Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Amazing Animals

The farm that Buckshot lives at has many interesting and amazing animals in addition to horses. It’s fun to watch the antics of the other animals. There are quite a few chickens and roosters. Did you know roosters cock-a-doodle-do at any time of day? They do. I guess they don’t realize it’s supposed to be a wake up call. Sometimes the chickens and roosters will get up in the ceiling beams of the barn, and make a loud ruckus. It’s so loud you can’t hear yourself think! Several hens have laid eggs and sat on them, and recently four little chicks were born. It is so funny to watch the mother guide and lead her four fluffy chicks around the barn stalls, and in and out of the barn. We watch out for them so that a horse doesn’t get too close, but sometimes those feathered critters go right out into the paddock! Don’t they realize horses are a thousand times bigger than they are? They are amazingly courageous.

On Saturday I saw an amazing sight, involving a very different feathered creature. Just behind the main barn is a neighbor’s crop field, approximately ten square acres, and in the middle of it are several very large electric or telephone poles – they must be two hundred feet in the air, made of wood, and looking like a series of six wooden crosses, with the two crosses in the middle being shorter than the others. Saturday the sky was a cloudy and overcast grey blanket. The BO looked out at the poles in the field and pulled me over. On each of the four highest wooden crosses sat a buzzard! Regal, silent, huge, and each on a different but symmetrical pole. How did they do that? They weren’t fighting over the same pole; they weren’t on the ground. It looked like they had a plan and communication, and they chose to sit there and display their regal birdness. I think it is just amazing, and points to an intelligence that we may not often think such birds have. To sit there and oversee the growing crops, and wait, and watch, shows something more going on in their minds.

In contrast to the buzzards’ silent oversight, the chickens are always talking! They rarely shut up, even if it is just a little peep, peep, peep. Sometimes they crow incessantly. Or, they make really funny, kind of offensive noises, that sound like a weird throaty burp. It’s a really odd noise – you’ll know if you ever hear it because you’ll stop and say What was that? It’s a noise unlike anything you hear at a farm. But here’s my question - What are they talking about?? Maybe they are the ones who can’t think unless they are saying it out loud (I know people like that). Or maybe they have a competition going on for longest nonstop conversation. Or loudest crowing. They sure are noisy critters. But they are cute to watch when they are herding their chicks along.

And of course there are a bunch of farm cats and several dogs at the farm. But the best animal of all is the horse. And Buckshot is the best horse of all!

Buckshot and I had a great time on Saturday. We got in the arena and started our warm up. One of those days where everything about our ride feels great, and in synch, and together. He had good energy. I felt in tune with him. We started doing patterns and exercises at the trot and canter, and had a good ride. Then it started to sprinkle. Darn. It started to rain in earnest, so we rode to the main barn, I dismounted and we stood next to each other in the main aisle, looking out forlornly at the raindrops and trying to guess from the size and color of the clouds if it was a five minute rain or a thirty minute rain. I started walking Buckshot down the main aisle, doing a few very easy ground exercises with him. Just to kill some time. After a few minutes, the rain had decreased to a very light sprinkle. I thought, to heck with this, we both want to go back to our ride, and a little rain never hurt anyone. Luckily, it’s my tack so if I want to let it get wet, I can. So I walked an enthusiastic Buckshot back out to the arena and got back on him. We did trotting and great cantering, and I learned that raindrops dry when you are trotting! That’s neat – they are neutral if they get me wet at first, but in the next instant, they dry because Buckshot and I are flying around the arena, having the time of our lives! Then it thundered. Darn. It was a big thunder. I tried to justify it, saying it’s just thunder, no lightning yet. But the BO came to the arena and I asked her what I already knew – should I stop riding now? She said where there’s thunder, lightning can’t be far away. So, sadly, I got off of Buckshot, and we headed into the barn to untack. But despite the rain, we had such a good ride!!

Sunday was so nice here – not too hot, and wonderfully low humidity, and no rain, just a pretty blue sky filled with playful white clouds. Such a perfect summer day. Buckshot and I rode with the BO and BOH in the main arena, on the trail, and at the reining arena, doing a reining pattern. It was a super ride – Buckshot worked hard cantering his circles, with me working hard to give him the correct supporting aids around the corners, dropping into the trot when needed, but both of us giving it our all, til we were panting and exhausted. What a great horse he is – how hard he works for me! I am so proud of him!

On another topic, I can report on our new probiotic. We moved from using Fastrack to Command FT Probiotic (from Valley Vet) over a month ago. The new probiotic has worked great for Buckshot and his pasturemate. Their poop has been more solid than ever. The BO and I are very pleased and have decided to stay with the Command FT Probiotic. Hooray. I would call it an indirect supplement because it is one that works throughout the horse’s digestive system, as opposed to an ulcer supplement or a hoof supplement, that targets a specific issue. In the back of my mind, I wonder if this indirect supplement is somewhat responsible for Buckshot’s good energy levels this past month. I just don’t know, but I am going to keep using it. It seems to work well for him.

Are you going to your state fair this fall? I hope so. I like to go to the equine events at our Virginia State Fair, but this year we don’t know what will happen. You see, our state fair went bankrupt this year (??) and was bought by another fair operating company. That buyer then sold some part of the fair to a local company recently. So, in short, we don’t know what is going to happen this year, whether these new parties will get their acts together in time to put on a normal fair for us. I have no idea what, if any, equine events they will have. I hear we are going to have a big equine convention this fall – called the Equine Extravaganza – which has lots of clinics, shows and shopping. That will be fun! Do you have any events coming up that you are looking forward to?

No comments: