The chronicles of a Friesian mare who happened upon an owner who lives outside the show ring....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Be careful what you wish for......

Remember a few weeks back when I posted about wanting....even needing....snow?

Ut-oh.  I should not have said that out loud!  This past weekend we were completely dumped on by a massive blizzard.  Over 2 feet of snow blanketed the ground by Saturday morning with some drifts well over 5 feet high!  It took us 11 hours (eleven!) to clear all the snow away from the barn, paddocks, driveway, house, roof.........I am so sore!

I went out on Saturday morning to feed the horses at 8:30am, and didn't actually get to feeding them until 10:00am.  We had to shovel our way down! 
My husband helping shovel a path to the barn.

The side of the house (water spigot access)

Snow drifts at the back of the house and on the roof.

One of the remaining sections of stockade fence (Sandy took down most of them).  This is a six foot fence!
I finally made it down to the barn and decided to shovel around the horse trailer before feeding the crew.
Snow bank behind the trailer.  Had to move all this by hand!

Side of the barn.

Back of the barn.  Not going outside today!
 So I finally get inside to clean their stalls and feed them.  Here they are, happily munching on breakfast without a care in the world......

It had not stopped snowing by midday, so I wasn't about to break out the snow blower until the wind died down and the snow stopped.  After chores I took a walk around the property to see the beautiful (cold, nasty, heavy, disgusting) blanket of snow.
There's a car under there somewhere...

Truck is buried.

Front of the house

View of the barn and Daatje's paddock

Wicked tall bank at the end of the driveway!

Looking down Laura Ln

My ornamental cherry tree

Under the trees in the front yard as seen from the street

Looking up Laura Ln

Little blue house on the hill. <3
Needless to say, I didn't get to ride this past weekend.  It took the better part of both Saturday and Sunday to clear everything out.  I did manage to squeeze in snowshoeing on Sunday evening, just before the sun went down.  I have some pictures.....more on that later. :)

Moral of the story.....never, ever complain out loud in the woods, where the weather gods can hear you, about not having any snow! :o

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Birthday Trail Ride

Yesterday, February 6th, was my birthday.  I have this aversion to working on my birthday so I usually take a vacation day and stay home to do whatever I want. :)  So naturally, I stayed home and began my day with a sculpting session on a piece that I've been working on.  Then I went to Sears and bought a new power drill.  My cordless Craftsman of 18 years finally bit the dust and with all the projects going on around the house I simply cannot be without one!  Last but not least, I took Daatje out on our trails.  We were out for just under 2 hours and covered just under 7 miles.

There's a large field at the East Road trail access which the property owners have invited me to ride on, as long as it's not haying season.  The ground is a little hard now, but it's still fun to walk around the stone wall bordered field with the classic New England farm house in the background.

In the woods not far from the farm house, one of the stone walls across the trail climbed quite a steep hill.  We bushwhacked to the top and I tried to get a photo of the wall as it laced between the trees, straight as an arrow!  Hard to see in the photo with the trees in the way, but that wall goes on as far as the eye can see.  How the farmers were able to lay such lengths of stone walls in such straight lines I'd love to know. :)

The trail is the dark line crossing the center of the photo.
 We kinda found ourselves in the middle of the thicket at the top of the hill, so after a bit of contemplation on how to get down and back to the trail, we executed the plan and were on our way again.

I wanted to scope out the ice situation so when the snow fell I'd have a good idea of what was underneath and where.  We stopped at the Spillway and I took this quick clip of the bubbling Kelly Brook.

After exploring a new trail that branched into two directions (both dead ended into private property) we headed back up the hill to the farm house with the big field.

The gentleman farmer was out loading split logs into his pick up (they have a wood burning furnace outdoors) and he waved to me as I was coming up the logging road.  So nice to have such friendly, welcoming land owners!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Conundrum

"If I am to remain happy, I need to focus on a world where a horse is prized for it's beauty, presence and gait.  Less on a world where a horse's worth is determined by how great is it's gallop or high it's jump."

My heart horse belongs in the former world, but my heart the latter.

