Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Charlie and I went on our first solo trail ride in PA this week! was bareback :) 

I had started out working Charlie in Kate's "faux-ssoa" rig but, similar to the other times I've used it with him, he just doesn't seem to get the concept. We struggled with it for 5 or 10 minutes but Charlie kept tucking his nose to his chest instead of reaching down and was convinced that he was locked in that position, even when I readjusted his head/neck. We got some ok stuff and then I got bored so I took it off. We'll keep trying but that was enough for one day.

Charlie was already in his bareback pad (I don't have a circingle so I use the bareback pad instead) and I was having one of my brave moments so I grabbed his bridle and hopped on. I kept his rope halter and lead on underneath the bridle, just in case, and only planned to go around the property at first, but he was so good we kept going: down the road, up through The neighbors' yard where Buffy, Emmett and Poppy live, through the woods and around my parents' development. Charlie was alert and blowing at a few things but he was sooo brave and never once was an idiot. We even trotted and cantered a tiny bit! 

Walking back home I couldn't have been happier. And what made it even better was that when we turned in the driveway Charlie hesitated, wanting to stay out and do more. I cant wait to go out on a paperchase with Charlie. I love this horse! :D

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Racehorse Emerges

Yesterday when I was out on a ride with my mom and Kate M. I got to see a little bit of Charlie the Racehorse. We were leading (naturally) and we decided to canter a bit on one flat part of the road. Charlie has done this before with other horses behind him, but I guess never with one like Buffy who was keen to catch up. As soon as he heard her coming up from behind he grabbed the bit to go. I wouldn't let him get too much faster - I still have never gotten close to letting him run for real (plus he needs grippier shoes so he doesn't slip on the blacktop) - but he still was allowed the lead so he settled down again. Then when Buffy pulled alongside he really pulled and when I wouldn't let him go he responded with a nice head toss and a buck/kick in frustration. Guess you can take even the most unlikely racehorse away from the track but you can't take the race out of the horse. :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New job (kind of)

To help earn a little extra money I've started work at a local 28 stall barn mucking, feeding and turning out one day a week (possibly more once some of the other girls go back to school). Today was my first real day. It's nothing special but it's so relaxing working around the horses and my "boss" is the nicest old cowboy you could imagine :) He's currently working with two mustangs and a chincoteague pony, which is pretty cool. 

Foggy morning in the fields:


No more stitches, yay!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Catching up

It's been a busy couple of weeks here. Emma and Charlie cat are settling in and seem to be just as happy as we are in their new abode:

Last weekend Dan and had a great time up in NJ for a college friend's wedding. Then this past weekend we spent a night at Dan's aunt's shore house in NJ before heading to RI for an awesome BBQ weekend at Kate's...with a bouncy castle! It was so nice to hang out with my horsey friends from up there :)

Lavallette beach:

BBQ and bouncy castle:

Cake balls!

In between all of this I've been riding Charlie with my mom and friends to get him used to the roads and trails. He has been unbelievably amazing! I can't get over it :) He routinely is not only ok with leading the way into unknown areas but he actually wants to lead (although he's also ok with following). I had no idea how he'd be with traffic, as I don't know his previous experience with that sort of thing, but we've been passed by bikes, cars and even big trucks and he barely flips an ear. Several times we've come across rambunctious dogs without any issue; the only day we had a decent spook was trash day when the wind picked up an empty milk jug and threw it  at Charlie's feet right as a big dog bounded by in the yard, but that's an unfair situation so it doesn't count. 

The other day some kids were even playing with foghorns and Charlie and Gi both walked by without incident. I'm so unbelievably proud of him :) We have yet to encounter a horse and buggy, which historically is the scariest thing for horses to meet on the road, but Connie says when they pass her house Charlie will run to the fence to watch so I'm hoping they won't be too big of an issue. 

Here are a few pictures, sorry for the blur. That's Charlie leading the way in the park across the street and Mom following on Poppy. 

