Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another Rainy Weekend

Well, here I am tonight reading all my favorite blogs, and suddenly realized that I forgot to post my own blog last night! Ha- how could I have forgotten? Probably because all the other blogs are more interesting than mine! LOL! The weather here in Virginia has been non-stop cloudy, gloomy, overcast, rainy, drizzly, stormy, and downright humid. Weird weather. But at least it isn’t a hurricane this time!

This past weekend Buckshot and I had an okay time on Saturday. It was so humid that his energy was low and the arena was quite wet, so we did mostly walking, with just a little trotting. An okay ride, but nothing to write home about.

Then on Sunday, we loaded up four horses and, with an eye to our cloudy, unpredictable skies, went to the reining clinic. We had a good time, and did some interesting exercises. One exercise was fascinating to me. We started by using only one rein. Specifically, we were to make a large circle to the left, with our left hand holding the left rein, and our right hand and rein holding the horn. We could only use the single, left rein to steer. After one circle, the trainer had us change hands (but stay going in a left circle) so that our left hand and rein was on the horn, and the right hand used the right rein over the horse’s neck, as in neck reining.

It was amazing to me as I did it how much I could steer, even at the canter, using a single rein like this. Not only that, but after doing the large circle, we were instructed to do a smaller circle, guiding only with the right hand neck reining. Well, Buckshot and I did great! He steered very nicely with only one rein, and after our big circle, he did a wonderful smaller circle, at the canter, with the neck reining. I was thrilled at his slower canter and ability to steer into a smaller circle, which is something I’ve never been able to do. I can’t wait to try it out again and practice this single rein exercise some more. It’s as if our horses will do more than we ever imagine, if we try it in a new way. That discovery is one of the terrific benefits of lessons or clinics. I learn more about what Buckshot can do, and also what I am able to do. Wonderful.

Driving home, I thought about some of the moments of wonder with Buckshot. We do things with our horses that are ordinary, or unexciting, or necessary, and then, out of the blue, we sometimes have a wonderful moment with our horses. For me, these moments touch my heart and make me love Buckshot even more. I treasure these few moments because they may not come often but when they do, they are worth all of the mundane, humdrum things we go through.

Here are some of my “moments” from Sunday…. When Buckshot came off the trailer at the reining trainer’s farm, he was quiet and walked slowly over to some grass to nibble. Just a calm, serene moment spent with a calm, serene horse, who stayed by my side as I led him to some grass so he could stretch his legs. Quiet and touching.

Later, after we did the exercise I wrote about above, I felt such pride in Buckshot. He may not be impressive to anyone else, as he isn’t a reining horse nor do we compete, but his lovely performance and try when we do something totally new and out of the blue, and he does it well for me, makes my heart swell with appreciation for this wonderful horse. I am so lucky to have him.

After the clinic, we walked around to cool down and I saw some lovely green grass that I took Buckshot over to, then I dismounted and let him nibble. I love to get him the best grass possible to eat. LOL.

And lastly, after I untacked and rinsed him, and we had cleaned up around the trailer and put the tack away, I said, “let’s go home, Buckshot” and felt like he said, in tired horse words, yes, let’s go home. And then I handed him off to the BO’s husband to walk into the trailer, we hopped into the truck and we headed home. Such a nice feeling. Another quiet wonderful moment with Buckshot.

I love the small moments like that. They fill my heart with little horse-memory-jewels that I hope to treasure for a long time. They make me smile days later. They sustain and enrich me. I feel very lucky to have Buckshot as my horse, and to have these wonderful moments with him. Because you don’t always have them, nor can you make them happen at will. Sometimes you have other things to deal with about your horse. So I treasure them when they occur with Buckshot.

I hope you had some special moments with your horse last weekend.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend Ride and Winter Preparation

This past weekend we had cloudy but cooler weather in Virginia. Hooray, I thought, cooler weather to finally ride without sweat dripping everywhere. Alas, Saturday brought a day of cloudy, drizzly and rainy weather. Cooler, yes, but hardly riding weather. So at the barn I prepared Buckshot’s stall for grooming with all his favorites – a flake of alfalfa hay that he loves, fresh water, and all my grooming tools.

When the rain stopped momentarily, I went out to his pasture to get him and bring him in for some fake grooming so that I could spend some time with him under a roof and so that he could indulge in the alfalfa. We had a good time together. I noticed quite a few very tiny bumps on him, on the base of his neck and on his chest. What could these be, I wondered? I sprayed them lightly with Eqyss Microtek. He was somewhat wet from the weather so I didn’t do a full, regular grooming, but I took my time with the curry comb and brush and mane and tail brush. He had a nice time and when we were done, and he had eaten most of the hay, I walked him back to his pasture. Oh, well. Some days are like this. I cleaned my tack meticulously later. And had a chance to sit and chat with the barn owner, who is my instructor, about various riding techniques.

On Sunday, the weather forecasters called for some sunshine, and no rain, and the lovely cooler temperatures. But it turned out grey and gloomy instead, although without any rain at the farm. The farm was quiet as the BO and her husband trailered a horse to another farm for a few month’s of new riding work. Buckshot and I had the arena to ourselves. Since the BO was gone, I decided in the interest of safely to stay in the main arena and to forego any adventures by ourselves on the farm road or in the trail.

Buckshot and I had a great ride. In our phase one warmup we did circles around cones, and serpentines and some patterns at the walk. After twenty minutes, we added trotting and Buckshot offered a nice, energetic trot. We alternated trotting seven or eight strides with walking seven or eight strides. We even worked more on our walking, alternating a collected walk with an extended walk. He responded nicely to my requests. We tried several patterns, one of which I have now decided is too hard, and we don’t like. It requires sitting trot for two strides, then halt, then posting trot for two strides, then halt. It isn’t any fun for either of us so that pattern is cancelled. Other patterns were more fun and varied and we did several of them, with me patting Buckshot with praise after his efforts.

I tried another cantering technique on Sunday. In my opinion, cantering is very complex, and requires the rider to do many things at the right time. In the beginning, I thought I just had to give the correct aids, but as I have learned more, I realize there really are more aids and more techniques to think about. Getting him to canter, getting him to canter on the correct lead, continuing to canter, rating the canter, preventing him from speeding up, etc. All of these require me to do certain things at certain times. This is quite an education for me. So I am trying not to learn it all, up front, but to add a bit more aids, or guidance, little by little, as I go. The latest, little additional aid occurs at the end of the arena, when I am trying to go around the curve of the end of the arena and go back down the opposite long rail. A book suggested you have to support the horse through the curve by engaging my inside leg, at the girth, and laying the outside rein over his neck. (This was from a book of western riding exercises so it used neck reining.) Buckshot does neck reining so I alternate with him, two handed neck reining at times, one handed neck reining at other times and two reins English-style at other times. He responds to all of these so I don’t think I am confusing him. Sometimes when I am cantering, I use one-handed neck reining because it seems to allow my seat to stay well with the saddle and for me to give him the right amount of loose reins/ rein support for his mouth (which is a balancing act I am still very conscious of working on).

So, back to Sunday. We have a pattern we do that involves walking then trotting down the center line, then at the end of the arena, turning, coming to a walk, and then picking up the canter down the long rail. As we did it the first time, I moved my inside leg to engage him, and laid the outside rein on his neck. And he seemed to go very well around the corner at the canter. We tried it several more times, just cantering without a specific pattern, so I could try these new techniques at the corner, and Buckshot did wonderfully! We went one and a half times around the arena at the canter, handling the corners well, for the first time! I was thrilled! I brought Buckshot to a stop, rubbed his neck, laughing and praising him so excitedly! How wonderful it was!! Both of us did great! We worked on some more patterns, at the trot and trot/ canter, with plenty of rest times in between.

To introduce something new, I then designed a reining pattern for us. I started us at one end of the arena, walked to the center, then did two fake spins, one to the right and one to the left. I really don’t ask Buckshot to do real spins because of his age and to protect his aging hind legs, so we do small, tight circles. Then we trotted to the other end of the arena, still on the center line, and turned left and took up a canter. Down the rail we went, to almost the end, at which point I said loudly, “Andddddd….. whoa.” The “and” is my way of letting him know a change is coming. He stopped, after a few steps, which is fine for him, and then we did a rollback and started cantering back the same way we came. Around to the other long rail, and another “Anddddd…. Whoa” followed by a turn around and more cantering. At the short end of the arena, I switched to a trot and led us in a large figure eight, using the whole arena. We stopped in the center. Wow! Buckshot did great at all of it, trying hard, and giving his all. I was immensely proud of him! We rested, and did it again, and rested again.

Then we did our phase four, which is cooling down at the walk. When I dismounted, I praised him again with such appreciation. What a day! What a wonderful ride! Buckshot was just absolutely terrific and he worked so hard for me, what a wonderful horse!!

When I untacked him, he had a little bit of sweat on him under the saddle and on his girth line, but I didn’t feel right about rinsing him off, in case he didn’t dry thoroughly by the evening hours. During the day it was in the sixties, so I thought that it could go down into the fifties. I know that isn’t very cool temperatures, and I was probably being extra cautious with him. But instead I took a towel and rubbed him for a long while, alternating with using the curry comb, to help dry him off. That worked fine and when I walked him back to his pasture, he was only a tiny bit moist.

I hope you had a great time with your horses over the weekend also!

Now, if I could ask your advice about a winter preparation, what do you do year to year to make sure your winter blankets maintain their repellency? Two winters ago, I bought Buckshot two Weatherbeeta blankets (Orican Freestyle) and since I’ve never had blankets before, I am just wondering what others do. During the winter, when one gets dirty, I switch it out for the other blanket, and I take the dirty one to a cleaners that does horse blankets. I’ve never thought much about the repellency being worn away. Today on a website looking at bits, I noticed an article about horse blanket care and according to that article, I may have been doing it all wrong, and losing water repellency in the process. The cleaners use their regular detergent (oh, no, the article forbids that) and may even use a dryer (another no no). I haven’t bought anything to refresh the repellency. So tonight, an hour ago, I pulled one out of my closet and sprinkled it with water drops. Most of them stayed beaded up on the blanket. I just rechecked the blanket and about half of the drops are still beads; the other half have been absorbed. That makes me think I need to refresh the repellency. What do you think? What do you do for this? Do you use a special formula, or do you buy a Teflon-like spray at the grocery store and spray it? Your suggestions are appreciated! Thanks!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Late Summer Rides and A New Bit

Tonight I have been searching for a new bit for Buckshot. He uses a snaffle bit, specifically a French link eggbutt snaffle bit. This past weekend I examined it, as I do periodically to make sure it can’t pinch his mouth, and I noticed one butt was pulling away from the sleeve and could pinch. I showed it to the barn owner and asked her if she thought it could pinch and she agreed. So I have been pouring over my catalogs and tack websites, and guess what- after carefully scrutinizing several bits, it seems that he doesn’t wear a French link at all! His bit has a tiny amount of copper on the middle bar and after searching exhaustively, this bit is called a copper ¼ moon eggbutt snaffle. All this time I thought he used a French link, but there are so many different names for bits, who knew?

When I first bought Buckshot, his tack didn’t come with him, so I went searching for a bit that looked identical to the one he used. I found one, in a consignment tack shop. I felt guilty about buying him a used bit, so I called his prior owner and asked if it was okay to buy a horse a used bit. He said it was, if the bit was in good condition. So, poor guy, he has been using a secondhand bit all this time. Who knows how old the bit is by now! He has done fine with this style of bit so I don’t want to change it on him. But I’ll get him a brand new one. Fortunately, this bit is one of the least expensive ones, even in Korsteel, so I just have to figure out which website offers the best shipping charges, and keep myself from buying other things as well.

We had a great weekend – no hurricanes, earthquakes, or one hundred degree temperatures in sight! Wonderful! On Saturday when I arrived at Buckshot’s pasture, he was back in the far corner of the pasture, in a very shady section overlooking an adjacent farm’s pond. He was calm and happy as I approached. I think of this corner as the "den" of his pasture. Both he and Lucky seem to be very contented and quiet when they stand there. It’s funny, but I think of other sections of his pasture as “rooms” also. The paddock area and their barn stalls are the main living and eating areas. Then there is the persimmon tree area, which is adjacent to a pasture with twelve horses in it. I have seen Buckshot and Lucky grazing and hanging out at the fenceline near these horses. Maybe it is their back porch, where they chat with their neighbors. Lol!

After walking Buckshot over to the main barn to groom him and tack him up, we headed for the arena. The BO had let us know in advance that the woods were absolutely filled with swarms of mosquitoes so it was best to stay away. Buckshot was pretty low energy, but then, all the horses were. Since it was very humid, I didn’t blame the horses. After we tacked up, we didn’t have anyplace to go ride. The earlier class was still in the arena (since they couldn’t go on the trail). The round pen has a lot of damage from the hurricane so it can’t be used. We couldn’t walk on the trail. So I started walking Buckshot, in hand, down the farm road. He got about a quarter of the way down and didn’t want to go further, so we turned around, went back to the grassy area outside of the arena and walked around, doing little circles, backing, leg yields, etc.

When we finally got in the arena, he did okay. His trotting was not very enthusiastic, but was okay. Sometimes, he would trot very energetically, but only down one rail. He didn’t want to keep going at that level of energy. A few times when we stopped in the center of the arena for a breather, he walked us over to a shady section! That is a first for Buckshot! He must have wanted the little bit of coolness we got from the shade. Later, when our instructor gave the class an interesting pattern to do that involved trotting and cantering, he did very well, even changing leads (simple lead changes) for the pattern. We didn’t ride very long but it was, all things considered, a nice time. Then I gave him his treats, his every-other-week medicated shampoo bath and took him back to his pasture.

On Sunday it was hot and humid again. Even I didn’t feel like moving very fast. After Buckshot was tacked up, we headed into the arena. Again, he was okay, but not very energetic. I had decided to keep the work level low since the weather was so very hot and humid. We did a little bit of trotting, and just two canters, which were very nice. I rubbed his neck and praised him happily for his lovely canters. No one else was riding. The trail didn’t seem like a good idea. So I thought I’d try to ride Buckshot down the road. We got a good halfway down before he balked. I immediately thought that this was progress, so I thanked him, and turned him around. Then, not leaving well enough alone, I thought maybe we could ride just a small ways on the trail. But when I tried to get Buckshot to head to the trailhead, he balked. (He must have been able to read my mind! She's going to take us into the trail, even though the BO said there's mosquitoes in there! How dare she?) So I didn’t push it. Instead I just turned us toward the barn, and told him I’d dismount (his favorite words!) and he stopped perfectly to let me get off! LOL! I told him he did very good work, and gave him his treats and took him to untack and then get rinsed off. Even though we didn’t ride very long, only about forty-five minutes, all things considered, it was a nice ride.

I hope you had a nice weekend. Won’t the fall be nice after the hot, humid summer? I can’t wait!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wonderful Post-Hurricane-Irene Weekend!

We are beginning to get back to a sense of normalcy after Hurricane Irene. Most of us have had our electricity restored, the stoplights around town are working reliably again, and we are beginning to buy perishable foods again for our refrigerators. And the first weekend after the hurricane gave us some decent weather and a three-day weekend, courtesy of Labor Day! So I spent all three weekend days at the barn with Buckshot and had a great time.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, I took him to the barn to be groomed for the first time in two weeks! He was a bit fuzzy. He munched on the special alfalfa hay I put in his grooming stall, and I’ll bet felt much better after his spa-day grooming. We went to the arena and started our phase one warm up. I decided to include lots of circles in our walking work, as I had read recently on a good blog by a woman named Val, who has a wonderful horse named Harley (her blog is Memoirs of a Horse Girl) click here. Val wrote about the many benefits of circles in one of her older posts (I’m reading her archives as well as her newer posts). I realized that I hadn’t worked on circles for some time. So instead of having Buckshot walk on the rail for our warm up, I continually moved him in large and medium sized circles, curves, serpentines and turn arounds. I worked on using my leg aids primarily, to help improve them. I estimate that he moved accurately from my legs about 80% of the time, with the other 20% needing the addition of a rein aid. I thought that was pretty good progress on legs, and on circles.

After a while, the other Saturday lesson students arrived and we walked around the arena. Our instructor, the BO, gave us a challenging canter pattern to do. It was fun to circle cones, come down the rail, try lead changes, and follow the pattern, all at the canter. Buckshot and I did pretty well. We then walked on the trail to the reining arena. The trail had some debris on it but not too much for riding. All of the horses handled the trail challenges just fine. We spent a few minutes at the reining arena and then returned to the main arena. I untacked Buckshot, praised him for his work (we rode for 1.5 hours!), and gave him a medicated shampoo bath, and walked him slowly back to his pasture.

My regular routine at the barn is to help with the late afternoon feeding of three of the farm’s six barns. So, later on Saturday, I went to Buckshot’s barn and fed the five horses up there. The barn at this group of pastures has five stalls for horses, with open doors, so they can walk in and out as they wish. The sixth stall is the feed and hay room, where the barrels of grain, supplements and bales of hay are kept. I began my usual procedure. I fixed Buckshot’s and Lucky’s dinner, and walked it over to their stalls. I closed Lucky’s door while he eats. Then I checked and filled the water tubs. I next fixed grain for the other three horses, followed by getting flakes of hay for each horse and carrying it to the places in the pasture where they eat hay.

Then, I did things in the feed room. I had to make the breakfasts for each horse, and open the breakfast hay bales. I also organized some letters that have fallen off of Buckshot’s name sign that hangs outside of his stall. I planned to get some glue and reattach them later in the weekend. I saw some wasp nests so I brushed them down. Busy with these tasks, I was focused on making sure all the chores were done. Well, I then turned to go and stepped out of the feed room, and who was standing right there, by the door, big as life, watching me- but Buckshot! He had gotten out of his pasture and walked around to the feed room! And just stood there, looking at me, as if to say “what cha doing?” I was shocked! Buckshot! I said, What are you doing here? And I reached behind me for a lead line and gently put it around his neck and walked him back into his pasture! By then I was laughing! How funny! He had his hay to eat, and usually he digs right into it with gusto, but Saturday, he decided to come find me, or to explore! And the funny thing is, compared to other horses who have gotten free, and who are usually a little bit antsy when they are free (as if they are thinking about running to the next county, now that they have a chance to!), he was as calm as a cucumber, in his freedom. Like he never even thought of going anyplace, just right over here to the feed room. It was so funny! He is such a dear horse. I laugh every time I think about it!

He must have gotten a laugh about it as well, seeing my total look of surprise when I stepped out of the feed room and saw him escaped from his pasture! (And to explain how he got out of his pasture—I never close the gate, I just pull it into the closed position because Buckshot always goes straight for his hay and doesn’t even look at the gate. Then minutes later, I’ll let Lucky out of his stall, and say goodbye to Buckshot, and then I’ll latch the gate closed….. hmmmm.)

On Sunday, Buckshot proved his worth many times over. I think he is worth his weight in gold – triple! And with the current price of gold, that’s a lot. The weather was hot and humid but I was looking forward to practicing the canter. After our warm up, I asked for a trot and Buckshot did the most wonderful, lovely, floaty trot ever. I asked myself if his feet were even touching the ground, it was so light and airy. And this was a working trot, not his powerful extended trot. I was charmed by his trotting, and rubbed his neck enthusiastically.

A little later we were joined by the BO on her horse, her husband on his horse and another boarder on her horse. After a warm up for their horses, we walked through the woods to the reining arena. The boarder’s horse started bucking, almost unseating the rider. After that, the BO led all of us around the arena in patterns at the walk. I knew that three of us wanted to practice our reining exercises, and go fast, and canter, but the BO was kindly deferring to the horse that was nervous and would buck, so we all stayed at the walk. I used the time to work on my equitation, by going over my new mental guidelines to improve my posture and balance. I thought: stretch from abdomen to neck; good boobies (!); shoulders like a princess, hips like a whore; shoulders back but not that far; etc. (And yes, these guidelines do make me laugh; they also really help me – LOL!). Note: the guidelines are from a terrific blog by Carol, who has a wonderful horse named Rogo. Her blog is Dressage Training Blog click here.

As we went back into the woods to return to the barn, I stayed just in front of the excited horse. This is where Buckshot’s former work as a track pony is invaluable. He is never bothered by nervous horses near him. He just plods along like nothing is going on. So I feel very safe on him, and extremely proud of him. We turn to his reliable experience in times like this and he is a rock. Several times during the trail ride, when we came to hills, I told Buckshot we had to go slow, to not create a gap of space behind us, lest the horse get nervous about being left behind. And Buckshot slowed his walk, and behaved just wonderfully. I really think he knows what is going on, and he does what is needed. Again, he is worth his weight in gold!

But then, on Monday, Buckshot wasn’t quite so perfectly behaved. During our warm up we had an audience of the BOH and some farm workers, and Buckshot wanted to walk out of the arena. So we walked over to the people and said hello, and then returned to the arena. No one else was riding, and it was a quiet day at the farm, so I later headed us down the farm road. I thought Buckshot and I would ride down to the reining arena and work there for a few minutes. Although we have never actually done it. But I was optimistic. We got just a very short way down the road and Buckshot didn’t want to go any further. He turned around, and when I turned us back around, he walked sideways, and this way and that, not prancing, but just in a “don’t want to go that way” manner. So after just a mild argument, I turned us back toward the barn, as if it was my idea all along, and we went back to where we started. Oh, well, I guess I will have to work on this in small steps. In the past, we have gotten much farther down this road when I walk him in hand. But when I am riding him, and we don’t have another horse with us, he is reticent.

I then thought, well, that’s okay, we’ll walk down the trail instead! We have done this by ourselves, just once, but we have done it. So I headed him to the trailhead. Well, we didn’t get very far and not even close to the trailhead, and Buckshot turned us back around, and walked to the side, and this way and that. So he didn’t want to go on the trail alone either. Since it wasn’t critical or for safety reasons that we went on the trail, I didn’t make an issue of it. I just turned him toward the trailhead and walked him two steps in that direction, then I stopped him, turned him around and we went back to the arena. Like it was my idea. I don’t know why, but he wasn’t feeling confident enough to go on either ride that day. Amazingly, several weeks ago, we did go on the trail by ourselves for the first time, without a hint of reticence by Buckshot. I don’t really know what his mindset was that day, and why it was so different yesterday. I didn’t notice any difference in him all day, like his not feeling well, or not feeling like himself. But we’ll work on it again in the future.

Still, even with his inconsistency with riding alone, he is a wonderful horse and I am delighted that I got a three day weekend with him. I hope you had a great weekend with your horses.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Earthquake and Hurricane- What a Week!

Well, I finally have a chance to catch my breath and write down what has happened. About ten days ago, Virginia had an earthquake! A fairly large one, it measured 5.8 on the Richter scale. This is a very unusual event in Virginia. It did a lot of damage in the county that housed the epicenter, but much less damage elsewhere. I went out to the farm where Buckshot lives the next day and learned that the horses on the farm weren’t upset by the earthquake. They just stood still in their pastures and didn’t run around in worry. The farm didn’t have any damage from it, either. Good news.

Last Saturday, Hurricane Irene hit the entire east coast, doing a lot of damage in Virginia (as well as in other states). The Richmond area, where I live, had massive power outages, tree and water damage. Luckily, my home wasn’t damaged, but I lost power. Such extensive power outages cause worries about other services. First, communications- will cell phones work? Will landline telephones work? Telephone service, by all means, was spotty and sporadic. A lot of land lines were cut off because the wires were damaged. Also, will gas stations be able to operate? Will gas become scarce? Are businesses able to operate, such as my employer? Will ATM’s be operational, allowing for cash withdrawals? And are my family members alright, with ice and water?

