Posts Tagged With: Honey

Driving Miss Honey

Wind caressed my face, pulling my hair from its ponytail. The heavy reins in my hands pulled slightly as Honey lowered her head to stretch her neck.

“Good Girl.”

I leaned forward to itch her tail, certain that the ends of the reins stayed under my tushie where they belong. She lowered her head and sighed, her ears turned to listen to my next command.

Horse Show Marshall 014

Through years now, students have ground-driven and ridden Honey. She’s pulled a barrel, a cart (with only me in it–she’s not ready to pull students), and a sled. I gave up driving for a little while when the busy summer came along, but I’ve come back to that dream the last two days.

Honey is awesome. She moved sideways a step or two at one point when she was startled by something (our outdoor arena is right next to the road), but otherwise, she was and is a champ. I’m learning as I go. Driving with an actual cart is something I’ve always wanted to do but never had a lot of chances. I’ve driven all of my horses in the harness with a barrel behind them, but only recently bought a cart, and only yesterday started driving again after a four or five month hiatus for summer.

Hugging Honey

Honey walks and jogs smooth as anything, and she’s so cute when she gets her nose down and in as if to say, “look at me go. I’m purty.” She loves being driven, and in some ways I think she prefers it over being ridden.

Until it gets too cold, Honey and I will be perfecting our moves. We’ll work together to walk and jog all over the farm. Hopefully, eventually, The Husband and I can go for a cart ride. I’m already eager for Honey’s next drive.

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License to Chill -Jimmy Buffett

April 9, 2012 094The bay mare shivers, sighs, and then braces herself; shaking silver raindrops from her gleaming body. She stands sentinel at the wooden fence, observing the other mares. She lowers her head and snuffles, then raises it as she hears a distant whinny. Her pacing resumes. She cares little for the other mare in her pasture, wanting to belong, but refusing to submit to their dominance.

Honey watches from the shelter of an open run-in stall, munching contentedly on hay that was meant for both horses. She doesn’t attempt contact with the other mare, nor does she shy from it.

Honey (my shy palomino) and Hart (the new bay mare) are perfectly matched to become best friends. Hart is dominant and Honey is extremely submissive around new horses. However, that’s not the way Hart wants to live her life. Instead, she wants to be

DSCF3277 best friends with Phoenix.

Phoenix, the very large and in-charge Canadian Horse. The horse who is considered Beta to Melody’s Alpha.

Hart whinnies and nickers and cries to be let into the pasture with Phoenix. When I relent and put them out together, Phoenix kicks little Hart’s tushie. Like kick-her-and-then-run-after-her-until-she’s -100-feet-away tushie kicking.

Hart and Honey are in a bonding-time-out in the wooden pasture today. I have two run-in stalls open, both with hay inside.

No dice.

March 31, 2012 054Hart darts along the fenceline, chasing down unrequited love from a fellow mare who doesn’t prefer her company.

Meanwhile, Honey reaps the rewards of being chill. She munches, licks her lips, and in her own little pony way, smiles.

Categories: Horse Training, Horses, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“‘Till [he] Shines Like the Top of the Chrysler Building!” -Annie, edited

Soft whiskers probe my hands. His breath whuffs across my arm, and I shiver.

He nudges my knee, and lowers his head.

He wants it.

I pull the treat from my pocket, and soft lips close over it.

Crunch.

He licks his lips and sighs.

Cappy and I have an understanding. We argue; we cooperate; but in the end, I’m in charge.

Firefly Farm is a hub of activity in the summer. Honey left us yesterday to spend time at Autumn Breeze Acres, where she’ll be bred to Amber Williams’ horse Rolex. He’s the stud I intended for Melody (after Awemost Dun died.) Apparently Honey is acting her usual gentle, sweet self.

Suzi Q. attended two shows this spring and brought home an extensive array of ribbons–and a trophy.

I expanded the mare and gelding pastures, planted a weeping willow tree, and have mowed down weeds in the pasture as they crop up.

Work, work, work.

Time to play.

Today is Cappy’s day. His coppery chestnut coat gleams. (On a related note, my arms are sore.)  He willingly stands on the pedestal, and as of this morning, will do so with a tarp over his body. He lunges–walk, trot, and canter–to the left, and walks on the lunge line to the right. He accepts the bridle and bit. I can lay across his back facing both directions and he stands still. I can use direct reining to make him change direction.

Cappy is brilliant. He’s fun to work with.

In 11 months, Honey will bring a new project into the world. Someone I can take to shows who will earn ribbons. Someone who will stand in the shade of my weeping willow tree and swish his or her tail. I’ll brush my foal until my arms look like that of a bodybuilder.