Charlie and Judy :)

We still have some work to do on hills so Charlie learns how to sit on his butt (he's tentative about going down right now) but that will come. I also have to have him reshod with some borium shoes so he has more grip on the roads. Still, we've been able to walk, trot, and canter like a gentleman...and all with no noseband (in order to avoid his injury). 

Speaking of that it's healing really well! The stitches are almost all dissolved now and the hair is starting to grow back. Of course Charlie is making a point of pushing Gi around so that he always ends up with a retaliatory bite in one place or another that needs the neosporin even when his nose does not. :P

Here's the best picture I could get of his nose (if he has his head up he's trying to nuzzle my face which doesn't work well for picture-taking). Looking good! 

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this was right after he decided to break his new halter rubbing on the hitching post. Silly pony. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mutt and Jeff and My Week to Relax

Charlie and Gi are like Mutt and Jeff:

And the difference in the amount of food they get is pretty comical:

But they are happy together and, while Gi is definitely the boss, they seem to enjoy each others' company. Here's a video from last week, playing out in the paddock on their first day out together:

With no immediate job for me out here besides some freelance work which doesn't need to be done quite yet, I took the opportunity to relax this week and do all the little things I haven't had a chance to do. Besides running various errands, stocking the kitchen, etc. the majority of my time was spent in some way or another taking care of the horses and cats while Connie is away.
Ember, waiting patiently for her dinner
Barn kitties at dinner time

It's very therapeutic to take care of the animals; sometimes all it takes to clear my head is to sit with the horses and watch them enjoy their dinner. Charlie seems very happy here too. Although I know he (and myself) miss our old barn a lot, I think this is going to work out ok :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

First Excursion...success!

This evening I took Charlie out on a trail ride for the first time since coming down to PA and he was fabulous! I was such a proud mom :) My neighbor, Kate, and my mom came along on Buffy (a big TB/draft cross) and Poppy (the best old all-around pair you will find). With those two easy-going companions Charlie had nothing to fear. 

We rode sans noseband since Charlie's injury fell right where the band would but Charlie didn't seem to mind and it didn't seem to affect my control too much. Here's a picture of his nose today:

Since I wasn't sure how he would react to cars zooming by on the road I opted to stick mostly to trails. When cars did go by, though, Charlie really wasn't bothered, which was a good sign. 

At one point we went exploring in a partially cleared set of lots where they will be building a new development and everything was covered with small downed sapling and branches (so much so that it looked like a beaver dam in places). I looked at it and thought "that's asking for a broken leg" but the horses were being really calm and careful so we decided to explore a bit. Charlie had no problem leading, stepping over and between logs, or pushing aside branches. He only minorly freaked out once when Buffy went ahead out of eyesight to scope out a trail and left him and Poppy behind but once she was back he calmed right down. 

Throughout the ride Charlie took turns leading and following and we trotted and cantered a bit as well. He came right back when I asked and was so well-behaved. I was thrilled! We cut through Kate's property on the way home so Charlie could see his long-lost bestie, Emmett, from his previous home. It was so cute! They definitely remembered each other, calling out as soon as they were within eyesight, and snuggling right up with each other when they met. :)

Once we got back I brushed him down and sprayed him all over with sore-no-more since we did a lot that he wasn't used to. I plan to go out again tomorrow and/or the next day to work on some hills and road desensitization; it will definitely be nice to be a lot closer to him now. We'll get his butt in shape in no time!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

All Moved In

This weekend Dan and I made the big move down to PA. Everything went surprisingly well, even transporting Charlie the cat. Usually he wails the entire car ride like you're skinning him alive but for this 6.5hr trip we got a bigger carrier so he could move around more and he seemed much more comfortable and relaxed. 

Connie has been wonderful about giving me daily updates on Charlie horse throughout the past week but today I actually got to see him in person...his nose looks great! I'm hopeful there wont be much of a scar. For the next week I'll actually be taking care of Charlie and Gi while Connie is away on vacation so I'll get to see a lot of him. My goal is to be able to ride tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes :)