Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday stills: Signs of fall

There are several signs around my county that fall is on it's way. It may not be the turning of leaves or Halloween decorations going up but a few get togethers, shows and traditions.

The Cottam horse show. We used to have this show in June but it was very hot every year on that weekend. Not to mention we couldn't have our driving show on the grass so we got the hot, open and small baseball diamond. Now we have the old riding area where the grass is green and we have plenty of shade and parking space.This is Sonota, a welsh pony owned by a lady I know named Monica. Shes a real good pony and Monica is a ton of fun to be around.

We also have several drives put on at different properties owned by members of our Carriage club. Today we were a couple towns over and went for a nice little country drive. I just got my wisdom teeth out so I decided to be a passenger/helper today instead of driving one of mine.

The poison sumac also starts to turn a bright red.

The corn starts to turn yellow. Thats Tina's pony, Larry.

The evil little ponies start to feel their oats. Boy this pony is evil. Evil, evil.

Carrie, the girl with the darker shirt on says this pony chases all her horses around and won't let them drink unless hes pre-occupied with something else. Evil.
He attemped to dump them a few times out of the carriage during our ride. Evil things come in little hooved, champagne coloured packages.
At least they are smiling and having a good time.

Fall is a lovely time of year but I hate it. Why you ask? Well because it means that Winter is just around the corner.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bobbing for apples

So not being able to do too much with Indigo since she hurt herself. It's a downer considering I was driving or riding this horse 5-6 times a week. I have been feeding her extra treats and giving her lots of grazing time in the round pen. My friend Korinne said one day we had to make Indigo bob for apples and see if she could actually get them. I had two apples and some time to kill yesterday.

Two apples + water + pail=bobbing for apples.

Indigo says: "What's this?! For me?"

She starts out snapping at the apples and completely submerged her muzzle. She got smart however. See here shes drinking the water.It's almost empty! I think I can see what my smart horse is trying to get at.

Heres a slobbery, whiskery muzzle if I ever did see one.

This is her really happy nom face. Can't you see the content look about her whole body?

I think this picture might have been specifically posed by Indigo for the wife

So she got most of the apples. What does she do to get the rest you ask?

See for yourself.

You can see the left over apple bits there in the water.
She promptly slurped up the remains.
I think the next trick I am going to teach her is to hold things in her mouth. After shes eaten things out of a pail she always has to pick it up once she has licked the whole thing thoroughly clean to her speculations to make sure not one molecule of grain is left.
So try bobbing for apples with your horse. The results are interesting. I think it's safe to say Indigo successfully conquered bobbing for apples with her own little flair.

PS: Click the images for full view. I really need to re-do my blog so you can see the images without the side bar interrupting stuff.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flies on Friday

The last days, despite the dropping temperatures the flies have been horrendous.
I thought "Oh goodee the temperature is dropping for a few days there will be less flies"
The truth was there were more. They came in swarms. Usually I put my concoction of fly sprays, wipes, repellents etc on Indigo and the others and they stop stomping for a few hours.
That is the cold hard truth about the fall. Well technically it's not fall yet but it's in the air. The flies come out in force trying to procreate as much as possible to live out the winter.

The other week I went into one of the barns I work at. No one was there. I noticed some new additions. One of these
Down the second isle a bunch of these sticky strips (but not quite as cute as mr.sticky hehe)

A few years ago a friend of mine was grooming her very goofy, troublemaker, Thoroughbred gelding. This boy is known for making mischief and misbehaving. He started to swat his tail and dance around. She smacked him with the brush she had. He did it again, she swatted him again. Finally she looked over realizing something must have been bothering him and his thin little tail to begin with was stuck strait up in the air by a sticky fly strip. She immediately laughed and cut it down. The only problem now was he had half of his tail hair glued to the strip. What to do? She tried picking it out, hours and hours with an already impatient horse was turning into a battle. She gave up and cut his tail. It never quite grew back even a few years later.

Now I wasn't there, I had a similar incident but with my own hair. If you've been hanging around reading my blog and seen any of my posts my hair is very long, very strait. About down to my belt. I was at my friends. He had these fly strips in his basement. I flopped on the couch. My hair whirled about and smack right into a friggn sticky fly strip. EEWWW!! WHY ME!? Well I remedied cutting my hair with half a bottle of vegtable oil. Came right out. Did you know vegtable oil is a wonderful cleaner? Use it to clean paintbrushes, paint spots, sticky stuff that wont come off etc. And it's cheap and more healthy than those chemical cleaners.

