Monday, March 21, 2011

1st 2011 Ride at the Indiana Dunes

Now that the snow is gone the Dunes are open to horseback riding again. The trails get turned over to the cross country skiers during the winter months, but now it is spring and it is our turn once more. We made plans to ride on Saturday with friends.

Dee and Paul got there before us (they live closer and got an earlier start, plus we are always late!). They were already out on the trail. We were grooming our horses and saddling up when we got some visitors.

This happens kind of frequently at the Dunes: the parking lot is on a busy US Highway, and people driving by will see us out there and stop and ask if they and/or their children can pet the horses.

Saturday was one of those days. Two women with two little girls stopped to see the horses. One of the little girls is "horse-crazy" according to her mother. Instead of having a doll house with dolls to play with, she has a toy barn and little horse figures to play with. We spent a lot of time talking with them and taking pictures. John even put each girl up on Divna and we took their pictures in the saddle. They were was pretty cool.

Just as we got on the trail, Dee and Paul were coming off. They went back to the lot and groomed their horses, had a snack and hung out until we went through the trails.

We had a great ride. I felt so comfortable in the saddle that day -- some days I just seem to "have it" and keep my seat so well. The ride on Saturday was like that. It was really neat to be back in the Dunes again.

This is my goofy "self-portrait" taken while riding on the trail...I just sort of held the camera out to my side and snapped the picture.

After the ride we all went home and fed our critters and put them away, then met at a little bar/restaurant near where we live for dinner and drinks. A great way to spend the weekend!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

On the Wrong Side of the Fence

This morning, John looked out the window and said, "We have goats in the yard."

Now this is not an unusual occurance. Anyone who owns goats could tell you that they are escape artists. Our Misho (white goat -- half LaMancha and half African Boer) is famous for getting out. He lays on the ground near the fence and sticks his head out into the yard to munch grass. As he munches, he wriggles out farther and farther to get to the longer grass. At some point, he is then outside the fence.

When the goats get out they don't go far, so we just go out there and put them back in. So this morning it was not a big deal that they were out. Then John says "Well, they went back in. They must have knocked down the barricade near the shed."

So I go and look out another window, and I see Divna is also out.

A goat being out is one thing, a horse getting out is quite another.

Here she is, on the wrong side of the fence.

Zora was having a meltdown.

She is the Alpha Animal of our little critter family, and for Divna to be out while she was still in the pasture was completely unacceptable. She was running around, kicking, calling out, throwing her head....just making a spectacle of herself! She had the goats terrified! All this tough acting was a result of her being too afraid to go past the stuff laying around in the "escape area." If she was really a tough girl, she would have been outside too.

It was easy enough to get Divna back in the pasture -- she was hungry. All I had to do was come out and act like I was going to feed them, put a lead rope around her neck, and there she was....back in the pasture safe and sound.
John got to work on re-barricading the area. This should keep them in until he can get some proper fencing up.

I gave them some hay to comfort them after the trauma. Something happened with this batch of hay we got from the nearby farmer. Someone must have had a birthday party outside near the hay field. We have found a lot of balloons in the flakes of hay. This scares me --- looks like it could clog up a horse digestive tract in a big way.....
And later in the day they were all laying down out in the pasture, getting some sun and relaxing.

The goats had been laying down, too, but as soon as I got out there with the camera they jumped up....too bad, it would have been a neat picture with all four of them napping.
I LOVE my animals!!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Different Sort of Ride

This morning, I looked out the window to see what appeared to be a dead horse -- there was one of our "Girls" laying flat out in the pasture. They do that sometimes, and I think it is so neat because I read something from a real experienced horsepeson who said that they will only lay flat out like that if they feel perfectly safe. So I took a picture, but I had to zoom in between tree branches, and it looks funny. But if you look closely, you can make out the horse laying on the ground near the other one...

The plan was to ride with Dee and Paul yesterday, but I was exhausted, and while the temps were in the 30's, there was a wicked north wind, and it was we wimped out. Here in Northwest Indiana, when that north wind comes across Lake Michigan it can cut you in half.

Today we awoke to sunny skies and mild temperatures, so we knew this was the perfect opportunity to ride. It is a chance that you have to take advantage we decided to sieze the day! We brushed them out prior to the ride, and found that it is that time of year again...they are letting loose of their winter fur, as evidenced by this cury comb.
So off we went....down the railroad line. It was a great ride. Just the right mix of walking and running. At the end of the railroad line we decided to get adventerous and visit the apartment/single family home complex/neighborhood near Purdue North Central. This leg of the ride was a challenge for all 4 of us, as we were in a neighborhood, and on paved roads. It was really interesting....we went by a house under construction and Divna did not want to get anywhere near it -- I think the dumpster in the front yard must have been a horse killer!! But with some coaxing and encouraging words she got past it, and we rode thru the entire complex. It was prety cool. Of course Zora was just up for anything.
Our tack was pretty muddy when we got home, so John got to work on cleaning it up.

Once we got the horses, goats and chickens fed and settled in for the evening, we came into the house to have some fresh homemade Pasul i hleb (Serbian bean soup and bread).

What a great ending to a great weekend!!! Life doesn't get much better than this!