Archive for March, 2010

Today we visited Elvis.  We hadn’t seen him since Monday, when we dropped him off.  I was surprised that as we drove up, he wasn’t in his assigned pasture.  We got out of the car and ran into the BO, who was finishing up working a horse.  We stopped along the fence line to chat, and she told us that she had decided yesterday that Elvis wasn’t happy in his old group.  Tuesday we had spoken and, at that time, he was doing OK.  He wasn’t fully accepted by the herd boss, but things weren’t unusual.  Sometime on Wednesday though, the BO noticed Elvis standing by himself in a lonely corner of the pasture.  This instance, coupled with the fact that he had gotten a fresh kick mark and she saw him trying to bond through play with the lowest horse in the group with no success, caused her to decide things weren’t working out for him.  The problem though was that he was already with the most mild group, the herd made up of the most subordinate horses!  There was one other option though… the pony herd!

The BO has a mini donkey (pictured in the last post), two small ponies, and one medium.  She figured that this would be a very non-threatening group, even if somewhat untraditional for a horse to join.  To make sure that he had the best chance at building confidence, she put him in a smaller pasture with only one of the ponies.  He’s now been with his new friend for a day or so, and things appear to be working out much better.  At first he was frightened when the small hairy beast boldly trotted up to him, but then was pleased to find that the diminutive equine was friendly.  They have reportedly been seen galloping in circles in play – Elvis may have found his first friend!

For such a bold horse, I find it amusing and interesting that Elvis can have his confidence shaken within a herd of horses.  I tend to believe this will change with time and maturity, but what an interesting thing!  The BO sees him as extremely immature.  I do as well, but then again she has a fresh pair of unbiased eyes.  Perhaps he’s even more of a baby than I realize on a daily basis!  Aww, that makes me think he’s even more adorable.

Elvis and his Little Friend.


Read Full Post »

Well, yesterday Elvis began a new chapter in his life: we moved him to his new home in our soon-to-be new city of residence.  The day started out a bit dicey with unexpected weather.  I had checked the NOAA forecast and radar multiple times Sunday night and Monday morning, and I was prepared for some showers.  I wasn’t, however, prepared for the flurries that looked out-of-place while we were having our coffee, or the downpour of frozen rain that heralded our approach to the barn.   I was pretty nervous about the conditions worsening, especially since I had never trailered Elvis before and we were facing the tail end of rush hour traffic.  Fortunately though, by the time we had finished our final preparations the clouds parted and we actually had sunshine.

We ended up leaving a bit after predicted, partly because my barn owner and another boarder were there to say goodbye to Elvis and I.  This was such a nice surprise, and it made me realize (again) how much I’ll miss our small barn community.

I collected Elvis, swapped his blanket for a cooler, put on his shipping boots, and proceeded to load him.  I wasn’t sure how he’d do, as we’d never officially tried the trailer out.  I was so happy to see him calmly walk up to it and step right on.  He stopped once and took a step or two back, but it was a half-hearted attempt which was cut short with one sharp look from me.  Then, he proceeded to march right on but not before he paused once more, this time to reach out to Carla (the barn owner) and give her a nuzzle as if to say goodbye.  Then, once on he stood while I clipped him in and Carla closed up the trailer behind him.  We did our final door and light check and then, punctuated by a single and demanding stomp, we were off!  I was so proud to be driving my very own “rig”, with my very own horse inside, and accompanied by my husband.  We had a three and a half hour journey ahead of us.  Travel went very well with no fussing from Elvis and no trouble from impatient city drivers.

Once we arrived at our destination, we pulled onto the convenient circle-drive around the barn and parked.  My husband and I easily and quickly unloaded Elvis who once off the trailer, looked around briefly, and then noticed the grass underfoot.  Nicole, our new barn owner, greeted us and showed us to our stall.  Elvis walked into the barn like he owned the place and we left him in his stall to relax for an hour or so while we parked and unloaded the trailer.

Nicole’s place is really great.  It’s a very nice barn with loads of amenities, and she runs it like a tight ship.  She’s a professional and this is her professional career – that much is clear right away.  She designed her property for efficiency and she runs it in such a way that you can tell she takes pride in her work.  I really look forward to meeting the other boarders, and beginning some lessons with Nicole and the two dressage instructors.

After we put our things away, Nicole suggested turning Elvis out in his new paddock.  I was a little nervous about turning him out so quickly, but I trusted her judgement: she had a field full of low-on-the-totem-pole horses who acted as her regular welcoming committee.  So, I took Elvis over to visit these horses and they did indeed seem very mild.  After turning him out there was a lot of squealing, fake striking, and a few kicks.  Elvis was booted in the hamstring once but that was all that I saw, and the rest of the kicks were pathetically harmless.  Elvis was shunned by the group’s lead horse for about thirty minutes, during which time he became friends with the herd’s loner, but by the time I left the herd boss and Elvis were both grooming each other.

