Nov 30, 2008

Change to

I’m at it again. The discovery of “BlogSpot” has motivated me into writing more. Although I usually reserved the homepage of for my “Stable Talk”, this blog affords me an easy format that I can update from any computer while still giving you links to your favorite pages. I’m working to integrate it as my home page without having to link over – but even after all these years, I’m just a small town amateur web person, trying to make things work!

When I started riding – more specifically, trail riding, there was no ‘one source’ listing available indicating trails in our state. So I set out to list them. Short of naming all the small lakes and wildlife management areas which don’t necessary advertise for horse traffic, but allows us to ride, I think I have accomplished listing the Horse Trails in Nebraska which are the most popular. And I have been fortunate enough to ride many of them. In time, would like to expand upon the brief descriptions, perhaps add more pictures and trail maps, if available.

The Classifieds is still the most read page on However, the recent popularity of Craig’s List and the speed to publish that CL affords its customers has reduced the number of ads coming my way. Everything is manual in my world and when you work with Ol’ Manual, the process can be slowwww. I’ll continue to monitor the value my Classifieds provides and make decisions about its future next year.

When I first started riding, I would hear about rides AFTER the fact. There were no “calendar of horse events” that was readily available. I think today captures those Trail Rides & Horse Events most geared toward Nebraska trail riders and then some.

I saw as a place for private ranches, businesses and facilities to advertise as well. That part hasn’t taken off as much as I would have liked, but I haven’t really promoted it. Perhaps that will be the next phase to this website. is now, undoubtedly, the source for horse trails and horse trail rides in our state. That part of my mission was accomplished. What has given me is a community of horse people I wouldn’t have found without it. What has it given you? Are there things you would like to see improved or expanded on You can reply by selecting “comments” below. It’s always good to hear from readers.

Nov 29, 2008

First Snow

We woke up this morning to the first snowfall of the year here in Saunders County. Just a dusting, I’d say, but cold and damp nonetheless. It is, no doubt, the sign of things to come. Every day that clicks off the calendar now, is one day closer to spring. How is that for an optimistic viewpoint?

Hopefully this snow will be gone soon and I can finish the weekend off with a short ride. Yesterday, we put up a new round pen. Over time, our first round pen had shrunk when panels were needed for other fencing or corral projects. We now, once again, have a true 50’ round pen and I was anxious to work some with Black. On Wednesday, I rode him for a few hours at Two Rivers. It was the first I have ridden him for any length of time since I took a dive off him in September. It was a little scary getting on, but he didn’t disappoint me. I told my friend Robyn, that for a moment I forgot who I was riding as I found myself relaxing as we trudged through the woods.

As I am nearing my riding goal for 2008, I have been thinking about what I want to do for 2009. Not just time in the saddle – that comes easy, but what I want to accomplish while I’m in the saddle. A friend told me last night that I work too hard at trying to get a nice soft trot from my horse. And I have to agree. (I saw the video!) I see others who trot or lope the rail and in comparison, I am the proverbial sack of potatoes. I want that softness, that ease about it. I’m lucky to have access to a nice indoor facility and knowledgeable people who have accomplished all that and more. So there it is. By this time next year, I want to trot or lope the rail effortlessly. Sounds corny, but some things come more easily to some than others.

Nov 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Ride

(Left to right: My brother, Tony, John, nieces, Jayden & Kelsey, sister, Ann & I)

I’ve been too busy with preparing Thanksgiving dinner and company to really sit back and reflect on those things I am thankful for. Family, friends, and health are the obvious. Since this is a horse related blog, I’m thankful for the joy my herd brings to my life and for the lessons they teach me every day. For the friendships I’ve made and the trails I have traveled which would not have happened if it weren’t for horses. For my newfound commitment to better health which has already proven to make me a better rider. It takes more than one buck to toss me from the saddle now!

Many of John’s family traveled to an Arizona wedding this holiday. Those of us who didn’t planned our Thanksgiving with “the other side of the family”. There were ten of us and an extra dog. Our old farmhouse is big enough to accommodate the entire clan. And having it here gives us the opportunity to ride, should the weather cooperate.

( My sister, Ann Johnson)

It wasn’t the warmest day in paradise yesterday, but saddling several horses burned a few calories of what we consumed for the holiday feast. My youngest niece, Jayden, rides Windy. And that’s non-negotiable! My older niece, Kelsey, has no fear of riding. She’s in the military reserve, pretty athletic and strong. She may get called to Iraq next spring. She can handle Iraq, she can handle Black! Actually, she volunteered to ride Black! Now normally I would have rode the beast rather than put an inexperienced rider on him, but I had to take care of my sister. She fell from Ginger a few years ago and has been fearful about riding. She said she would ride Blue, but I had to pony him. I needed a steady horse to pony from, so I chose Butter. My brother, Tony, rode Ginger and John hopped on Baby.

(Niece Kelsey, brother Tony & John)

The horses were all steady and took care of their riders. We didn’t ride far. I certainly could have ridden longer, but the wind was strong and the city-folk weren’t dressed for distance riding in the cold! But it got us out of the house for awhile and we were gone long enough for those left behind to do the dishes. Good planning.

(Left to Right: Kelsey, Tony & Jayden)

Yikes, I just took a glance at the weather. Looks like today may be the last nice day of the long weekend. The sun is shining through the windows right now. And I am really thankgful for that! Better enjoy it while we can!

Nov 23, 2008

Windy's Back!

This past weekend is notable. After the shock of discovering my favorite horse three-legged lame, vetting her for an abscess, three weeks of stall rest and another week out to pasture, I am so happy to report Windy sound and healthy.

Saturday was our test drive, so to speak. We went over to 3V Stables to ride with friends. Played some arena games and she felt good on the soft footing. We ventured out to the practice track and went through all the gaits. The gears all work. I felt no hitch in her giddy-up. She’s back.

I’m lucky that I have other horses I could ride during her recovery. And it was not only good to get them out and exercised, but also good to spend some time on those who aren't quite as easy for me. None are incredibly difficult, but all have their own nuances and offer a different ride or different degree of attention. With the exception of Black, I am equally comfortable on all of our horses. From Butter’s incredibly soft trot to Ginger’s fire and Blue’s willingness – I’ve not regretted the opportunity to spend some time on these nice horses. I’m disappointed I didn’t venture out with Black. Had hunting season not been happening recently and I could have gone to a lesser-used trail, I would have been more comfortable taking him out.

The weather wasn’t the best this weekend, but could have been worse. It wasn’t as chilly and damp as it was on Friday, but cloud cover kept any warmth from reaching us. This time of year, it is still possible to dress warm enough to enjoy the ride. I have twelve hours to go to make my 2008 Trail Time goal. A few more weekends with temperatures such as this, those hours should come easily. I’m looking forward to ending the year with my good mare.

Nov 21, 2008

Whack Job?

Thick socks?
Foot warmers?
Ear bands?
Don’t answer that!

Am I nuts? It was 10 degrees overnight and I have plans for riding this afternoon. Don’t tell my friend, Kathy, who I am meeting at the trail (and who is probably thinking the same thing about our mental health) that if she would back out first, I wouldn’t be disappointed! Now, which horse to ride today.....






Even my horses think I'm crazy!

Black? Hmmm.... No.

I’ll call Kathy. Its too cold to ride!

Nov 20, 2008

Health Related

At work, those of us who have quit smoking were invited to share our story with other employees. I thought I would share it with you, too. Perhaps it will inspire someone else to make this change in their life.

I could blame my smoking habit on being a child of the seventies; the age of rebellion, wanting to be “cool”. But none of those reasons were why I started smoking. I don’t remember really making a conscious decision to smoke, but like teenagers before me and teenagers after me, I lit my first cigarette when I was in high school. It was one of my dad’s Kool brand cigarettes. Menthol. And tasted awful. For that reason alone, I find myself questioning why I wanted to continue smoking.

