The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

On The Spot

No pressure or anything.  Just the new horse vet and my friend (she of "A Delicate Balance") watching me while we treat Bridget's leg and then surveying my George-management skills when I go in to fetch Rose out of the field.

For years the horse folk in our area have made do with one or two good-natured cow doctors who are willing to pitch in and take care of the equines.  More serious problems involved trucking your horse over to Leesburg. But now we have a real live horse doctor, which is exciting, and which is why I called my friend to come over and meet him when he came out to check on Bridget's leg.

Before my friend arrived, we got the wound cleaned out and swabbed and scrubbed and generally prodded and interfered with.  The vet commented on Bridget's excellent ground manners throughout all this.  Then when he started to shave the edges of the wound, she started getting squirrelly. He asked if it would be ok to give her a low dose of tranquilizer, and I acquiesced.  My friend arrived around this time.  The vet said that the tranquilizer was low enough that Bridget could "break through" it if she wanted. Which she did want.  We got the shaving done with a little fuss, but then we had to spritz the Betadyne and get the blue goop on.

At this point, my friend and the vet were all for strong-arming her.  When I pointed out that she had been very good up til now without this treatment, my friend remarked, "Well that was before she ran out of patience" - implying that when the horse's patience runs out, we must resort to forceful tactics.

I offered to do the Betadyne myself - I showed her the bottle, kept a loose lead rope, told her that it might hurt but she had to be brave, and she stood while I squirted it.  Once again for the blue goop, the vet was holding tight to her head while she swiveled about.  I asked him to let go, I got her attention again, told her that she might not like blue as much as pink, but it was going on her leg, ok?  I kept a loose rope, and she stood still while I glopped the stuff on.

Thankfully, my friend now appreciates more clearly that I'm actually doing something different these days, rather than merely failing to do what she thinks I should be doing.  But after the vet left, when she and I were chatting, she mused that some vets would not have been so patient as to wait while I got Bridget to do things our way, and that we have to teach the horses to behave, because it's a "safety issue."  However, the way I see it, Bridget was far safer to deal with when no one was laying down the law to her, and she will be safer in future if she knows that she will be treated respectfully. She was so willing to resume cooperation when asked politely - how rude to force her! The key thing was to engage with her, to regain our mutual understanding and ask her to stay with me in that zone of friendship while we carried out the uncomfortable procedures. I imagine it's a little like balancing on a tightrope. Once you start slipping, it takes a lot to get your balance again, but if you can catch yourself after only a tiny tilt, the adjustment can be tiny too.

I also had the vet look at an old scar on Rose's eye.  This entailed extracting Rose from the George.  George specializes in a subtle and sneaky evil eye that sends the mares skittering off in fear. He prowled after us, making faces at Rose behind my back. I maintained my good will towards him and repeatedly asked him politely to back off a bit.  By the time we reached the gate, he had given up the evil eye and was willing to keep enough distance away from us to allow Rose to go through. This is far from meeting Carolyn Resnick's standard of being able to send your horse away and send him as far away as you choose.  However, dear George does like to be in the thick of things, and if he's willing to be nice about it, I guess it's ok if he decides to hover close rather than be banished.

Off to the beach tomorrow!  Thank heaven for a pet-sitter willing to take care of Bridget's leg.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Thoughts on Dancing With Horses

1) The "most  dominant" leading "zone" (3) - behind the horse - is the zone from which Gus used to drive Skipper forward - in a friendly, fraternal, but nonetheless insistent way.

2) KFH criticizes people for giving confusing signals and then punishing the horse for misunderstanding.  (p. 43) But perhaps the solution is simply to stop punishing.  Maybe absolute consistency is not the only answer. If my horse is allowed to "try out" different responses to my bizarre human requests, without worrying about adverse consequences, maybe he'll figure stuff out and won't need me to develop a machine-like consistency. My daughter learned in education class that an important prerequisite for successful learning is to take away the fear of failure.

3)  I am glad to learn that KFH believes the ideal height of horse for a 5' 11" person is 14:3 hh to 15:3 hh. (p. 59)  I'm almost 5' 10", and my favorite size horse to ride is around 14:2 to 15:2.

4) I like what he has to say about the forehand vs. the haunches (p. 51):
The forehand is built in a relatively linear fashion.  Additional burdens on it cannot be relieved through angles and elasticity ... The haunches, on the other hand, are built like an accordion .... Here resilience and elasticity can be easily developed to accept any additional burdens and ... cushion them.
Additionally, he points out that it is only in the flight response that a horse really burdens its forehand - and that horse racing aims to put the horse into artificial flight. A racehorse in flight no longer is able to use its haunches for weight bearing and puts all the burden of its weight onto the forehand. (p. 50).

5)  I have identified a goal for myself: to weigh the same as Hempfling.  At the time of writing DWH, he says he's 175 lb. I think I can make it.  I may never have a mustache and a pirate shirt, but by golly I can be light enough to ride the same horses as he does.

6 ) I like a lot of what he says about the seat and aids.  If I should ever find myself on the back of a horse again, I'm going to have to give it a try.  Although I think, as with so much equestrian advice, I would have to spend a long time experimenting and making it my own.

7)  He says he yanks on the halter if a horse starts to graze without permission. Isn't that cheating?

8) KFH talks a lot of about being accepted as the herd leader.  But a horse doesn't spend ages hanging on every word of the stallion.  She's off eating and chatting with her friends, and then when the stallion suddenly says, "Look out!  Grizzly bear at two o'clock!" she pays attention.  When the danger is averted, she goes back to doing her own thing.  Klaus has the horses trundling around the countryside for hours on end following him as if he were Elvis Presley.  There's something more going on here than "herd leader" and "herd member."

9)  I want to do cool stuff.  I want to "work" with the horses.  It's not going to happen until they say so.

10) Everything makes more sense when I stop trying.  I can't do your program, Klaus.  Sorry.

The Book That Tells It Like It Is

Forget Resnick, forget Hempfling, forget Rashid and Nevzorov and Parelli.  Here is the book which explains just exactly what is going on here: What Do You Do With a Kangaroo

It also does a pretty good job of explaining child rearing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

More Musings on Dominance

To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. (Genesis 3:16)
This "curse" - relegating the woman to a subjugated position under the male, longing for him, yet oppressed by him - I always pondered in terms only of how it affects humans. Yet now I think it applies to all creatures.  And what creature comes to mind?  The horse of course.

The effects of God's "punishment" (which of course isn't a punishment at all but simply the inevitable result of man doing what God had warned against, which is why he warned them in the first place) are not sinful in themselves.  It is not sinful to be sick, for example, although it results from a disruption of the natural order. Many effects are an unfortunate, if arguably necessary, adjustment to post-fall conditions - meat eating, for example.  And the dominance of the male over the family group - "he shall rule over you."

Do I want to take for my role model the stallion - the oppressive male - who may protect the herd - but who is filling a role made necessary by the collapse of true virtue?

Take Chloe, for instance.  Chloe hates being bossed around.  But I really don't think she enjoys being dominated by a horse any more than by a human.  The only preferable thing about being bossed around by another horse is that its orders come in short, sharp bursts, followed by long periods of non-interference.  Sometimes I think Chloe would even rather go and face the wolf alone than suffer being pushed around by another horse or a human.

Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling (who has me enthralled and dazzled, as you may have noticed) talks a lot about obtaining "submission" from the horse. I don't really know what I think about this vis a vis the great KFH, but here's a provisional thought:

His horses seem genuinely contented, focused, relaxed, and interested.  He says he is achieving this by his non-violent "dominance" techniques. What if that were not the case? What if the horses were just being really nice to him because, as well as being consistent and fair, he sincerely tries to be nice to them? What if the part of his method which is most effective is not the one he believes is most effective?

Klaus is dazzled by the stallion's charisma the way I am dazzled by Klaus:
Anyone who has ever encountered a truly dominant stallion or mare is impressed above all by that creature's incredible presence and the force of its personality.  There is such power, such dignity, that hardly anyone would dare to question such a being. (Dancing with Horses, p. 32)
(I think the "or mare" is in there only as a superficial nod to evenhandedness.)

"Your desire shall be for your husband" ..... we witness the male's charisma, power, and presence - we (even men) desire it. We incline toward it with a longing which should properly be directed only toward God. It is right to love it; to be subservient to it is to acquiesce in our own downfall.

I've quoted this before, but I'll quote it again:
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)
In this weird path I'm on, a path I've been almost tricked into following, I have to try to emulate not the stallion but the "little child."  How does this work?  When I figure it out, I'll tell you.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dancing With Horses

I have begun to read Dancing With Horses. In my post-Spilker world, this is the first thing I've read which has something like a program to follow.

Of course, KFH is the coolest, but I can see already that I can't just go out with the horses and completely follow his program.  I want to have a completely open mind and learn what I can.  However, as soon as I start the most basic exercise, I feel already as if I am assuming a somewhat false position. I want to be able to do all the cool things with my horses that he does with his, but I guess I'm willing to potentially forego these gorgeous results in order to pursue my own weird path.

KFH is very into the twin pillars of dominance and trust.  As past readers of this blog may recall, I have mixed feelings about dominance.  I feel it is important and that I should get a grasp of it, but there it is - that ambivalence.

In the Garden of Eden, survival was not an issue, but a given.  I should say rather is, not was, as the conditions of Paradise prevail as the echt-blueprint of all life. Survival becomes an issue in the distorted situation of the post-lapsarian world. And dominance is all about securing survival, for the individual and for the group, in a dangerous, hungry world.

I think what I, and other bloggers in this vein, are seeking is the innocence of Paradise.  We have to be "as wily as serpents as well as innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16) and can't blind ourselves to the dangers and pitfalls which lurk around every corner, including the fact that our horses are large, potentially destructive, animals.  However, I want to be aware of that just out of the corner of one eye.

The obedience of Paradise was the obedience only of trust.  Eve's disobedience was not an infraction or the breaking of a rule, but a decision to break trust. Expulsion from Paradise consists partly in the replacement of trust with domination and the imposition of rules in place of harmonious agreement.  If I say, as KFH does, that the horse's nose may not pass my leading hand (p.76), I have built an artificial wall.  Sometimes I may not want the horse's nose to pass my hand - sometimes I might not care - it may depend on how I'm feeling, or how the horse is feeling. Of course I don't want us to descend into confusion, chaos and mixed signals, but I don't believe that's the alternative. However, as I'm a beginner on this path, I really don't know yet where we're going!

Today the horses were all emphatically standing by the gate, looking at the other field across the drive and saying:  "It is time - we want to move."  As it happens, today was the day I had picked to move them.  So I did.

Here they are enjoying (I think) the long-awaited rain which arrived today:

A Delicate Balance is Disturbed, Part 3

Bridget is still mad at me.  Or doesn't quite trust me.  Maybe it's her sore leg.  Or maybe not.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

George is Cooperative, and Bridget is Woebegone

This evening, I went out armed with halter, rope, antibiotic spray and fly goop.  George came up to greet me, and then allowed me to leave him and go over to take care of Bridget.

After I had removed Bridget's halter, George came right over.

Bridget is acting rather sad and crestfallen.  Her leg is swollen a lot, but she is not lame.  I may call the vet on Monday - we'll see how's she doing.

A Delicate Balance is Disturbed, Part 2

Today, at breakfast, it was immediately obvious that Rose has moved up to No. 2 in the food chain.  She lunged at Bridget, who rapidly moved off and waited to be served in third place.  Looking again at Bridget's wound, I think it was probably caused by a kick.  Probably - judging from this morning's behaviour - from Rose.

My friend came by again this morning, in response to my request for advice about Bridget's wound.  She agreed it looked like a kick.  We hosed the wound thoroughly and applied Neosporin, pending my trip to the feed store for something more appropriate.

This morning, I was able (having spent some time thinking it over) to explain more clearly to my friend how my views have changed.  I think we are not so very far off in how we see things, and I think part of the answer lies in the fact that she is being honest and true to herself in her current state of mind when she does what she does.  Whereas I cannot be honest and true when I simply follow her suggestions or instructions.  I have to learn not only to be "on solid ground" in my dealings with the horses, but also in my dealings with other people.

My friend thinks Rose just decided that it was time for Bridget to grow up, not be babied, and to accept third position.  I think (although I didn't say so) that Rose saw Bridget being chased yesterday and decided, in that case, that it was ok for her to do the same. As we do, so shall they follow.

Later, on returning from the feed store with my "next generation" (!) antibiotic spray and anti-fly goop, I went in to apply it to Bridget. Of course, first I had to deal with George.  After asking him very softly to move back about six times (which he did each time), I finally convinced him to stay away long enough for me to put on Bridget's halter.  That didn't last long, and he was soon trying to join in again. Somehow, however, I eventually convinced him, by mild-mannered means, to keep a few feet away.  I'm no Klaus Hempfling, and I'm sure my signals, body language, etc. are confused and confusing; KFH could keep George in position by asking one time with a twitch of his little finger. But throughout the clumsy process, George and I stayed connected, and I felt that even though he was at a little distance, there was an invisible thread joining us - I hadn't "driven him out of my space" but rather was holding him in my space where I wanted him.  If controlling horses' movement through body language were playing the violin, I am still on the simplest version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  But ... I read something today in Dancing With Horses that speaks to this:
There is a distinguishing feature of our work.  When what we are doing is right and good, then it will always look right and good - and beautiful - no matter at which level we are working.  If our child, at five or six, at the very beginning of his journey, performs his first tap steps for us, even if it is not an actual dance, does not his performance nevertheless have great charm?  Is it not beautiful in its own way, despite its awkwardness? (p.19)
 I hope so.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Delicate Balance is Disturbed

Yesterday, I had a strange experience, which I am processing and may take a long time to fathom.

My good horsey friend, who gave us George, came over.  We haven't seen each other yet this summer, due to various family circumstances on both sides, and this was the first time she'd met the horses, apart from George of course.

She is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, and understanding about horses. We can talk for hours, literally, on the phone about matters equine.  Horses like and trust her.  She is thoughtful and curious about horses and knows far more than I do about horse behaviour and herd dynamics.


The but does not apply to her but to myself.

Where to begin?  Let's start with Bridget, who has acquired the habit of reaching out with her foreleg.  To my friend, this is a potentially dangerous and certainly domineering habit, which should not be allowed.  She suggested that I "train" this behaviour and only let Bridget raise her leg on demand.  So I reached toward Bridget's right foreleg and asked her to give it to me.  Whereupon - she bit me.  Instinctively, I thumped her.  Which would have been ok, I think.  However, my friend was carrying a short stick and proceeded to chase her off.

Then there's the matter of Bridget asking to have her rump scratched.  This is permitted, and my friend's horses do this.  However, Bridget committed the "fault" of bumping me and getting me, in the process, to move my feet.  My friend said that to allow my feet to be moved was to admit that Bridget occupies an alpha position over me.  Before scratching her, I should insist that she move a step or two away from me.  I asked her, but she didn't move, and my friend prodded her, whereupon Bridget went to kick (to me, it was more of a startle reaction, more like a bounce with her butt), whereupon my friend chased her off again. Afterwards, she was very quick to move forward when asked.

Bridget has never offered to kick, and she has nipped me only once or twice before, quite a while ago, when annoyed at being led away from some choice grazing, and never since moving up here.

Ok, what about George?  My friend says he is a typical cattle horse, bred to be unflappable, and that you need to really impress upon him the need to get off and move away.  That he is not "hot-blooded" and does not "give to pressure" readily, and therefore you have to go after him very forcefully.  So she spent quite a lot of time making him keep his distance.

The trouble is that my friend has thought long and intelligently about all these things.  She has observed horses in groups and understands the way they interact.  She really does know better than me.


I felt uncomfortable about the whole thing and felt that try as I might, I couldn't explain to my friend where I was coming from, because whatever I said could somehow be interpreted in a different way.

Today, little Bridget showed up with a nasty-looking wound in her forearm - a puncture, with a flap of skin that looked like it ought to be stitched.  But also looked like it ought to be allowed to heal from the inside out, which would argue against stitching.  It wasn't bleeding much, and it was too late to call any but an emergency vet, so I decided to wait until tomorrow morning, when I will go consult the horsey experts at the feed store. She is very restless - walking, walking, walking - which I reckon is a good thing as it will keep blood circulating to the spot to help healing and will prevent stiffness setting in.

Anyway - I went out with a tube of antibiotic ointment to apply on the wound.  But Bridget wouldn't let me get near.  I feel this is not entirely attributable to her restlessness but also to a break in trust since yesterday.  In order to get near her without George interfering, I went in armed with a stick and made him back off a lot.

After a while, nobody in the field was speaking to me.  Except of course Chloe, whom I hung out with for comfort until it got quite dark.

As I was standing with Chloe, it came to me.

George shouldn't be approached with extra force, but with less.  He should be asked in a whisper.  George likes to work from a position of intimacy and closeness.  He doesn't want me to stand a few feet away and wave a stick at him and tell him to buzz off.  He wants me to come up close and ask him sweetly.

By this time he wasn't speaking to me.  But I know the way to George's heart.  (Reminds me of my son, who when he was a little boy, could always be made happy by an offering of money or egg rolls.)  I went into the house, came out with a large handful of treats and gave them all to George.  Then I whispered, "Could you move back a little?" and made a quiet, little gesture with my hand.  He stepped back immediately.

And if my friend was right about Bridget, Bridget would have been gradually assuming more and more dominance over me as time went by.  As she realized that I would "allow" such impertinences as making me move my feet, she would have pushed forward to secure her advantage.  But that has not been happening.  Together, we have been bumping up against each other, figuring out what works, what doesn't work, what makes us feel safe, what makes us feel insecure. I broke that trust.

George and Bridget are not first and foremost horses; they are first and foremost individuals.  Like most people, I reckon, I hate it when people analyze me and attribute motivations to psychological syndromes or human behaviour patterns . And I'm sure my kids would feel betrayed if I insisted on discussing their actions in terms of "adolescence" or "early adulthood" and approached them with behavioural techniques.

These means of interpretation have validity, as does a systematic study of horse behaviour.  However, between two individuals, or in a family group, these ideas must stay firmly in the background, perhaps sometimes enhancing one's overall understanding of a situation, but never dictating one's responses to friends and dear ones. The Creator set in place all these mechanisms in order to create individuals; these individuals cannot then be reduced to the mechanisms of which they are composed. The individual is always more than the sum of his parts.

The experience has not been entirely negative, however, as it has made me question myself and find an answer.

I have ordered copies of Dancing With HorsesHorses Never Lie: The Heart of Passive Leadership, and Zen Connection With Horses. Thanks to the magic of Amazon Prime, I am already in possession of Dancing With Horses and can't wait to settle down with it.  I hope to learn more about how to be with the horses and how to move forward with them.

But the most important thing to relearn and remember is what Imke Spilker reminds us on her website Communicative Horses: "Who inspects my work?  Who supervises me?  My horse."

Not my friend who, despite her superior knowledge and experience, isn't me and isn't my horse.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fun with Chloe

Last night, after getting me to scratch his tail for about half an hour, George finally released me, and I went to find Chloe, who was off by herself in the adjoining pasture.

We spent a pleasant, sleepy time under the moon, and after a long while, Chloe started sticking her foreleg out at me. When Chloe does this, I assume it's rather a different thing from when Bridget does, because I taught Chloe to "shake hands" for a treat reward.  Last night she knew there were no treats in store, and yet she wanted to play the game anyway.  After she'd voluntarily offered her foot, I stood up and asked her to shake hands, which she did.

I felt as if she were looking for something more.  So I asked her if she wanted to do the spinning-around-in-a-circle trick.  Yes, she did. Afterwards she nudged me, so I asked her if she wanted to do it again.  Yes. Another nudge.  How about would she like to do the coming-up-behind-me-and-pushing-me-with-her-nose trick?  Yup.  When she pushed me, I fell over deliberately - to add some fun feedback for her.  She came up and stuck her nose in my face, looking somewhat amused.

At that moment, along came Rose, and off went Chloe.  I said hello to Rose, went to say a quick goodnight to Chloe, who had started busily grazing, and retired into the house.

Chloe always thought tricks were better than other forms of training - possibly because I thought it was inappropriate to use pressure in teaching something so frivolous. We usually worked at liberty and used only positive reinforcement. Now she seems interested in returning to these tricks.  Is she trying to interact or connect? Would she like to learn more?  Is it fun?  Intellectually stimulating?

The difference between the way we did tricks before and the way she does tricks now is that it she is offering, on her own initiative, to do it "for free." If we're going to pursue this hobby, I think the thing is for me to follow her lead and wait until she suggests that we play.

I'm glad that she doesn't see everything we did in the "bad old days" in a negative light.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Horses Witness Strange Goings On

Such as this:

There is more than one use for a barn - such as this:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun with Bridget, p.s.

Bridget must have enjoyed our walk yesterday too.  When she caught sight of me outside the house today, she went to the gate and pawed at it.  Wanted to take her out, but, y'know, weddings .....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fun with Bridget

Our household is in the throes of wedding preparations.  However, when I came out of the house this afternoon, Bridget was waiting by the fence.  In a frisky mood, having just bought myself a new outfit for the Rehearsal Dinner, I grabbed a halter and went to get her.  As soon as she was out of the gate, she didn't wait to be asked but said, "Let's get out of here!" and set off purposefully down the drive.

Last time we went for a walk she was hesitant to go very far.  This time, however, we went down the road, all the way up the side of the 12-acre field, across the top of the top field and around the far side of the barn, before returning along the road the other way, and back up the driveway. We encountered the dogs, on an expedition of their own, a flock of grazing geese, some interesting edible plants, and a large wagonload of hay covered with a tarp.

Coming back by the barn, the other horses cantered over to the fence, whinnying.  Bridget whinnied back but didn't want to go over to say hello.

A couple of times Bridget paused rather longer than I wanted, and once, early on, she considered turning around to go home. I remembered a recent blog entry from Ponies at Home and tried to project a jolly-hockey-sticks attitude of confidence and leadership.  I don't know if that's what did the trick or not, but Bridget was a good sport and followed me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Baby Bridget

Check out wee Bridget at 7:52 and 8:05 in this Mississippi Public Broadcasting segment,

and you also can see her nurse mare foal companions who traveled with her from Ohio to Mississippi.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chloe is Independent

Someone suggested that the other horses are following Chloe because she's the kind of horse which Mark Rashid calls a "passive leader."  Passive leaders are described as
usually older horses somewhere in the middle of the herd's pecking order. They are quiet and consistent in their day-to-day behavior and don't appear to have much ambition to move up the "alpha" ladder.
Chloe is considerably older than the other horses.  She does sometimes become rather cross with Rose, but it's only as a defense when she wants to be left alone, and she never asserts herself for the sake of asserting herself.

The alpha horse, on the other hand is described as
often very pushy, sometimes going as far as using unprovoked attacks on subordinates for the simple reason of declaring their dominance.  As a result of this behavior, the majority of the horses in the herd will actually avoid all contact with the alpha throughout the day.
Certainly no one seems all that keen on buddying up to George, who does sometimes like to make a show of chasing people away from their food before letting them eat.