We plan on going back later this week to check on him, but I’m confident that he’s in the right place.  In fact, as we were driving away I asked my husband what he thought and how he felt.  He told me he wasn’t concerned in the slightest, and I realized I felt the same way.  I’m sad to be leaving my friends, and change always makes one nervous, but I’m excited at the same time to be in this new farm with new opportunities, and with the chance to make a new friend in my barn owner and the other boarders.

Below are photos of the day.  Elvis has lost a lot of muscle tone with his lack of riding and general movement due to the weather, just look past that for now.

Elvis takes a look at his new home.

Beautiful Barn.

Can I sneak him into the pasture before the other horses notice?
Can I sneak him into the pasture before the others notice?

I think he was saying here: "Are you sure about this, Mom?"
I think he was saying here: “Are you sure about this, Mom?”

First Greeting.

Working things out.

The Pony Dance.

Startled that the others took off.

Left Alone.. he looks rather shocked.

Strutting his stuff.

He is totally full of himself.
Full of self confidence.

Looking for an excuse to be silly.

One of the farm’s cutest residents.

The awesome ring… it is HUGE.

Read Full Post »

New Super-Find Posted

I’m hoping this guy gets snapped up.  He’s being sold at an auction hosted by The Ranch Program at Salem, a horse program at the Salem Children’s Home.  I think he’s worth taking a chance on, plus he’s a flashy palomino!

Read Full Post »

Missing in Action

Hello blog-friends,  I’m sorry this update is coming so late.  Since my last post, I’ve gotten a lot of emails, phone calls, and messages from many of you asking “where the heck are you?!” (Carolyn gets the prize for being the most insistent, she claims I’m some form of critical entertainment for her.  I’m not sure if I should take that as a compliment or not…*grins*).

Anyway, I’d first like to thank you all for the show of support.  It really has meant a lot to me during this crazy time, especially since I’ve not been able to see much of Elvis at all.  Second, I’d like to offer an explanation.  As you know, this winter has been very difficult for people in my region (the south).  We’ve had record and sustained lows and outrageous amounts of rain and snow fall.  We simply aren’t prepared to deal with this type of weather, and many barn situations aren’t set up to be efficient with such environmental demands placed on them.  This winter definitely destroyed a lot of my ride time: it was either flooding, or the ground was too boggy to ride on (everywhere), or the ground was frozen mud.  This winter makes me realize how much I love my home state of Florida.   Anyhow, with the change of seasons we’ve not seen much improvement, unless you consider unfrozen water an improvement upon frozen water.  It seems that, without fail, any free time I have will coincide with a downpour.

In addition to this, we have some big changes taking place in our lives.  My husband’s job is requiring us to move to a new city!  Naturally, that means that it’s my job to move us, as his job is much less flexible than mine.  Also, he finally convinced me that we should look at buying our first home.  This too was my task and I’m proud to say that I’ve not only become an expert on our new location, I’ve used that knowledge to choose a fantastic home, made an offer that was accepted, and I’m now just waiting for closing.   So, I’ve been juggling home buying (a process that is way more complicated than it appears on the outside), packing, traveling for my job, traveling to our new city, interviewing barns, buying furniture, and planning renovations all on my own.  I feel like Super Woman!

Following that feeling though is one of major disappointment.  I miss Elvis so much.  I’ve never been the sort to have a horse and not ride them at least four times a week.  This is partly because I’m goal oriented, but it’s also largely because horses are a balm for my heart.  They are the best therapy, and Elvis in particular brings so much joy into my life.  He’s the perfect combination of best friend and athletic partner; we enjoy our company together and we enjoy working towards goals.  Acknowledging that I’ve not gotten to see him, that he’s stagnating right now, and that he’s lost a lot of muscle tone (all he does is stand in his shed, the only dry spot he has), is just more than I can take.  Since this blog is greatly dedicated to all of the things we do together and accomplish, it’s been so hard for me to even think about its existence.

There is a light on the horizon though.  This move should be complete in the next few weeks.  I’m so excited to share that Elvis will not only be on a fantastic farm, but he’ll be 10 miles from me!  This is a vast improvement from 30 miles one way, through one of the nation’s most notoriously congested cities.  My heart literally does flips when I think of how this will improve my riding life.  Also, the farm is hunter/jumper focused but provides dressage instruction from two individuals twice a week, boasts a very active clinic schedule, is forty-five minutes from one of  the south’s best eventing facilities as well as the seat of a very active hunt, and Elvis will be living in style.  Absolute style.  I’ll have electricity, hot water, an amazing tack room, a small but thriving social network, and my guests will have access to comfortable amenities to encourage them to visit with me.  I just can’t wait.  My husband and I move Elvis next Monday.

All in all, my life is about to face some amazing and wonderful changes.  I can’t wait to be done with this transitional phase so that I can enjoy these new and exciting things!  I look forward to working on our first home, and being closer to Elvis.  Yay!

I hope this posting provides the explanation you all would like for my poor blogging lately.  I promise to pick things back up soon, once things calm down.  You can certainly look forward to an update on Elvis’s move.

Read Full Post »