Thankfully, many of those 1 nice day here and there's have happened on the weekend when I have actually been home. And I've taken full advantage. If the weather is at all bearable (minimum 15 degrees, and not too windy), I've gone for a ride. Usually I ride bareback in the winter, but I have ridden in a saddle a couple of times.
I've been alternating between Stormy, Cody, and Catlow. I'm not even going to try to ride Chico until next summer and I know he should be fully healed from last Fall's injury. Then I'll be able to more adequately assess his long-term soundness potential. Chico's wound is looking pretty good, by the way.
His hair on that leg is all crimpy, I think because the winter hair was growing in while he was wearing a bandage. It tends to collect snow and ice-balls more than his other legs.
It also makes it hard to tell just how big that fetlock really is. It is bigger than the other, but I think it looks even larger with the crimpy hair.
Since it was so windy and cold today, I didn't ride, and I pulled the horses' hay over to the lee side of a hill to feed. Usually they are fed on top of the hill next to our house. Out of the wind, the sun made this weather totally wonderful.
And my dogs like the cozy little leeside as well, digging up frozen horse turds and doing their best to chew them up.
So, I like horse butts. I'm sure everyone does, right? All my horses have very different, but equally nice butts!
My dark horses' coats are getting that faded late winter look. I can't wait till they shed out this spring. I'm ready for winter to be finished. Usually I really like winter, but I've been so busy, away from home, and last winter was so long. I feel like the majority of the last year has been winter for me!
Chico and Cody
So, have I mentioned that I love Stormy? I do. When I bought her, I thought I was going to keep her till next year and then look into selling her. I may still do that...but the longer I have her, the less likely that is looking. I just love her. And she loves me too. I love my other horses too of course, but she is just a sweet little peppy mare. She's the bottom of the pecking order in my herd, but she still has her own "personality". My horses have taught her some really nice manners. She is not nearly so pushy about food as she used to be. And she is so fun to ride. She hesitates occasionally about going out alone, and we might have a very brief second of discussion about it, but really, she does whatever I ask of her. I want to try to get her a little more fine-tuned at this point. She still doesn't know a whole lot about leg cues (other than squeeze to go faster), but she is slowly catching on. I am getting to the point where I can feel her slightly responding when I ask her to step over one direction when riding. The reason we haven't gotten far yet is mostly my fault. I just haven't been working with her. I jump on and we go out for a ride. I try a little bit on the trail, but I think some of this sensitizing of her body needs to happen on the ground, because she just doesn't realize she is suppoesd to respond any other way than she currently knows.
Last weekend I rode her with my 1964 Simco saddle. It is a really nice old saddle that I restored and it doesn't fit any of my other horses. I've been having trouble finding a saddle to fit Stormy. She is narrow, but short - backed, so Catlow's saddle fits her back well, but the rigging is not in the right place for Stormy. As is, Catlow's saddle rides up over Stormy's withers, all because the rigging pulls it up there. It's really annoying and makes me not want to ride down hills in it at all. I actually was thinking (daydreaming) about trading Catlow's saddle in for the same brand and style but a more typical rigging. But that is going to cost a lot. Then it dawned on me that I need to try my super old almost antique saddle on her. And it fits! So I dont' have to look into anything new for her. The only downside of this old saddle is that it is heavy. And with Stormy being my smallest horse, it makes me feel bad for her! But, I have to give the little mare some big credit.
Two weeks ago, I rode Cody bareback and we cantered up the snowmobile trail, which starts out at a gentle incline, but then gets really steep to get up to the top of the ridge. We cantered along, and when we got to the steep part, Cody was already tired, but I urged her a little and she dug right in to get us to the top. Then we had to stand at the top for a good 5 minutes without moving while Cody huffed and puffed and caught her breath. Now, this weekend, I did the same thing with Stormy. But I was in my 40 lb saddle on a tiny little mare. Stormy started out cantering much faster than Cody, and when we got to the steep part, just chugged right up to the stop. She wanted to stop and rest for a second too, but she was not huffing and puffing like Cody was. Both of them have had the same amount of activity these last several months. Stormy just has some really nice drive that is fun to play with. She can be really fast!
And I think Stormy's delicate face markings are so cute.
So, two more pictures and these are not of horses. This is one of our cows.
A few weeks ago, my husband noticed that she had some pretty nasty eye discharge. We got her in the chute to look at her and saw that she had a big tumor of her third eyelid (likely a squamous cell carcinoma). It was so large that we couldn't cut it out in its entirety and to leave any in was just asking for it to grow right back. These tumors can be really invasive into the surrounding bone and are one of the more common reasons that carcasses are condemned and not allowed to be used for human consumption. It's commonly called "cancer eye" and is usually seen in white-faced cows because of the carcinogenic affects of UV radiation on unpigmented skin. This cow is a middle aged brood cow and is a valuable member of our herd. With her "cancer eye", she is worthless and will be condemned if sold. But by removing her whole eye along with the tumor, we can be pretty sure to get the whole cancerous growth and prevent it from recurring. Now she will have a long comfortable life having more babies. I'm proud to say that my first enucleation/eventeration went pretty well, and she is healing as expected! She is a little more wary after all is said and done though.