Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Some of my horses peeking over the fence.

Zinger peeking over the fence at Tanzar and Emmit. He rotates between the SW corner to look at the old men and the NW corner to pine over the mares. He's a very good peeker!

The ASB stallion Solo also peeking at the old men. There must be something very intriguing about them! 

Spenser, my ASB gelding saying "Bring me back to the barn, I'm tired of the arena." Spenser almost died in 2007 and he can't eat anything that is growing, he has Insulin Resistance and Cushings.  This spring I had him in a dry paddock with the geldings and he got to tree leaves and some grass under the fence. He got sore feet again and scared me hugely, so he has had the arena all spring and summer. When winter comes he can get back outside and have some company. If he were a more social horse I would be concerned about his isolation, but he isn't. He can make faces out the north door at Solo all day and he does. Still, I wonder if I am doing him any favors.

Until I look at this! Spenser caught in a chewing moment.


I am feeling prolific today! Since I was taking photos, I thought I'd put this up of Shaka. He is my wonderful, awful, talented and opinionated Shaka. I've owned him most of his life, or in reality he has owned me. He is 20 this year and he is still the most beautiful horse on the farm! He is also the most athletic and talented horse I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He is also the most awful horse I have known, but that said, I'd do it all over again. 
Shaka has arthritis in a front knee which is going to shorten his life, as it did his riding career, but he is still happy and bossy so I know it isn't too bad to handle yet. Anyway, I love this horse fiercely and wanted to put up his photo showing his lovely face looking at the camera.

Peace in the Pasture

Topper, Ben and Shaka are at peace. Hurrah! I can't say how happy it makes me to see Topper so relaxed. He has always been on alert and very intense, so this is something to see. He had the whole 4 acres to himself and all he did was patrol, so seeing him with his head down in the grass is a good thing.

Quote of the Day

"If all the girls who attended the Yale prom where laid end to end, I wouldn't be surprised."
Dorothy Parker  US author, humorist, poet & wit (1893 - 1967)

And I would add, one of the sharpest tongues in history!

Topper's Big Adventure

Well, yesterday I decided to try putting Topper and all of the geldings together. It seemed as if it was going to be a success until Topper tried to check out my little lollipop Brighty. Brighty ran around like chicken little, causing a slight flurry of activity among the herd. Then Topper saw the very cute Scamper and decided he needed to be inspected. Scamper is so cute and he is also Ari's very good pal, as well as Ari's maternal brother. Scamper didn't want Topper sniffing him, so he made a ruckus and that got Ari upset. This is when the real trouble started. My lovely Ari decided to launch a frontal attack on Topper. Topper wasn't interested in fighting, but the whole herd went on the move at this point and it became a bad situation. Now Topper was agitated and Ari was mad. Ari was the aggressor and he probably would has finished the fight if I had not intervened.

My old companion Shaka stayed calm throughout all of this, so he walked to the gate to get in and away from the activity. Bounce saw this and decided he would do the same. By this time Ari had moved the herd down the hill, but Topper had separated Brighty and was trying to check him out. Brighty wouldn't settle down, so it was still anxious. My husband was able to get ahold of Bright, allowing me to get Topper. Topper was actually glad to come in, he was very tense. He spent the day in his stall and he was glad for it! 

Today it will be Ben and old, reliable Shaka with Topper. I had hoped this would work, as it would have freed up a paddock during the winter. Oh, well. Not to be. I'm glad no one was hurt.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death."  Robert Fulghum  Author

Thursday, August 28, 2008


We have had RAIN! About 2" 's of ground soaking beautiful rain. My horses are on their second day in the barn, but the rain is well worth their confinement and my extra cost and labor. I don't put them out when the ground is really wet because we have awful, slippery, tendon bowing black clay soil. Better to be safe.

A beautiful, temperate weekend is in the forecast, so life is momentarily good.

Quote of the Day

"A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else."
Bette Davis

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth --- anonymously and posthumously." 
Thomas Sowell  Economist/Social Commentator/Economist

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day Two

Topper with the geldings is on the second day. Bounce decided it wasn't such an adventure after all, so he spent the day complaining and Laddy felt compelled to join him! Topper and Ben are fast friends. I think I may try the other four in there tomorrow. What the heck, all that can happen is total pandemonium!! Topper sure is happy and Ben likes being his friend. Ari and Topper are the same age and they were best friends for the first five years. Ari is stalled next to Topper and Ari is very attached to him. It will be interesting to see what the response would be if I put him back with Topper.

Topper wasn't being cooperative, so I got a small glimpse of him with the camera, otherwise Ben was my subject today. He is so handsome.

Quote of the Day

"Our real enemies are the people who make us feel so good that we are slowly, but inexorably, pulled down into the quicksand of smugness and self-satisfaction."  Sydney Harris

Monday, August 25, 2008


We had a lesson at Brandywine today and when we got home I walked Ari to the barn. As I got down the hill I saw something that I shouldn't, two horses in a pasture that only has one, my eleven year-old stallion WF Impressive. I thought I was seeing things, but there was Ben, an eight year-old Arabian/Lipizzan playing the head game with Topper. I got Ari put away and made tracks over there. Upon further inspection I found six -year-old Bounce and nine year-old Laddy happily eating grass! I could not believe it.

Topper spent the first five years of his life with geldings, but at five he became aggressive and I separated him. He has hated geldings all these years, attacking his stall front as they walk by and making the most evil faces when he was near them outside. He has been the worst of the three for getting along with the geldings. Now, it's best friend day! 

I'm going to continue putting these three gelding with him as long as he seems happy with it. They can all handle him if he gets out of line, so I'll see how it goes. He sure was a happy boy this afternoon.

Oh, they got into Topper's pasture by sneaking through a marginally fenced spot in the woods.  That has been fortified, I don't need the remaining geldings joining the party!

Quote of the Day

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."
Walter Lippman  Journalist, Philosopher 

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable."
H. L. Mencken

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Re-socializing Zing

Zing was a well-traveled show horse by the time he was four. He trailered with other stallions and with mares, he went in the halter ring with stallions and as a four-year-old he was in the performance ring with everything. He was very well socialized and easy to handle.

He hasn't been away from home for three years, but he is stalled next to geldings and he has a mare across the aisle. He has horses around him when he's in his paddock and they are all mares, as well as walking past mares and stallions in the barn as well as going to the arena. He is good with all of this.

A month ago Kristina was riding him in the outdoor and a friend had one of my mares to ride as well. Zing was a different horse and his behavior would not have been acceptable on a show ground. So, now we have been spending time reintroducing him to horses in the arena with him. I have only used geldings thus far, but the first time he was unruly throughout the ride. The next time he started out that way but settled down. After that he stopped paying attention. It's been about a week and a half since I had a gelding in with him, so today I used Spenser and Zing got up on his toes for about ten minutes and then settled down and went back to work.

I think one more time with a gelding and then I'll try it with a mare. We need him to be respectful so he can go for lessons and maybe start to show again. I know he will come back to himself as he was, but it sure was a surprise to me when he acted like a hormonal idiot!

Quote of the Day

"Intolerance is the most socially acceptable form of egotism, for it permits us to assume superiority  without personal boasting."  Sydney Harris (1917 - 1986) American Jounalist

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

"In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted."   Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) Philosopher, educator


It has been almost two months since we have had rain, and the last rainfall was not much. My pastures are brown, my lawn is gone and I can't water the gardens enough. When Kristina rides in the sand arena it creates a huge dust cloud. There is a chance of rain for this evening and I am doing the dance. Please, please rain.

The Convention is Coming, The Convention is Coming!

The Republican National Convention will be in St. Paul, Mn. My home town. I can't think of a larger irony than that. St. Paul, the die-hard core of Democratic politics is hosting the Republican Convention. It feels like Alice has gone through the looking glass! Right now I wish I still lived there as I am sure there will be high drama in town. In the past several years the ability to exercise your guaranteed right to assembly has been curtailed, putting protesters in 'freedom zones'. Silly me, I thought the entire country is a freedom zone, what was I thinking.

Lest it is felt that I am not fair, let me say that yesterday I caught a portion of a story about Denver and the Democratic Convention. There where wire cages set up to put protesters in as they were arrested. There had been talk of topping them with razor wire. Razor wire! Where are we and what have we become? People have a right to protest, all people. If they are causing harm to others, then they must be stopped, but the act itself is not an offense and it certainly doesn't require metal cages topped with razor wire. To be fair, it was decided that the razor wire was maybe a bit over the top.

It has been a slow but steady decline to this, although it has been accelerated over the past few years, but the slow decline has made it possible to convince the population that what is done 'to protect us' is in our best interest. 

I much prefer a messy and imperfect democracy to a perfect autocracy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This and That

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it" George Bernard Shaw

"I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in it enough to want to force it upon anyone."  H. L. Mencken

"It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own."
Thomas Jefferson

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people." John Adams

I love interesting quotes and I found these to be that. All on the same topic but by diverse personalities. Jefferson, Shaw and Mencken are some of my favorites. Mencken had a very sharp wit, as well as a well-honed tongue!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What Are We To Do?

My farrier was out yesterday, so we got onto the subject we usually get to; what are we going to do if the economic situation stays the same or worsens. He has been experiencing a decrease in income over the past year like he has never known before and he is a 30 year in the business guy. His wife was a real estate agent who is still working but not earning. He has two in college and another on the way in two years. 

I own 26 horses, many of them old or aging. I have horses that should have homes where they are happily used, but there is a very limited buying group at this time, which means the world is their candy store. So they are all my responsibility. I saw this coming, so I stopped breeding my own mares, but I don't think I knew how bad it would get. I need to buy all of my hay and we are in our second year of very dry weather, making hay more scarce and therefore more expensive, as well as the added cost of fuel increasing the cost. 

So, it makes me wonder, what are we going to do if this doesn't stop? My farrier has had clients put down older horses, horses they probably would not have euthanized two years ago, but decided it was best now. I am managing, but if there isn't some relief down the road I'll need to look at further ways to cut expenses. What I have done already is return to using bulk bedding. I have used pelleted bedding for four years but it is expensive and I couldn't justify the cost anymore. I don't have pregnant/lactating mares and foals anymore so my grain bill is much less, as well as my vet bill. I am doing much more of my own vet care, things I would normally have called a vet for, I manage to deal with myself. I have always been very generous with hay and I am trying to be less so, but old habits are hard to break. I still have part time barn help and I still have some horses worked by an on-site trainer, so if it becomes necessary.........

I just wonder how other people are doing and if there is a sense of hope in general. I have to have the belief that things will turn around, but sometimes I lose faith. In the meantime, my life has become very expensive.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Old Horses

I have several old horses, all long-time companions. One of these, thirty year old Emmit, is a boarded horse and he has lived here for 14 years. Emmit and my 26 year old Tanzar started losing weight this spring. This past week Emmit lost considerable weight, even though he is eating well. It seems he isn't processing his food. It is such a hard thing to face, especially when he is still interested in food and life, but he is on his last days. 

Emmit's owner hasn't been out for a little over a week, so I have a hard call to make if I don't see her today. Emmit is a unique individual who has maintained his sense of distain for me all these years. He has a feisty, opinionated personality and no one could catch him unless he deceided, including his owner who learned to visit Emmit based on his schedule and not hers! He has always been a large personality and when he is gone there will be a large, empty space on the farm. We know intellectually that this will happen, but the reality never gets any easier, no matter how many times I have had to face it. With the number of old horses here and a couple of dogs as well, we will be facing it with some regularity.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Cycle of Life

I attended the wedding of a young woman I have known from her childhood today. She's taller, more beautiful and grown. I'm older, fatter and gray. I remember the serious girl who grew up with horses from birth. She showed my first halter baby for me when she was, I think 15. She showed my ASB stallion last year and they both took my breath away. I always imagined she would be around forever, but she met a very nice young man and has now married him. The rub is, he is established in his home state of Kansas and she will go there. Her mother will miss her terribly and nothing can compare to that. But I will miss her too. Time moves on and sometimes we don't look up from what we are doing and it marches on without our notice. I noticed today. I'll miss her, but I also rejoice for her. She is on her way to a new chapter in her life and the world is open to her and her new husband. I wish them a long and happy life together. And, I'll still get updates!

Friday, August 15, 2008


Today I got a glimpse of the new world. The internet version of a poison pen letter showed up on a blog, that was posted on horse related forums. The fact that I happen to know the target of this blog is pertinent and not. A poison pen letter reached a small number of people, an internet blog strategically placed can potentially reach millions. My blog reaches very few, but I have something to say anyway.

I know the target and I know her to be kind and gentle. I have no idea whether the charges are true or not. I don't care, because this isn't about that. It's about someone's ability to post on a blog anything they want and the willingness of people to believe something because it is said. I have a sense of outrage over this injustice. If a person is suspected of a crime, the proper authorities need to be notified and the legal process needs to be put in place. To charge and try someone online under the cover of anonymity is the antithesis of our judicial system, not to mention our Constitution. A person has a right, under our law, to face their accuser. How can you do that in a situation such as an internet blog?

I am an old school Constitutionalist, and I don't think that is a bad thing. I do believe it is a disappearing thing. And I am very sorry that this has happened in a country that has a guiding document of conduct which most of the population has no knowledge of.

As you can see, this has nothing to do with the individual, although I personally like her, but about the behavior of the individual who started this attack. In a world of sanity, the charges would have been made, the case would have been tried and guilt or innocence would have been determined. At that point an internet blog about this would have been appropriate. But that's not how we do things anymore.

If the person charged and convicted online is innocent, how do you take it back? 

I have a sense of unease because I have never kept my internet persona anonymous. 

