A Blog About My Journey Riding and Training Sora, My Soulmate

Monday, January 3, 2011

Early Morning Adventure: part one

Right now where I live its awful outside. The cold isn't so bad because I have warm clothes, layers, warm gloves etc. to deal with that. The real problem is that at our farm whatever isn't covered in 2+ feet of snow is a skating rink. Its so bad the horses are locked in two small pens which aren't bad thanks to the manure and leftover snow. Even getting out to feed them is a slow process as it means traveling across our ice rink, which used to be a driveway, and on a small path cleared for me, which is also glare ice, to our shed. One corner of the shed is particularly bad and is not only an especially shiny polished ice but it slopes downhill which means I can't stay up on it at all.

Because of that, when I woke up this morning and saw that Jackson and Khepri had gotten out I knew that getting them back into our pen would be an adventure. They had lifted a small red gate off its hinges, traveled out the path by and around our shed, across our driveway, and up another small path to our bird feeder where they were happily munching on spilled bird seed. Sora, my funny little angel, was staying happily in the pen regardless of the wide open gate.

I fed Sora to keep her calm and in the pen, grabbed a halter and some grain and skated slowly toward the horses. As I approached they occasionally lifted their heads to watch me and when they figured out I had grain decided that it would probably taste better than stale bird food and began to approach. They met me at the end of the bird feeder path which wasn't that slippery and as I put Jackson's halter on and gave him a handful of grain for the journey I contemplated how to approach the crossing of the driveway/skating rink.

Having come to a decision I tossed Jackson's lead rope over his back and climbed onto one of the snow piles. As I walked on top of the snow towards the shed I lured him along next to me with grain. He is extremely experienced with Minnesota ice and snow but was still slipping and sliding. Luckily he kept to his feet and went slow. Khepri slowly followed alongside him but at some point she hit a bad spot and all four of her feet started going in different directions. With a look of desperation she quickly slipped and slid her way to the huge snow pile at the edge of the driveway and went down on her knees in the snow. I breathed a sigh of relief that she had handled herself so well and continued with Jackson who was able to reach the path to the shed safely.

Having passed the first obstacle we continued toward the shed.

To be continued....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011

I am so happy to welcome 2011! 2010 was crazy between work, lack of money, starting a new part time job and stress over the fact that after two years of grad school, constantly looking for work, while my classmates got jobs all around me, I still don't have a job.

2011 will be a year of changes for me. First I'm sure I'll find a job, hopefully sooner rather than later, which means that I'll finally get to move out of my parents house but more pertinent to this blog it will mean moving Sora and boarding a horse for the first time in my life.

I'm sure I'll miss having a horse right outside the house, feeding in the beautiful mornings with the birds singing, getting to make choices about how to care for her and getting to see her out the window. However, right now I can't wait to board. Partly because we don't have a good place to ride, no good footing, and I have no one to ride with or talk about horses. I also don't have a trailer so I'm completely stuck here. There will be so many good things about having Sora in a boarding facility and while I'm sure I'll have some complaints once she is actually there, right now I can't wait for the freedom that comes with not having to feed three times :) and mostly I just can't wait to have a nice, safe arena to ride in and people to ride with!!

In other news I just want to say how lucky so many horses in the blogs I read are to have such wonderful people. A couple of weeks ago my hoof trimmer, Erika, invited me to come with her after she trimmed our horses to help with a foundered pony (the owner's words). Once we got there we realized it wasn't founder, just a case of neglect. The ponies poor hooves looked like elf shoes and it took us almost two hours to get them looking anywhere close to normal. I was incredibly impressed with what Erika was able to accomplish and the pony looked relieved to be able to walk.

There were also two other horses on the property and as my trimmer put it they were "lucky to have weak hooves because they could self trim." The worst part was that no sooner had I left to come back home then Erika texted me that the horses had no water and were licking frozen puddles to drink. She couldn't even find any type of permanent water trough but finally found a bucket to give them water. I almost cried and it was nice to be able to come home to Sora, standing in her clean shed, in her puffy blanket with warm water only a few steps away.

Finally, the master list of goals for the year.

1. Strengthen Sora, especially her back to prepare for some light riding
2. Do more to desensitize her to the saddle
3. Perfect my hoof rasping technique and Sora's hoof holding technique
4. Reduce the amount of treats Sora gets and increase the time between treats, especially with the behaviors Sora is good at
5. Push Sora a bit more working toward behaviors that are more perfect and her to perform better than just adequate