I smoked through my twenties and smoked through most of my thirties. I smoked through my dad’s emphysema diagnosis and his subsequent death to lung cancer a decade later. My rationale for not quitting at that time was not only did I enjoy smoking, I had a fear of weight gain. I recall telling a friend that I would rather live a short life thin than a long life fat! Yes, us smokers rationalize everything!

My dad was not a cancer victim; he was a victim of smoking. He wanted to quit but he never found the strength. Although he didn’t quit breathing for a year or so after his diagnosis (death sentence), he was a dead man walking. It took a few years following his death for me to come to the realization that my sons could lose me the same way. And they wouldn’t care if I were fat or thin. They would miss me like I missed my dad – like they missed the grandfather they never knew. I didn’t want them to have a front row seat to watching a parent die from cancer like I did. I didn’t want their kids to miss knowing me. It was time to make a smoke-free change.

Coinciding with this self-proclamation, my husband and I were completing renovations to our old farmhouse. Smoking was prohibited in the finished portion of the house. I wasn’t relishing the thought of smoking on the porch in the wintertime. I had tried to quit smoking in previous years and failed. I figured if I wanted to be successful, I couldn’t do it on a whim, I had to have a plan. Now was the opportunity.

I set a Quit Date: February 9, 1998. The date was about a half a year out but it gave me a chance to prepare. I bought a new car – brand new – and stopped smoking while driving. I stopped smoking when I spoke on the phone. I stopped smoking first thing in the morning. I delayed my after supper smokes. Although not all at once, I started to slowly, subtly break the habits I had relating to cigarette smoking.

Two months from Q Day, I visited my doctor. I needed drugs, I told her. Ironically, at the time, the drugs specifically targeted to aid in quitting smoking were not covered by health insurance. She prescribed medication suitable to my endeavor that I started to take a month prior to Q Day. I also started taking extra vitamins. Two days to Q Day, I bought a box of nicotine patches. All of these contributed to my success, but perhaps it was my own willpower or my fear of failure that made me quit that day.

I smoked my last cigarette shortly before midnight on February 8, 1998. Armed with the patch on my arm, a rubber band around my wrist (pop when you get a craving!) and an inkless Bic pen to carry between my fingers, I made it through Day 1. And Day 2. Day 3 was bad, but I trudged on. I wasn’t a gem to live with, I’m sure. I missed the nicotine rush, so now placed the patch over my lungs instead of my arm. It gave me a sense of peace. When my body missed the increased heart rate nicotine affords us, I would run the stairs to the next floor and if that didn’t do it, I would go to another floor. Before long, a week passed. And then a month. And then a year. There was no turning back. I knew if I ever put a cigarette between my lips again, I would ruin everything I worked so hard to accomplish.

Ten years have now passed. I can check “No” to smoking when asked on forms. The Lincoln smoking ban had no affect on my life nor did the lack of smoking sections at major airports. My sons do not remember me as a smoker. And although I packed on some pounds initially, I am not fat today thanks again, to setting a goal and making a plan.

To be successful at quitting smoking, the first step is making that decision not to smoke! My excuse was always “I like to smoke.” In hindsight, that isn’t true. I didn’t like to smoke. I didn’t like spending the money or stinking up my house or car or clothes. What I liked was how smoking made me feel. And I learned there are other ways to get that rush. After I quit smoking, I bought a horse. Loping up the pasture road gives me that rush now. Or standing in the bleachers on a crisp evening cheering as my sons play football gives me that rush. And following that rush, I can still breath.

I will never get my dad back. I lost my mom to cancer years later. Though she never smoked, no doubt it was collateral damage from the years of her husband and kids smoking in her presence. The rules have changed today. Society no longer accepts smokers as it did decades before or even just 10 years ago when I was still a smoker. And it may be cliché, but nothing good comes easy. Challenge yourself to get your life back today. Don’t let smoking cut the time short with those you cherish. I wish Dad had quit before it was too late. He’d have been proud of me for quitting the habit that had him trapped for so long.

Written in memory of my dad, Emery Martin, by Tammy Martin Vasa, Nebraska

Nov 17, 2008

Finding Common Ground

The forecast called for an unseasonably nice day on Sunday and we were anxious to hit the trails. Not to be dampened by opening season for rifle hunting, we met at the only place we thought we would be safe from stray bullets: Wilderness Park in Lincoln city limits. Imagine our surprise as we were tacking up and two men pulled in wearing full camouflage gear and started to assemble their guns! I decided to hold my ground and walked over to the “would be” Rambos.

“Are you planning on hunting here?” I asked as I tried to look authoritive in my half chaps and breeches and denim jacket; obviously a failed attempt at equestrian chic.

“No,” said Sylvester. “We’re just playing paint ball.” Whew. I didn’t have to yell at them or anything. They gave us a general idea of where they would be “shooting.” Funny how grown men have to dress like soldiers to play! Beth waltzed over and Tanya and I searched for the hooks needed to help her fasten her chaps. I grabbed my helmet and Beth her leather fringed gloves. And we got on our horses.

The rest of our group joined us and we hit the trails. We meandered along, the leaves now under our feet. We crossed water, we walked, and we trotted. And we loped. Beth made an unplanned dismount. Landing on her feet, she scored a perfect 10. Searching for time and miles on a chilly November day, we rode as far as we could in one direction, returned and crossed to the other side and rode that entire loop, too. My son, Case, rode next to me most of the afternoon. We laughed as we ran our horses through the trees along the large creek. It can’t get much better than that.

We spotted many deer who took sanctuary in this city park. Cyclist in their full regalia, who also chose not to dodge bullets on the country roads, approached us on the trail. Dog walkers and their pets were ever mindful to the herd of horses sharing the path. We saw one of our Rambo buddies straddling a tree branch high above our heads. Quiet and waiting... (for what?) We weren’t sure whether to acknowledge him or not; would have hated for him to be “shot” by the enemy. We awkwardly rode on by. Case later said "that kind of creeped me out, Mom," with regards to the tree bound soldier.

It was a mixed bag of nuts in our urban forest, driven to common ground by others who are as passionate about their sport as we are about ours.

Nov 15, 2008

Let Her Dance

Windy’s been on stall/run rest for 21 days now. I am no longer soaking and wrapping her foot and she hasn’t taken a lame step on it since the day after the vet opened the abscess. Yesterday we brought home our first load of alfalfa for the season. John was up earlier than I was and went out and gave the herd a sampling. When I went out later, Windy was nibbling on her flake. I had decided to let her graze in the yard today and opened the gate to her run to invite her out for a bit. I wondered if she would leave the alfalfa for a little freedom? “You betchya" she did!”

She walked out of her run like it was no big deal, gave a couple snorts as she passed the corral with the other horses and then started her high step trotting; you know the one where they just look like they are suspended in air. She then flagged her tail doing her best Arab imitation and started to run. Then she would stop and eat and then run again! Later I caught her rolling. We always say for every complete roll over, they are worth $1,000. Case and I watched and counted: $3,000 today! She got up, shook, ate a moment… then lay back down and rolled another time. $4,000! Her new record. She got up the second time and with warp speed, headed off around the house.

The beauty of the horse in play (or flight) takes my breath away. It truly is a dance. Do they know they are performing? I like to think that they do. But then, I try to attach human emotions to the horse all the time. My horses even have voices. I think I’ve mentioned that Blue sounds like Elvis.

