Sunday, October 27, 2013


It's been confirmed with video.  Stormy does the foxtrot, a gait where at the trot (a diagonal gait), the front foot hits the ground just before the opposite hind foot hits.  It results in an extremely smooth feeling "trot" since the concussion is spread out rather than on the exact same point in time.  It's been described as sounding like "a chunk of meat and two potatoes"...if you say that with rhythm, the foot falls will fall into that time.  The following video shows her doing her thing, and while it looks like her hooves may be hitting at the same time, when I advance the video one slide at a time, you can clearly see that her hind foot lags and hits the ground just after the opposite front.  And you can also see how smooth she is and easy to see...I'm hardly moving at all and I'm bareback!

I rode Stormy bareback today and even at a fast "trot", she was extremely easy to sit...very smooth and no bounce.  She doesn't seem to get air with her trot.  We also cantered.  She was a very good girl.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Still healing, and a LOT of wine!

The healing on Chico's leg is still going slowly, but this weekend, for the first time, I can't detect the cleft in the granulation tissue!  And the seepage from the wound is suddenly remarkably less.  I'm taking that as a great sign that we are finally closing up, but he still has a ways to go.  Starting last weekend, I've been taking the bandage off during the day and on at night.  During the week, that was spotty, as my Dad had to change his bandage, so I just had him change it everyother day and not worry about off in the a.m., on in the p.m.  But I started that back up this weekend.  His leg still swells up just a bit when it is not bandaged.  With a bandage on, it stays much less swollen.  So, we are trying to get the best of both worlds (air to the wound and decreased swelling) with our current methods.  I just don't want Chico's leg to heal up all thick after all the work we've put into it.  Chico has also been out in the small pasture (no longer cooped up in the barn) for the last couple weeks.

Chico is such a good boy though all this.  When he sees me enter the pasture, he comes over to greet me immediately and stands stock still while I check out his bandage and remove it.  To put it back on, I always take him out and tie him near all my supplies.  He seems to enjoy all the attention.  Nothing has been a bad experience for him.  He comes right up to me for scratches and love.  I think a lot of that has to do with being separated from the rest of the herd.  He's with Catlow now, but he REALLY wants to be with his best bud, Cody.  He's lonely for the whole herd.

And I must show the pictures from my wine exploits.  I got into wine-making over the summer.  So far I've done Black Raspberry, Peach, Peach/Blueberry, Elderberry, Grape, Grape/Apple, Crabapple, Cranberry/Elderberry.  They are in 1 gallon carboys (each gallon makes 5 wine bottles full), but some I have between 2 and 4 gallons of.  I think that's about all I'll tackle for this year.  The wines need to finish fermenting and aging.  My first ones are supposed to be ready to drink around Christmas.  I've been sampling them along the way during the whole process and I really like most of them (in the beginning they didn't taste the greatest but they did change as the fermentation proceeded).  Some have required some tweaking, but I won't go into it...I could spend a whole separate blog writing about wine-making!  All I'll say is it is so fun, and I'm so glad I got into it.  The most fun part is I get to harvest wild fruit (most of what I've picked grows wild around our land), and tweak it all to the tastes that I like.  I don't like my wine sweet, like most fruit wines are made, so I get to make it just the way I like it.

Some of the wines in this picture are cloudy because they are really young and still actively fermenting.  From left to right: Black Raspberry (the deepest darkest color I've made so far), Elderberry, Grape, Grape/Apple, and Crabapple.
Not all the wines I've made are in this picture.  Some have been bottled and but away in my cold room.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Beautiful Fall

Well, it is that time of year again.  The time when all the maples turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red.  Right now they are at their peak, soon to be followed by the slightly duller oak trees.

It has been beautiful riding weather this fall.  I haven't ridden much, but I've been able to take Stormy out about 5 times. 

I gotta tell you, I got myself a good horse!  I underestimated how solid Stormy is.  She really just doesn't know refined leg cues, but she really did have a good start on her at one point in her life.  Then she fell into the hands of inexperienced owners, where she sort of took over.  That they were successful with her is a testament to how good-minded this mare is.

Maple-leaf viburnum

And the added bonus?  She is gaited!  Kind of!  Well, some Standardbreds are pacers and can rack and pace with ease.  Stormy is not a pacer.  She is a trotter, but she can do a "fast walk" and also I think she is doing a "fox trot" when she trots in a collected manner.  During a "fox trot", the front leg hits the ground just before the diagonal rear leg.  I need to video her trotting so I can slow it down and really see what she is doing, but she is very smooth.  My Tennessee Walker owning neighbor is impressed with her as well.

She is fun and I'm really bonding with her.  She still has her stubbornesses, but we are quickly working through them and she is starting to respond to me without hesitation.  She is also just so darn un-spooky.

Cody makes Stormy look small, but really Stormy is a nice height for an aging woman such as myself.  She is about 14.2 hh.  Cody is a good 15hh.

The wild grapes have had a bounty year.  I've picked about 45 pounds of wild grapes so far!  In the past I've made the most wonderful tasting jam with them, but this year I'm trying my hand at making wine.  A friend tried making wine last year, but it was quite unpalatable.  I have higher hopes for this batch, which so far is tasting better.  This picture is sideways and I can't figure out how to make it upright, since it is upright in every other program I view it from...

And last but not least, Chico's wound is still healing slowly.  It is still draining a bit and that alarms me, but I've been assured it is normal and to be expected and it should heal fine.  I will be happy when that last little bit of cleft finally fills in.

This last picture shows how much drainage still soaks through the 4 layers of tefla pads I apply for every bandage change.  Thankfully, the tefla pads are the only thing that I throw away every time.  I got some washable bandage material and it has saved me a ton of money.