Friday, March 4, 2016

Random Friday

1.  February was very dry.  We receive the lions share of our rain in the months of December, January and February.  The first two wet months gave us above averagerainfall and we were doing major fist pumping; hoping that a good dent would be made in our drought.  But, February was warm and dry and beautiful -- and the Sierra snow pack (which provides our water in late spring and early summer as it melts) fell from 130% of normal to 83%. I felt guilty enjoying the warm weather but now we have a series of rain systems moving through over the next week.  Hopefully, they will bring a good amount of rain to us and snow to the higher elevations.

2.  Kate left a comment on my last post, about roping horses not being able to bend to the right, that resonated in a big way.  She said, "...some horses are severely punished if they move to the right and particularly if they take the right lead, and horses that have been treated that way tend to be very fearful and reactive when asked to move or bend to the right -- they're being asked to do something they've been trained to never, ever do under penalty of a beating."  I read the post and thought to myself, that explains everything.  When Tex refused to lunge to the right for me, it was like he was scared to go right.  It seemed so strange.  He wanted to do the right thing, but he was afraid to go right and instead kept swinging his hips away from me and standing respectfully -- with a lot of worry in his eyes.  Poor, poor Tex.  I don't know if he'll ever be able to unlearn this; its going to take time and trust.  What a sad journey this sweet horse had before he landed in our pasture.

3.  I am a book lover and have amassed a ton of books over my lifetime.  I was a literature major and I kept most of my books from school; you can't toss a classic, right?  From there, it just grew and grew.  There were books about horses and gardening; books from my theology courses; books on learning French and French novels; cook books; and childrens books (I kept many of my childhood favorites -- some of which were my mother's childhood books); fiction and poetry.  At Aspen Meadows, we had ceiling to floor bookshelves that covered an entire wall.  Here at Oak Creek Ranch we had no book shelves so the books remained in their boxes, stacked to the rafters in the barn, two deep across the stall we use for storage.  A few weeks ago, we were gifted with a couple of old bookshelves, made of particle board and pretty ugly.  We bought some chalk paint and Brett turned them into beautiful pieces of furniture -- a soft green base color with a light wash of duck egg blue.  We put them on the upstairs landing and I started sorting through the boxes of books.  I put over 80% of them in boxes to donate to the local hospice.  The books that made me smile, or warmed my heart, or brought back memories;  I kept those.  I kept my mother's childhood books because they are part of her but also because they are part of me.  I read and re-read and re-read those books when I was a kid, cross legged on the floor in my room or under a tree in the backyard.


  1. Sometimes it's really, really hard to undo training. My paint horse was like that in many ways. Eventually he relaxed and figured it out, but it took years. To this day he is still fearful of most men.

  2. I learned what I put in the comment from Mark Rashid, who was riding one of his horses at a clinic - that horse was fairly new to Mark and had the same issues Tex had. When you ride with Mark, I expect he'll have some ideas for you, but I think as you say it'll come down to time, patience and building trust.

  3. Another thought . . .

    Red was a very anxious, worried, fearful horse when I got him - expressed through horrible bracing and also aggressive behavior when he was worried. He'd been a competitive barrel racing horse - I'm certainly not saying that all ropers and barrel racing people treat their horses badly but some do. We've been working together for about 4 years now - with Mark's and Heather's guidance - and 90% of that is gone now. He knows now he can try for me without fear of being punished if he gets the wrong answer. There are still some things he can't do - such as staying in the arena if someone is snapping a lunge whip - he bolts out of fear - and I know not to ask him yet to tolerate things that are this difficult for him. And he remains a high strung and reactive horse - but that's just his personality, and comes with positive benefits as well. Your Tex has the advantage of basically being a kind, sweet horse (Red is naturally dominant and pushy) - he wants to trust and I believe he can learn to do so again.

  4. I wish you the best of luck with Tex. You are patient and have time - two important ingredients.

    I used to ride a horse that had been gamed in his past. Barrels mostly I think. He was super reactive to the leg, with a hard mouth and liked to take off when the pressure got to be too much. With all of that, he was a sweet horse and eventually took me for my first bareback canter on the beach. Earning his trust was essential.

  5. Now that you have an understanding of the cause you have won half the battle because you can make a plan.

    I love books and can't imagine not having something to read.

  6. Wow. You weeded out a lot of books!! I've thinned mine out here and there over the years, too. It's not easy for me. Plus, I write in all my books, which makes them rather unable to donate.

    I know how you feel about rain. I love dry weather, but we need water so bad, I have to hope for it.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.