Tomorrow is supposed to be close to 55 degrees. Yes, one of those days I have been tracking on and hoping it didn’t change. As of right now, it looks good. Since this is the first weekend of rifle season, the roads and trails aren’t safe. We’ve decided the only place in the near vicinity is Wilderness Park in Lincoln. It’s still in city limits and far away from any hunting. I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon riding after having such a long, cold, wet week. I was half tempted to take Windy, but why push it. Another week or so will help in the healing and it’s not like there aren’t other horses here that need the time. I’ll probably take Blue (just a hunk a hunk of burning love!) so I can accumulate some AQHA ride hours on him and perhaps take a few pounds off him. He is wintering well.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

Nov 12, 2008

Gray November

It’s November 12. I was going to start this blog by complaining about “Gray November” for obvious reasons. Sunless skies, cold damp days and living in what feels like perpetual darkness since the recent time change. But those who have been following for any amount of time will recall that every year I start to complain about this time. It’s the same song, different verse. So I looked back into the archives of Stable Talk and my Trail Time hours to see what the previous year’s offered us.

Surprisingly, last year, I never publicly complained about Gray November online but also had fewer entries on Stable Talk. So just because I didn’t moan about it, doesn’t mean we didn’t experience it. I recall our final Platte River Ride at Camp Moses was the first weekend in November and the weather was far from gray – actually, one of the most beautiful fall days that I’d experienced in a long time. So nice, that we even made plans to camp prior to Thanksgiving. But then, just when “good” November sucks us in, Gray November rears its demon head and screams “gotchya!” And that was how it was last year.

In 2006, I recall it lightly snowed at our last Platte River Ride held at Chance Ridge in late October of that year. We got a slight reprieve in November and enjoyed both Camp Moses and Two Rivers up until Thanksgiving of that year. Now that was a good November! How do we order a repeat? But we weren’t as lucky in 2005. I wrote: “It's November; Gray November. My least favorite month of the year. I know there are colder months ahead, but those cold months lead into the spring. November leads into the winter…. Although the sun is shining today …. I’ll warn you now, the gray days are coming.”

Well folks, if you haven’t looked out the window lately, the gray days are here! Can it be any more miserable? (Don’t answer that or we’ll get 30 mph winds!) Button down the hatches, rotate those tires, find the ice scraper and your Elmer Fudd wool cap, because Gray November has arrived.

I have little things I do to get me through the four long months I consider winter. Right now, I keep a watch on the weather and steal rides on any day that it looks to be sunny and above 45 (no wind, please). And that gets me to Thanksgiving. Then my family will be here. My niece will want to ride. So even if it’s gray and cold, we’ll do a quick ride around the property to get our fix. Its only 2 weeks away. And after Thanksgiving, my next goal is to get to December 21st. The official first day of winter. Why? The days start getting longer again. On December 20, the sun sets at 5:00 PM. And then, miraculously, on December 21, it doesn’t set until 5:01 PM! And by the end of December, we have sunlight until 5:07 PM! It just gets better and better from there!

Even though I am afforded a little extra daylight at the end of my day, I still have to get through January and February. I don’t know about you, but where November is the grayest, January is definitely the longest. Yeah, I know. There are only 31 days in January – same as most months. But from January 1 to January 31, time stands still! My secret is not to take any vacation days. I just work, work, work. And heck, if I can get some travel in January, that’s just icing on the cake. Time goes faster when you are busy. It gets me through the 31 days of Frozen January hell. And don’t think you can relax yet. February is just an ugly step-sister to January except she has fewer days. Thank goodness it isn’t a leap year. I can barely stand one more day in February every few years!

As we tear off Ugly February from our calendar, there is hope when March appears. There is the reunion of horse friends at our Nebraska Horse Expo. The ground is thawing; the trailer tires are no longer frozen in place. Someone brags on Horsetales that their horse is shedding and someone else spots a robin the trees. Oh, there is mud, but its happy mud. And soon it will be April and we’ll be riding again. And I don’t care what Merle Haggard says about December, for me it’s surviving Gray November.