Thursday, August 14, 2008


dres-SAGE. The work conjures up many images and thoughts for me. In its pure meaning it's simply training the horse. When it is dres-sage it is an attitude. I have been a fan and a critic for many years, more often the latter. But, lately I have been lucky to have an on-farm trainer and a very qualified instructor for her which has given me only positive opinions.

I saw a horse at Brandywine this week that made my jaw drop. He is HUGE, which was eye-catching enough, but when his rider got him going he was stunning. And it was all completely relaxed and I couldn't take my eyes off from him. Watching a horse working at that level and seeing him behave as if he were going on a walk through the park made my day. I'm so used to seeing horses ridden with so much pressure, including to a point my own, that it was wonderful.

Zing had a workout yesterday that was the best he's ever had. I got to play coach and remind Kristina to bring the rein up not back and to remind her to throw him the reins so he could search for the bit. I got to tell her to 'ride him on the buckle'! These are totally against all former training she has had. I'm telling you, he was so relaxed and he developed a sweeping, free-moving gait. Zing naturally has a lot of air under his feet and yesterday he moved like a WB, with the air and the swinging gait. It was so much fun to see.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wonderful Day at Brandywine

We go for lessons with Bill at Brandywine Stable and we have been taking the Lipizzan cross Ari. It is the best time for me and Kristina learns so much. A friend of mine came today and was so happy to have had the opportunity to listen and observe their lesson. Ari's whole attitude changed today from a few seemingly simple changes, it was like a whole new horse going around the arena. Bill is so gentle and soft in his teaching manner and my horse responds so well to what he instructs Kristina about. It is soooooo different from much of the lessons I have watched and a few I have taken. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to learn and to have my horse trained with the help of such a talented individual. Life is good!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Good Lesson Today

WF Last Of Roses, hereon known as Zing, had a workout today. His trainer, Kristina, has been with him for one year this month and as I watched him today I thought back to the messed-up and angry horse he was a year ago. I had made some mistakes in my choice of trainers for him and it had created a mess. There was an angel watching over Zing when Kristina found us because a better choice for him would not have been possible and the fact that I really like her is a bonus.

The silver lining I have found in the poor economy is that I have not felt any pressure to get the stallion into the show ring, allowing he and Kristina to work slowly and often measuring progress in inches. But he is relaxed and happy, there isn't any force or frustration. What a concept!

Anyway, I was recalling the past year and how far we have come. Also, how many saddles I have bought! Zing out-grew the saddle he wore, so I bought a wide tree Stueben on ebay. Stueben's idea of a wide tree wasn't Zing's, so it didn't fit. I bought a treeless dressage saddle and Zing loves it, but Kristina, not so much. She has used it about 4 months and has had a game face, but didn't like it. So, back to ebay. I have now purchased a Kieffer Lech Profi with an adjustable tree. The saddle needs to be sent in to be adjusted, but it can be. The seller said it is at medium, so I assumed I would need to have it adjusted, but Kieffer's idea of medium is rather wide. So right now horse and rider are happy!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Crazy Hot Arabians

OK, I read somethings on an internet forum a couple of days ago that has been irritating me. It's not as if I haven't heard it more times than I can count, but I know one of the participants and I felt disappointed. On this same forum I have read in the past two months about numerous people being bucked off from their QH's and no one says, rank bad-tempered QH's, but Arabian bashing is almost a national sport. Coming from people who have Arabians or crosses makes this worse because it gives more credibility to the mindset. I'm not naive and I know that there are Arabians that are not suited to average riders, but so many of these horses are quiet and sensible. I own Arabians that cover the whole spectrum.

We have been doing more with my horses this year then I have done for several years. We took two cross-breds to a park in June. One, a mare, had not been off the farm since she was a yearling and the other has only done arena work. So, obviously they had never been on a trail ride. The mare is 10 and the gelding is 11. Both went along as if they did it every week. I have a 7 year-old PB mare who had not left the farm ever until June of this year. Her off-farm experience was to go to a reined cowhorse clinic that used buffalo instead of cattle! She had never been in a ring with other horses and she surely never saw a buffalo, much less chase it. The mare was very good, although worried. This mare spent a fun day at a farm in WI a couple of weeks ago in an open field with jumps and horses jumping them. She didn't like the jumps, but she sure wasn't out of control, just cautious. I stopped riding in 1999 and only have begun again on a limited basis this year and I rode one of my horses in that same open field without a problem. I rode another horse at the cowhorse clinic and although I didn't work with the buffalo, I was in the ring with the others attending the clinic. What more can be expected from a horse? Alright, that's my daily rant for now.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Starting a blog

I can't believe I am doing this, but here it is. I am starting a blog about life on the farm. The title says it, it's about a little of this and a little of that.