts things in perspective.
    I'm looking forward to reading about your birthday. Hope you had a happy one and a great yer ahead!

  13. nice veg garden. as a garden geek myself, wanted to make a couple of comments. We actually start our carrots in the small seed starter cell packs, due to a short season - one per cell, and they transplant nicely if you are careful. we have been told by several people not to thin carrots, as the smell of pulling out the thinned seedlings causes the carrot maggot fly to zero in on your crop. we were told to plant carrots far apart at the start. hope this is helpful.

  14. Mo -

    I did space the carrot seeds out the recommended amount, but couldn't seem to plant only one seed in each hole, so that's where the thinning came in.

    Definitely will start in cell packs next year - planting tiny seeds at eye level will surely help. Direct seeding is for the birds. ;D

    Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Soooo very sorry to hear about Teddy and Cowboy. Sometimes spring is a very rough season. Sometimes it can just plain slay you.

    Your gardens sure look good. No, great.

    I agree about the feet: people can make generalizations that might help generally, but each horse if different. People who are certain they have all the answers just do not!

  16. I'm so sorry to hear about Cowboy and Teddy. Horses have a long life span compared to some animals, but it still seems too short.

    Your garden is looking lovely! The nice thing about Heirlooms is that you usually get volunteer seedlings the next year from the fruits that hit the ground. Free plants are the best!

    I trim my mini horse myself, but the rest I leave up to my farrier. I have always had the utmost respect for good farriers, because they really do have to be so knowledgeable and adaptable. There are so many bad farriers who just apply a "one size fits all" attitude, but the good ones look at every horse as an individual and can size up their conformation, biomechanics and hoof morphology in just a few minutes. It's amazing. I actually rely on my farrier more than my vet! (but don't tell my vet that :P)

  17. Glad to see you back. Sorry that some of your news is sad. Keep us posted!

  18. Gosh, I Know What You Mean About Living In The Moment, Not Getting Ahead Of Yourself And Appreciating Every Day. ( My Take In Words)
    Life, Weather, Health Of Our Horses, Us...Can Change With The Wind. I Get Down With The Hard
    Let Downs, But Relative To
    Permanent Loss, I've Got It Good.
    I'm Reassessing Too...What Is Important?

    Your Gardens - Awesome! I've
    Done Classic Blunders. I Totally
    Just Dumped My"Kerrits" Seeds
    Into The Ground!

    My Heart Is Sad For Cowboy And Teddy. TRuly Sorry.
    I'm So
    Loving On My Mare Tomorrow.

    I'm Glad You Updated Us. You Look Great With Val. What A Fine Job You've Done With His Hooves! I'm Taking Over Again With WA, Since My Health Is Getting Better. Every 2 Weeks...Save My Back!

    Okay, Peaked And Salivating....Bring On The News!


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