If we make it through December
Everything's gonna be all right I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the fallin' snow

If we make it through December
I got plans of being in a warmer town come summer time
Maybe even California
If we make it through December we'll be fine

Nov 11, 2008

Miscellaneous Musings

If today is a glimpse of what winter holds, I want to turn back time. Albeit the ice on the tree branches and along the fence is somewhat beautiful, the cold dampness that accompanies such a picturesque setting does nothing to appeal one bit to me this early in the season. Hopes for an Indian summer are all but gone.

We finished the Platte River Riders season with a family ride at Camp Moses on Sunday. The sun was warm as we unloaded the herd from the trailer, but once we rode into the trees along the trail, the big chill set in. Many of the fifteen riders concluded the ride with cold toes and fingers and a red nose. Steam rose from the horse’s back as they were unsaddled. And we huddled around the fire, sharing soup and other goodies before saying good-bye until next season. Always the optimist, I scan the long-term forecast, desperate for the occasional 50 or 60-degree day with plenty of sunshine and no wind. Perfection in November is hard to find!

I’ve had a couple people mildly interested in the The Black. I’ve also had people I respect encourage me to send him back for “professional help” and work with a trainer on making him the horse I want. If someone gives me a check for him tomorrow, he’s gone. If he is still here come spring, I may opt for the training route. I have months (cold, long months!) to think about it.

I’ve been tempted to board Windy this winter so I would have an indoor arena for riding. But the stable that would be the most convenient has no outdoor runs. Stalling seems to be a wonderful convenience for the owner – I’m experiencing that right now as Windy recovers (although she has a run with the stall). But I’m not convinced I have a happier horse. On Horsetales yesterday, we discussed the pros and cons of stalling 24/7. And I have to ask myself if I would be dedicated enough to ride most nights so that she would get the exercise I feel she needs to keep her happy and I could justify the expense? I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. I wonder how soon Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) will start to set in and I’ll say to heck with my mare’s mental health – and worry about my own and the need to ride!

I know this picture of Windy & me resembles a headless horse & horseperson. It was taken last year by a friend and I kind of liked the shot. So I saved it.

So what is your winter plans? Do you just curl up in the fetal position and wait until the first tulip blooms to even think about riding or do you steal rides whenever there is a break in the weather. How cold is too cold to ride? I’m also curious if you board your horse and if it has access to a run or not. And what are your thoughts about 24/7 board with occasional arena turnout? As always, your comments can be posted anonymously.

Nov 4, 2008

Raising Baby

We were on a mission to find a horse that summer day in July of 2000. The pony we had hoped to find for the kids, didn’t pan out. But heck, who needed a pony. Let’s get a real horse! Never mind that we had no fencing or a barn. The owner of the pony referred us to another person who referred us to yet a 3rd person who may just have the horse we were looking for!

So we find ourselves literally “seeing a man about a horse”. We pull up to Cowboy’s yard in our Lumina sedan unannounced. He was a friendly enough fellow. “Sure, I got some horses for sale,” he said as he brought up a half dozen or so from the pasture. After deciding on Ginger, I thought our mission was accomplished. But John is continuing to ask questions about a weanling that was among the herd. “Part draft,” the cowboy said. Walked us over to another pen and showed us the dam. This grade mare of quarter & Belgian decent was bred to a full-blooded Belgian and the filly was the result of that breeding. I knew what a quarter horse was. A “draft” to me was a Clydesdale but this weanling had none of those characteristics. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard John say that we would take the weanling, too!

We named our little baby “Dutch”, but because she was “the baby”, she is still known today as “Baby” or “Baby Dutch”. I learned quickly what a Belgian was as I watched this young filly grow bigger and bigger. Those feet, my gosh, were huge! But everything I read about the drafts lead me to believe we would have an easy horse – big – but gentle and kind. And that describes our Baby to a tee.