So the first few days were all about survival. I checked on my family. I drove very little, although I had made sure I had a full tank of gas before the hurricane hit. I conserved my gas for several days until I was sure gas stations were operating. That’s why I didn’t drive out to Buckshot’s barn to see him. I was pretty sure that he was fine; the horses had endured twelve-plus hours of rain and wind, but they all had shelter and usually will run away from a crashing tree.

Without power, I focused on the essentials. The company I work for had electricity and was operational. At lunch and after work, I searched for ice for my coolers. I ate shelf-stable food I’d bought in preparation for the hurricane. It doesn’t taste all that good, but it will keep you alive. I topped up my gas tank at every gas station I passed. I learned to read by flashlight and keep myself occupied at home. Don’t tell Martha Stewart this but on Sunday, sitting all day at home without power and bored, I washed my bathroom floor by flashlight!! I hate housework, so it really shows how bored I was. I tried to read a book about horses but my mind wasn’t really on it. I listened to the radio to learn anything about local conditions and repairs. I learned to do sponge baths.

It sure does require some mental discipline to survive things like this. Mentally, you have to be patient, as there isn’t anything you can do to hurry up getting your power back on. You have to be resourceful, to carve out places and times to get food that doesn’t need refrigeration, as well as ice, water, and gas. You have to be able to have your life turned topsy-turvy and keep doing the essentials, with grace and politeness. Even though you are grumpy, you have to hold it in and be as nice as is humanly possible, because everyone around you is also dealing with the difficulties of surviving and sorting out various problems. But then, when your power comes back on, you can let loose and do an actual little dance of joy! Oh, yes, a sense of humor is invaluable, too!

On Tuesday, I called the farm where Buckshot lives. Telephone service continued to be unreliable whether landline or cell phone, but I got one message from the BO: “The farm is fine, static, static, static…” And that was all I needed to hear; they were fine. I was sure Buckshot was fine.

I finally went out to the barn on Wednesday after work. Luckily, his farm hadn’t had a lot of damage. A few trees had come down, a few roof shingles had come off, and a lot of debris was everywhere, especially the woods and the trails, but all the people and animals had made it through the hurricane. I went to Buckshot and gave him lots of hugs, and told him how much I had missed him and how was he? He seemed just fine. Some of the gutters on his barn have come down, a lot of boards on the adjacent round pen are on the ground, but he and his pasturemate were fine. That made me feel just wonderful, to see him and talk to him and hug him. He was glad I came to feed him.

And after driving back home last night, I arrived to electricity!! Wonderful to have lights and air conditioning back! I did the “power back on” dance in my kitchen!! There are still many, many people without power here, but I am glad to have mine back.

So there will be a lot of restoration here. And hopefully, this next hurricane, Katia, won’t hit the east coast again. That would be just terrible to have another hit after just barely getting over Hurricane Irene. This weekend I look forward to good weather at the barn and spending time with Buckshot. And it’s a three day weekend so I will get extra time with him. Wonderful!!

I do hope that if you were in the path of this hurricane, you and your horses and loved ones are all doing fine. And if you were lucky enough to not be anywhere near this hurricane, I hope you and your horses had a great weekend! Now that my power is back, I’m looking forward to getting this post on my blog and going to your blogs to read what is new with each of you! Thank you so much to Kate and Juliette – your comments of concern for Buckshot and I were very kind!

Goodbye, Hurricane Irene!

I'll just post a quick note to say that Hurricane Irene hit our area last Saturday, and things have been terrible ever since. I didn't have electric power from Saturday until late Wednesday night. Life has been filled with shortages, worries, fears, problems, etc. But Buckshot is fine, and I and my family are fine. Getting by day by day.

Now that I have my electricity back, I can write a more detailed post later tonight.
Hope you and your loved ones are safe if they were in the path of the hurricane (which was pretty much the entire east coast!!).