Quoting myself on a thought I posted to my facebook wall the other day.  It's very true, you know.  This has been my conundrum since I realized Daatje was not made of the stuff that is required of a horse to enjoy the sport of eventing, even at the lowest of levels.  Her body capable, her mind not willing.

I was looking back at our history together.  Trying to make sense of it all and figure out what on earth has kept me in the rut I'm in.  Why did I not sell this horse years ago?  She should have gone to a show home the instant I realized she was not a candidate to allow me to particiapte in the sport that I love.  I tried.  I advertised, had prospective buyers.  But I could. not. let. her. go.  The emptiness I felt at the mere *thought* of being without her, overwhelming.

I love my horse, but at the same time I feel like I'm in a bad relationship because she's no good for me.  She doesn't make me look good *at all* in the sport where my allegiance lies.  To the point where it no longer makes sense to even try to compete her, or do clinics.  My heart wants to be a part of the eventing scene.  I want to run GMHA, UNH, Groton House.....I want to be able to justify spending the money to attend Denny Emerson's adult camp.......

We foxhunt, true, but even in the hunt field I have lowered my expectations to suit her ability (mental and physical).  I have resigned myself to sit somewhere in 2nd field, skipping half the jumps when my HEART wants to be right behind the first field master jumping *everything* in sight.

In this, she makes me look bad (in my own eyes).  My heart sad.  Although I would be more miserable without her than I am with her, even feeling left out and neglecting my needs.

Enough of this nonsense.

I have a beautiful, talented animal that for my own selfish ends and infinite stubborness have not allowed to shine in her element.  She belongs in the show ring, strutting her fancy gaits and powerful movement before an audience.  She belongs in harness.  How beautiful she is wearing a harness!  And how natural it feels to be holding the lines behind her.  I have not even scratched the surface of her potential in these disciplines.

It's time for me to make *her* look good.  Enjoy her for who she is, stop trying to turn her into (or wish that she was) something she's not, nor will ever be.

2013 is going to be the year of Daatje.  This year, I'm going to let her shine. <3 

Daatje winning the W/T Friesian Pleasure Championship, NEFHC Classic 2005.  She was just 4 years old.

Monday, February 4, 2013

One weekend, two trail rides.

Last weekend was a busy one with the Hunt Ball to attend on Saturday evening, but I managed to fit in two trail rides.  We still don't have any snow to speak of and with the warm temps and rain followed by a freeze, there is more ice out there than ever!

Saturday, I took Daatje out alone on our ice-modified route.
We found a new trail.  Well, it wasn't really *new* per se.  I'd been ignoring it because it looked so small and windy.  More of a foot path than a bridle trail.  You can see in the image above where we went down along the contour of the Rookery Swamp.  That was the new trail.  I got pretty far along before ice turned us around, but I'm very excited to go further as this is supposed to skirt around the swamp and if so, would give us access to the Plaistow Trails!  It's a trail rider's heaven out there. :)  Here's a close up of the new area:
I took some pics of the swamp as viewed from the tiny trail.

If you look closely, you can see the Heron's nests in the tops of the dead trees on the upper right of the last photo.

Along this new trail there was a huge glacial boulder with mossy ferns growing on top of it and a split right down the middle.

I wanted to see what it looked like from above, so we bush-whacked off the trail and climbed the hill.  Here's the view from behind the boulder.

We turned back after this.  I'd be thrilled if the new trail actually does make a way around the swamp.  This is the reason I currently don't have direct access to the Plaistow trails:

That is not quite passable, even when it's not frozen.  Used to be a beaver dam, dam let go and the water there is really, really deep.  The remains of the dam are bogged in the mud under the water and the footing is really trappy.  Yuck.

Which brings us to our Sunday trail ride.  Mom came on foot with her little mini Rainbow. :)  We went basically the same place as I did on Saturday, but did not venture as far down the little new trail.
It was snowing lightly.

Mom and the adoreable Rainbow!

Daatje in front of the glacial boulder

Mom and Rainbow on top of the boulder hill.

Our GPS track from Sunday, 2/3/13.