John has introduced her to driving by simply pulling a skid. She carries the chainsaw behind the saddle when we do trail clearings. She plods along in the Saunders County parade each year and loads up for an occasional trail ride. Under saddle she has a flotty trot and a large step but could really use more time for finesse. She ranks right under Ginger in the herd and can be a bit of a witch to the younger mares.

Last night, I rushed home from work eager to take advantage of this unseasonally warm weather. Baby hasn’t been ridden since..... I don’t know when. And having put a few pounds on the last week or so, I could use a good workout that the big girl offers -- from tossing the saddle way up there to posting her big trot. After saddling, we head to the arena.

We rode the rail at a walk and moved up to a trot. Thought about a small jump over the telephone pole obstacle, but she just plods over it instead. Her whoa is pretty good, but she doesn’t work very well off the leg. Sometimes she gets mixed messages from me or is just being obstinate. Whatever the case, we turned a corner in the arena and she took it wide. Rather than continuing, she turned into the fence and I found her big head over the top wire of an electric fence and that fence was on!

Now don't ask me how an electric fence came about in my arena. It has to do with my husband, his cows and his rented bull. His answer to my objections when I first discovered the hotwire was, "Unplug it when you ride in the arena!" Oh, I'll unplug it alright ... and then snip it with wire cutters!

But meanwhile, back to the story.... Baby backs well and I knew I could back her off the fence, but I also knew it was likely she was going to touch that fence in the process. I didn’t want to be on her when that happened. My little voice shouted, “Bail!” and I swung my leg over. At the time her bit touched the electric fence and I heard the “snap”, my coat became hooked on the horn of the saddle. She turned into me and headed across the arena with some half-hearted Belgian bucks with me hanging on her side. I managed to pull myself back up and pull her in. Neither of us too worse for the wear!

Baby turned 8 years old this year. We don’t need a draft horse. We don’t plan to drive. None of us are very keen on riding her. John always says that if we were starving, she would fill our freezer. (He’s kidding, I think!) So I guess she remains a fixture in our herd. The big girl makes me smile.

Nov 2, 2008

Vet Wrap, Duct Tape & Extra Horses

I’ve learned this last week that you can’t have too much Epsom salts, vet wrap, duct tape or extra horses.

And did you know when you soak a hoof; they recommend you soak for twenty minutes? Do you know how long 20 minutes are? That is about 6 songs from a 12 song CD. That is how long it takes me to drive to drive to town. That is how long it takes from communion to the end of Sunday Mass! So when you are standing there with your horse soaking her foot in a bucket, 20 minutes seems like an eternity!

Although I am getting pretty good about wrapping Windy’s foot, it’s important not to go lean on the vet wrap or the dampness of the poultice will compromise the duct tape. Okay, I really don’t know that it will but when I have a 1,000 pound animal’s hoof resting on my thigh, I just kind of go hog wild with it! There is nothing as disheartening as coming to the barn and seeing my work of art hanging off the foot or worse that she has stepped out of it. So one roll vet wrap, 10 strips of duct tape and then several revolutions with the duct tape roll to seal the deal!

I am so glad I keep five other horses fed and ready for times like these! Okay, so 4 of the 5 belong to John and the kids, but their hooves are growing long waiting for their turn under the saddle. So as I wait for Windy to heal, I’ve managed to put time on 4 of them. If I had one more day in the weekend, the fifth may have gotten some saddle time, too. But alas, we return to standard time and at this very moment, 6:04 PM, it is very dark outside.

We’ve had some glorious fall days this past week. Since Wednesday, I’ve rode over ten hours on 4 horses and traveled to 3 different trails as well as arena riding and hitting the roads around home. The crops are coming out with a vengeance right now. Bean fields are empty and the corn will soon follow. I’m hoping the cold weather holds off for a few more weekends and we are spared “gray November” and I can continue to get some saddle time the next few weekends.

As I rode into our driveway tonight, I took this picture. Although fall signifies the end of the warm seasons, I do appreciate the beauty if has to offer. I’ll buy my next rolls of vet wrap in autumn colors.