(Well, maybe not that much.)

 

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Killer Instincts

Churned earth mingled with scattered feathers. The cage moved as futile fingers clawed at the trap door.

I caught a killer.

I rejoiced–and mourned.

This thing, this animal, this fluff-ball, killed three babies. Three tiny chickens. He killed them and ate them.

Trudie and I gathered the remaining supplies for the horse show, and we left.

Our horses performed well for their experience levels. Sidney needed to be led during his classes for safety reasons. He’s never been to a “real” horse show before, so he had no idea how to act or feel.

Honey’s shown once before. Last time she won two seventh places. This time she won a third (out of three horses–but she listened well!) and two fifth-place ribbons. They’re hanging in the tack room, along with Trudie’s ribbon from a previous horse show.

Suzi Q’s owner and Sidney’s owner came to visit, and both were exceedingly helpful. They held horses and came back to Firefly Farm when we realized we’d left behind Sidney’s bridle (oh-so-important!) and then needed a different saddle. They also took photos.

Once everyone loaded back up and we traveled back to the barn, I remembered.

The caged killer.

He curled up harmlessly at one end of the wire jail and peered at me with soft black eyes. His ringed tail wrapped around a chubby body, his masked face innocent.

Sometime soon, I’ll drive the killer to meet an ugly kitty.

Categories: Chickens, Horse Show, Horses, Ponies | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wistful Thinking

The winds of change sweep through the farm.

Chickens have disappeared. Swiftie and Buster are MIA. As of this morning, so is Lucy.

Luckily, Gladiator, the rooster; our two guineas, and Nugget, the Americana, are alive and well.

We own six new(ish) chicks; three Barred Rocks and three Australorps.

If Melody hadn’t miscarried, last year, we’d have 11 horses at Firefly Farm.

Sage left a while ago. Her owner found a wonderful home with young children to ride the lovely Standardbred mare and give her all the attention she deserves.

Lexi is now at Silver Fox Stable, owned by a Vet, Dr. Esterline’s, wife. I hear wonderful things about their facility and wish them all the best.

Lexi left on Sunday.

We’re down to 10 horses.

We’d have 11 if Melody hadn’t miscarried last year.

Yet..

This morning I recieved a phone call from my friend Sandy. She’s looking to have me train her horse, Cappy.

We’re down to 10 horses.

I wish, oh, how I wish Melody’s foal were here. I’d be training her or him and working her or him every spare moment.

I can handle training a new horse. It’s what I wish I were doing at this very moment.

Training–oh, training!

I love to train. I love the young ‘uns. I adore teaching them how to behave, how to respect others, and how to be a proper citizen.

I love the way they’re defiant at first, and then calm, then ask “What would you like, Ma’am?”

Then, when I tell them what to do, they give me a great, big, “Yes, Ma’am!”

Spring sweeps over our farm.

Cappy’s adventure begins sometime next week.

I hope Lucy comes home.

I can’t wait until Honey is bred.

Last year’s worries tumble and flow away with the wind. The future is bright.

But oh, how I miss the foal that should have been mine this spring.

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A Coin Toss

Silver gleams as it flips again and again, whistling through the air until it hits a surface.

Dare I look?

Heads. Tails.

It doesn’t matter.

According to the MSU Equine Reproductive Laboratory, Melody has a 20-50% chance of carrying a foal to term in her current state.

Gambling is for fools.

I can’t fall in love again with a foal who may die the second it begins to live.

I can’t bear the odds.

Tuffs Frosted Image 3 - Copy

I’m fortunate to be working with a wonderful stallion and owner at Autumn Breeze Acres in Howell. They’re online at http://www.autumnbreezeacres.weebly.com.

Tuffs Frosted Image is still our boy.

However, another mare must stand in for Melody.

They’re best friends and rivals.

They love each other and love to tease.

They’re both mine.

Little Honey Bear will be a mommy.

The chances of Honey conceiving are far better than Melody. We’re checking her sometime in the next few days to make sure she’s ready to take the first steps into motherhood.

No coins necessary. The odds are in her favor.

DSCF3252

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A Comfortable Cadence

The tattoo of hoofbeats pounded along the barn. A sharp, youthful whinny exploded from the small horse in the field as she pranced back and forth; her frantic pacing broken only by moments to listen–to find out if, indeed, she’s truly alone.

My neighbor, Katie, asked me to board her pony, Cadence, this weekend. Katie’s riding her other horse at a clinic, and she shipped her mare to Wisconsin this morning. Cadence would’ve been alone at Katie’s barn until Sunday night unless she stayed with me. The young filly’s herdbound to Katie’s other horse. Unfortunately that makes life difficult when there’s no choice but to separate the two for shows or riding clinics.