In our old herd, the alpha mare was a very kind, consistent character, who would let her friends eat from her pile of food and never threw her weight around.  She was also very old and wise.  George, however, (bless his heart) is only about 7 and is a different kind of alpha altogether.

For whatever reason, Chloe is the Pied Piper of the Pasture.

Here she comes with the other horses following after.  Why is she hurrying over?

Whatever she's after, George doesn't want to be left behind.

Ah, she's thirsty, this is what she wants:

Rose and Bridget are just hanging out, waiting to see what's going to happen next.

Tonight in the pasture I was with Chloe, and the other horses went for a drink.  Chloe was quite happy to let them go and stay with me.  But, boy, were they in a hurry to get back to her when they were done drinking. Despite her horse-magnet status, the others still push her around, and she is very sensitive to their presence, moving away when they come near.  I think I've convinced George and Bridget that they're not supposed to actively drive her off when she's with me, but she's not comfortable when they come close.  Tonight I tried something new - when she scuttled off at their approach, I put my hand on her neck and kept pace with her.  I think she kind of liked it.

I often see her standing alone, gazing off into the distance, or heading off on some private expedition, indifferent to whether or not the other horses follow her. It's this quality of independence and courage that made her refuse, for so many years, to cave in and be a "good" pony. Independence, courage and - I dare say - integrity. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Rose is moving up.  She can now drive Bridget away from her food. And this morning, Chloe came up second in line after George to get her food.

Last night, Chloe was very angry with Rose for disturbing me and her.  She was unable to convince Rose to leave, however, and as Rose doesn't come up to me that often, I didn't want to help in driving her away.

Often the horses will take turns quite equitably, if not amiably, and maybe it's ok for one of them to come along and decide it's their turn now.  I don't know.  I think I want to be able to protect Chloe, and maybe I should carry a long stick to make myself more convincing.

On the camera front, I've discovered that you can't send 5 or 8 MP via message.  You have to set the camera to take 3 MP photos.

Here's a scene taken with 5 MP and sent via message:

and here's the same scene taken with 3 MP and sent via message:

I guess if I'm going to take advantage of my cameraphone's awesome 8 megapixel powers, I'll have to use the USB cord and upload directly.  It's good to know, though, that I can text photos if I set the MP to three.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Our neighbours do not believe in allowing a trivial matter such as legality to spoil their enjoyment of the fourth of July. Besides, legal fireworks are just not much fun.  So last night we were treated to a splendid display of felonious pyrotechnics emanating from the vicinity of our neighbours' property.

The horses all gathered round the fence to observe the spectacle.  The crashes and flashes seemed to inspire only curiosity.  My camera couldn't pick up the background, but here is George enjoying the show:

And speaking of curiosity, yesterday there was an electrician's van in the horses' field.  They all crowded around and didn't disperse until the van left:

The reappearance of photos is because I have a new camera phone.  My old one died, and as I want to be able to take decent pictures and don't want to carry a camera, I gave my free phone upgrade to my daughter and bought a used Sony Ericsson Cybershot c905a which has like 8.1 megapixels.  So far I'm not getting very good results. Very pixelly.  But this may be because I'm texting the photos to myself, and we have dodgy cell phone service in this  area. I've ordered a USB connector in order to be able to upload photos directly to the computer, and hopefully that will work better.

The horses are in the barn pasture now, where there is more grass.  Since moving, they have reconfigured.  Lately, Rose and Bridget have been an item, while Chloe has been tagging along with George.  Since moving, however, Chloe and Bridget are back together, and Rose is with George.  The most significant difference is that everyone is following Chloe.  Chloe is the one who will set off to graze a new patch, or who will see something in the distance and march over to check it out, the others trooping after her.

To close, here is a photo of another of My Favorite Things:  washing on the line ....

See?  Pixelly.