I laughed and cringed when I seen a roll of sticky tape right above where this Thoroughbred gelding lost his tail a few years ago. One like this.
I laughed and had to write a note on the board.
The traps are great. You may kill a few thousand flies over the summer but remember that another seventy-thousand will come to the funeral.

What is your fly management? I use fly predators and wipe/home made spray/konk.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Toadstool Tuesday: My vacation part2

Summers are always busy so I apologize for this post being so late.

It's crazy that it's been a month since I was there. It seems just like last week.

My good friend Robi came with us. He is a big nature guy and love to go on walks and collect interesting things. The last two days we were there it rained on and off. It was cold and there was a lot of bugs out and everything was soaked. One afternoon the rain stopped so we decided to go for a hike out back the property. This involves climbing a very steep hill to a path that is slippery when dry. We scrambled our way up barely only to find a whole array of interesting toadstools, fungi and moss grown overnight from the showers. (click images for full view)

Of course no trip to Wawa is complete without a visit to the Wawash. Har har har, real inventive.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday stills: transportation

Due to the recent current events with my incredibly injury prone horse, my mom getting into a car accident (Shes ok she just crunched up the side of the truck in a parking lot) and having to drive 2 days for 5 hours for a wine festival, I haven't had a chance to take much for pictures. I wanted to take a picture of my dad's iron horse. He rides it a lot. It's a Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 custom. The paint job on it is gorgeous. I love how the colours sparkle in the sun. I would take a picture right now but he headed out sometime around the crack of dawn on it as he does a lot of weekends with my mom along too.

So I will post this beauty. Our newest carriage. Well we got it last November. We use this one strictly for weddings and fancy events. It was custom built by a guy in Indiana specifically to our order. It has a roof for the passengers if need be.

It's a vis-a-ve. It's pulled by Sheba and shes a lean, mean, hay burning machine. This horse has more gas than ANY OTHER HORSE! I don't mean going fast either.
I'll enlighten you.
Yesterday she had been washed and was tied in the barn drying wile I washed Sebastian. I brought him in and as I walked through the door I caught sound of her farting, only it didn't end with the usual little pffftt of a horse. It kept going, and going, and going and I am standing there cracking up as this horse lets out the most noisy, gassy fart I have ever heard from a horse. She went on for a good 45 seconds and left me in a fit of giggles.

It's not always a good thing when we are doing weddings. They must think we feed Sheba saurkraut.
I specifically remember one time. My friends Dave and Michelle came over. Michelle was going to drive in the Harrow Fair parade with me last year. Dave went to leave and his car wouldn't start so I told him I would drive him into town and drop him off at home. Dave is a really talkative guy. Hes always joking and making up funny things. He had his dog with him sitting on the floor of the surry in the back seat. Hes just a yammering away. We had Sheba this day. Michelle and I are sitting absent mindedly in the front seat sort of half listening to what he was saying. It mustn't have been important because it wasn't the conversation we remembered it was this next thing. Sheba lets out a loooonnnnggg silent fart. Michelle and I both parted in the middle and leaned out of the sides of the surry to avoid getting hit with what we have dubbed "poopie dust" Anyone who has been around horses will know what I mean. At this point Dave suddenly goes silent, smacks his lips a few times and exclaims "Ewww, it's bitter!" with a horrible disgusted look on his face. Michelle and I knew instantly and started cracking up. So thanks to Dave, we now know what horse farts taste like.

Every February my parents head to Florida for a month and sometimes two. One year we got a big snow storm. The school buses didn't run and my car from the drifts obviously wasn't going anyplace.I sent this pic to my mom when they were gone a couple years ago. My dad is looking at it and hes like " I know it's in the driveway, but what is it?" Hahahha. I hate snow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's healing nicely

She still walks sideways. Poor piggy girl.

Tells me it's very ouchy to touch and ouchy to have it cleaned but shes an excellent patient.

Carrots make everything better.

So do apples.

Cold hosing feels realllll good after 30 seconds.

Shots suck but shes such a good girl and takes them nicer than any other horse I know.

A brand new Likit for the time she spends in the stall. Shes already figured it out and has taken a huge chunk out of it even though she can't trap it against anything. The other horses stick their heads through the window in jealousy at the extra grain she gets for her bute and new herbal worming medicine (Called Para-X by omega alpha company, it works GREAT kills every worms even tapeworms)

I could put her back outside at this point but shes pretty stiff and doesn't want to bend her head in the opposite direction. I don't want her getting pushed around and tearing her sutures open so I think she'll be inside for a week or so. Or at least until she can bend better. I put her out in the round pen for a few hours. I gotta go feed her supper now though.

Heres a pic of her wound, sutured and my hand for comparison.
Surprisingly this wound didn't bleed. Like seriously at all! I was so suprised and so was the vet. Theres no pussing or bad tissue growing. That vulketan is a wonderful thing I tell you.

EDIT: I went out to get Indigo from the round pen and she had rolled. I could see grass stains on her head and rump and withers. The sutures did not rip open and the cut stayed clean. I think it's going to do well.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A mastercard moment (NOT!)

It's 11:30 pm. I just got in from class and then tending to my horse that now walks sideways. I have blood on my shirt and poop and pee on my pant legs. Same shit different day right?

So I am about to go to work this morning. On Thursdays I have a short day so when I am gone I let Indigo into the round pen to eat the grass down. She enjoys this very much. I get a bucket, fill it with water and put it in the round pen for her.
Then I go to the gate. As I have mentioned Indigo's customary greeting is a loud throaty neigh followed by a bunch of happy nickers on the way to the gate where I am standing where I halter her and we go to the pen.
I call. She turns slowly and blinks at me, no ears forward, no neigh, not even a nicker. Then she moves back. I have a carrot in my pocket for when I let her loose in the round pen. I take it out. No response. Ok this is weird.
I climb over the fence, go over and pet Indigo on the head then move her mane around. OH MY GOSH!!!
She has a half a foot long laceration on her left shoulder. What the hell next!?!? How the hell did she do that!??! Apparently scouring the paddock to Indigo proof it isn't enough. I hosed it, ran to the phone to call the vet, who couldn't make it till after 2 pm.
Then I went to the paddock. I searched up and down that thing but it was my dad that found her shoe. She must have somehow fell and cut herself on a big rock that's been there for years and in her scramble to get up pulled her left back shoe off and cut her back legs up in one fell swoop. The only thing is how the hell did this happen? Did something chase her? Wouldn't be coyotes in broad daylight. Timber wolves are few and far between and very shy. I couldn't see Sheba chasing her. It just puzzles everyone.
So I tied her up and ran off to my barn to clean stalls and came back only to find my dad that was supposed to have gone to Toronto in the barn waiting. I guess the guy he was supposed to ride his iron horse with canceled last minute. He said it was meant to be because Indigo was hurt. Shes his favorite you know. I think she only likes him cause shes got him trained as her personal vending machine.

So I'll spare you the gorey pictures and 6 sutures. The skin is tight and Indigo walks a little sideways it's funny and sad at the same time. She is not ammused she has to stay indoors in a stall for a few days. Not at all but she does get to go out into the round pen and go for walks and such with me. I just don't want her rolling and pulling out her stitches.

My vet, hes a funny guy he says to me: "That horse of yours is enough to make you drink always hurting herself. "
I laughed. I said "It's like a master card moment. Emergency vet bill:$400. Going to the city to pick up Vulketan (It's a WONDERFUL ointment that stops proud flesh, you want to get some if your horse gets injuries, trust me): $40. Having a horse that will drive me to drink but not having the money to buy booze: priceless. We both laughed.

Looks like I ain't taking Indigo to the end of year show next week.

So after this I had to rush to the city to pick up Vulketan because my vet didn't have any then I had to rush off to classes. I am taking chem and bio at the college to upgrade because I have decided finally. I want to go back to Guelph and become a vet. Yup. It fascinates me when it has to do with horses and I can help others in need. Perfect. The teacher I got for Chemistry, not so much. It's his first class hes ever taught but all he did the whole 2 hour class was write definitions and explain them worse than the text book. Talk about the worst two tooth grinding hours of my life! Good thing I took chemistry before.

A few of you on here that commented and a few lurkers that have chatted with me between then and now have asked about the wordless wednesday picture I posted this week. That picture is a graveyard we stumbled upon randomly in a bush in Wawa near the waterfall. They have a sign now explaining about two dozen or so soldiers were bruied there during some small war. Only three lonely graves are in tact. Sad but really cool when you get to it and theres just a little clearing with perfect grass and nice trees. I found a itty bitty tree frog there but I didn't have my camera that time. It was cool. I miss it there already.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday stills: Rule of thirds/macro Monday

It's the two for one, just like at I-Hop.