Cadence arrived at the farm this morning. Even before Katie officially unloaded her passenger, Cadence’s panicked screams echoed from within the metal trailer. She fought to remain with her buddy–but to no avail.

We covered basic rules, and Katie filled out a boarding contract. We discussed niceties and a variety of situations all the way to Veterinary calls. Before she departed, Katie spoke adamantly about not allowing other horses in with Cadence, as she worried about her pony kicking.

I locked the pony in a stall with hay for most of the morning, and then gave her time this afternoon in the RAMM pasture. Poor Cadence ran the fenceline for 30 minutes, calling for any horse within hearing range. The whites of her eyes bulged as she bugled,  and her coat shone with sweat. Her throaty whinnies drove daggers into my heart.

I caught Honey and moved her into the pasture. Cadence’s demeanor changed instantly. She relaxed, grazed, and sniffed. I gave them 45 minutes of pasture time together–all directly supervised. I stayed within a 20 foot radius, ready to separate them in case of trouble.

Trouble never came.

I caught Honey to move her back into Suzie Q’s pasture (her regular digs) for the night, and as soon as Honey stepped out of the paddock, Cadence began calling. She screamed and squealed, devastated that her new friend left.  Honey settled back in with Suzie Q, but called out for Cadence. A cacophony of little-pony-girl screams developed from both sides, since Honey also developed an attachment to the adorable bay filly. I moved Cadence into Phoenix’s stall, since she’s an indoor boarder overnight. This quieted both girls down. They’re contemporaries, so it makes sense that they love each other.

The girls sniff through their stalls. They nicker at each other and nod. Whatever confidences they share remain between them alone. These gentle, bashful little girls are having a slumber party over the weekend. Katie won’t have to worry about separating her horses for a few days. Cadence has a new best friend–and she no longer feels alone.

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Spread a Little Sunshine

Yes, that line’s from the musical Pippin, and it’s sung by a villain–but it’s a nice phrase.

No matter what evidence I present to the contrary, Diva firmly believes I am a tree.

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Poor Twist. He had his first bath yesterday since arriving at Firefly Farm, and he had to wear Honey’s blanket to stay warm. I could almost feel the scathing heat from his eyes as he shouted “Oh, the humanity! To be wearing a blanket embroidered in pink?! You bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!” (I don’t know how Twist is able to quote Shakespeare in my head, but that’s his quirky side coming out.)

Girls have cooties, Mom! Why do I have to wear a girl's blanket?

The cold weather would’ve made him freeze if not for this “girly blankie.”

He’s very white now. It’s amazing to see the difference.

Sidney sported a delightfully masculine maroon blanket last night.

Braveheart braved the cold with a lush “au natural” coat of palomino and dazzling white.

The kitties also got in on the Fall Fashion Show.

The girls also decided to stay nude in the pasture. Melody, of course, being the exception.

Categories: Firefly Farm, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Honey’s First Show

Honey needed a bridle. She had an equi-leather bridle, but she needed one made of real leather. In preparation for her first show last Saturday, we ordered a new bridle for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey had a bath on Friday night, and afterward I braided her mane and tail and put a sleezy on her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went to a benefit show in Marshall, MI courtesy of Sara Heaton, owner of Sandalwood Ranch. She was kind enough to trailer Honey and I, along with one of her horses, Maddie.

Honey and I went for a bareback ride through the fairgrounds before showing. We were tromping around, exploring the various aspects of the fairground, when we were stopped in our tracks by a call from the judging booth. The announcer said that the first horse to reach the booth and show off a trick would win a prize. We couldn’t resist. She showed off “yes” and “no” and a step of Spanish Walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey was calm, cool, and collected. She performed beyond any of my expectations of a horse at her first show.

She was also very good, considering I had two different lengths of stirrup. I checked my stirrups three or four times because I could swear they were off. I counted the holes over and over, and both were on hole 8. Hole 8! Too bad they weren’t even. She was a good sport.

We ended up with Seventh Place, two different times, out of 10 horses total. Not bad for her first show. Her head bobbed up and down a lot, and she stopped once in a corner, but otherwise she was terrific. Unfortunately we didn’t get ribbons. We were given plastic cups as keepsakes. Perhaps cups are more useful than ribbons, but not as exciting.

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New Digs

Scatter, weave and dodge. Hooves drum in rhythm, seeking out the delicious foliage at the edge of the paddock. Each day, the T-posts are moved further into the meadow, allowing the horses more room to frolic, roam, and munch.

Categories: Horses, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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