See theres something that only comes along once a year. Something that only a kid raised in a small hick town in the country like mine can completely appreciate.
Most of your will have never heard of it but it's the biggest event our 3000 citizen town has. No other fair in Ontario makes as much money on rides as the Harrow fair does. Yup, our county fair. We have horse shows, cow showmanship, all the 4-h clubs (many having their achievement day there), chickens, pigs, rabbits, food, rides, good music, rowdy carnies, rowdy locals , vendors, you name it. The fair. Too bad it didn't come more than once a year. It's always the highlight of the summer and one of my favorite horse shows is held there.
So having said that from last Wednesday until late last night I was running in a hundred different directions. That is why my posts are not only late, but the two in one.
First, Sunday stills. Rule of thirds. (Click images for full view as always)

This is a black and yellow argiope spider. They make their extremely strong webs every year around the back of the calf barn where Indigo sleeps. Spiders don't make me squeamish but when I went searching for them to take pictures of them I just about crashed right into this one. It startled me since a lot of the time fox snakes hang around that back door and I've been bit a time or two.
The big ones are females. This one's butt was about as big as a quarter! Thats one big mama spider.
Heres a male. Makes build webs nearby females and lurk around. After they mate the female either eats the male (go gir!) or he dies. After laying the eggs near her in the center of the web the female eventually dies as the colder weather sets in.
My sister is extremely terrified of spiders. Once I put one in a bucket and took pictures with her cell phone she loaned me because mine died. She just about had a heart attack when she seen the pictures and my hand next to the spider for comparison. Definitely the biggest spiders around here by far. They are often mistaken for poisonous banana spiders but they are harmless to humans other than scaring the pants off some of us.
So there you have it. Spiders.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kids say the darndest things

They sure do.
My nephew Noah and Suzy, Spring 08

Doing a lot of horse related things (cue hours and hours of public carriage rides here in the city with non nature/animal folk) I get the most hilarious comments.

My favorite is when I am driving and I get someone that knows a tiny bit about horses I start quizzing them on the parts of the horse and carriage and harness. When I get to the tail I say "What about that thing under the horses tail?" They reply "Thats a crupper" and you can almost hear me crack at this point as I exclaim "Yup, but every horses ass knows that" Hahaha bad joke, bad joke. I know you'll use it one day, I know it.

The best comments I get are from kids. About once an event we do in the city I get a kid that looks up at the horse with big eyes, tugs on mom or dads sleeve and asks "Is that a real horse?!"
Poor, uneducated city kids.

Some ask other questions like about shoes, the boys usually ask if the carriage can do a pop-a-wheelie and the girls ask things like if they can be fed carrots or what they like to eat. Sometimes we get the "whats that between their legs" or the classic gelding that makes us turn red in the face "Oh my gosh, his pee pee is HUGE" yes and I don't think your glaring parents are quite as enthralled as you are.

By far I got the best one the other day. It wasn't even from a city kid it made me laugh.

I was driving Indigo down the road (with her new shoes shes doing amazing) to the lane of the neighbors. Theres the neighbors kids playing in their yard. They see me and all scramble to line up at the edge of the road to watch me go by.
I pulled into the lane and stopped Indigo who was having none of this stopping business with all these pesky bugs. Finally she stopped and let the kids pat her and scratch her itches. These are country kids. They do not have horses but they have been to the farm a time or two. They all watch us as we trot away down the laneway.
About 15 minutes later I come back and they form their surprisingly organized line to pet my mare that now is wondering when they are gonna break out the treats.
Then they start with the questions.
"Her tail is long are you going to cut it?" Nope, it's her fly swatter.
"What are those things beside her eyes" Those are blinders or blinkers they help her not be afraid of things like big cars passing her or stuff on the side of the road (Of course I drive all my horses without blinders many times so they definately know whats going on around them and behind them but unfortunately you have to drive with blinders for show)
"How come the things on her feet are not metal?" They are plastic shoes instead of metal
"She looks like shes gonna buck at me" No you don't have to worry about that shes a good girl.

Just as I was about to hit the road and am at the end of the lane one kid pipes up
"Hey miss?" Yeah?
"Don't you have to have an apple on the end of that thing to make the horse walk or go faster" *pointing to the whip in my right hand* Hahahah, no I think you have been watching too many cartoons.

Haha, apparently not all country kids are farm kids.
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