Nurture Your Dreams …

Another snow day. Another day at home for me. Another day of fence sitting for Bear.

"All this time off is boring," says Bear. I want my mom."

“All this time off is boring,” says Bear. “I want my mom.”

I don’t like driving in the snow and since we’re expecting up to 20 cms of the white demon today I’m inclined not to go anywhere. I can handle the conditions just fine (though I’d rather not get caught in a blizzard.) It’s the numb nuts out there defying the law and driving with a cellphone glued to their ear that trouble me.

So, it means a day away from Bear. Some separation anxiety, but I’ll be fine. He’s getting great care and will be happy to hang out in the paddock most of the day with his new girlfriend.

He and Zu Zu are really quite cute together. The other day I turned him out and Zu was waiting for him. Bear lingered by the gate with me for a few minutes and then wandered off along the perimeter of the fence toward the shelter near the corner. As he rounded the corner he caught sight of Zu, called to her and started trotting through the heavy snow to be with her.

I guess it’s love. 😉

Our first month at the new barn has enlightened me in so many ways.

My new coach, so knowledgable about the mechanics and nuances of the dressage journey, has opened the way for me to see my potential, which means I’m no longer so focused on the dysfunction. I’ve had three coaching sessions so far. Happy with our progress? You bet!

It’s so refreshing to feel hope.

The remedial work at the old barn was fine. It prepared me for this amazing time of expansion and growth. I’m really grateful. Still, I’m just as happy not to be focusing backwards anymore. It’s “Forward ho!” all the way now.

And Bear is so much happier in his work because I’m finally starting to ride him the way he was designed to be ridden.

The key is to create more forward momentum.

“He is a lazy horse,” my new coach jokes kindly, knowing full well that there is something there to be tapped.

Thankfully, Bear is not condemned to laziness. With each session, and under my coach’s expert eye and instruction, Bear becomes sharper and more energized. Transitions become easier. My forty-plus years riding horses is finally manifesting confidence I haven’t felt before. I’m discovering I’m more than the sum of my parts.

Hands still. Legs still. Sit still. Create the energy, get out of Bear’s way and flow with it. This has been the most important lesson so far. Bear loves it. I can ride it.

We don’t argue about canter as much. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but now the door is open we can walk right in and do something about it. When I first arrived at the barn a month ago I thought I’d have to get my new coach to pop on Bear a couple of times to sharpen him up. We even talked about it. But it hasn’t happened yet because, with his guidance, I’ve discovered I’m able to do it myself!

Words cannot express how amazing this feels.

The difference in Bear in just a few riding sessions (most of January was a write-off due to the weather, remember) has been remarkable. I’m so happy for us both. And yesterday I believe coach witnessed Bear’s true potential for the first time. Wendy shared with me a comment he’d made to her that Bear is a “lovely horse.” When a coach of his training (of the German school) and experience makes an unsolicited comment like that it means a great deal. I’m so thrilled for Bear.

So, the first month of this new life chapter has been great. I am excited for our future, am relishing the present and have filed the past.

One brief comment about looking back.

I believe my horse had been telling me for a long while it was time for a change. It’s not that I wasn’t listening. Timing is everything. I’d investigated moving before, but nothing ever came of it. This time, however the change manifested in such a short period of time. From the barn search to the move, with lots of meditation and due diligence in-between, was just a month. It’s clear to me this was meant to be.

When we keep our dreams alive, one way or another, everything unfolds as it should.

Nurture your dreams. Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom 🙂

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

When Things Are Meant To Be … Or Not To Be

... A poet out standing in this new field ...

… Shakespeare ~ a poet out standing in his new field …

~*~

It’s been nearly two weeks since Bear and I started a new chapter in our life together. I’m pleased to say the first few paragraphs have been incredibly fun. 🙂

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve known for some time that we needed a change. What I’ve learned from this experience, however, is that when change (or opportunity if you prefer to look at it that way) is ready for you, it comes knocking. The important thing is to be aware and listen for that first gentle rap at the door so we can usher change in quietly and methodically. It’s when we haven’t been paying attention and change starts banging the door down that problems arise. From past experience I know this to be true.

If I thought about it too much I might kick myself for not having made this move sooner. The fact is, though, the timing was not right until now. Opportunity was biding its time waiting for Bear and me (mostly me, sadly) to be ready. I’d looked at potential new homes for Bear before, but not found the right fit. And then, one day last November during an online search I found this barn which, as it happened, had only one stall open. I paid the barn a visit and, after due consideration, made the decision to let change, and opportunity lead us through the door.

The rest you know.

So, I don’t beat myself up over something I wish I’d done years ago. It’s a moot point. Everything unfolds as it should, and when you follow your heart things do, inevitably, fall into place at exactly the right time. No regrets. No mourning for the past. Just a much clearer vision of the future and a toe-hold closer to a dream.

The recent hard blast of winter has been both a curse and a blessing. A curse, of course, in that conditions have been unbearably cold and not suited to riding. A blessing because the extra down time has given Bear and I a chance to acclimate to our new surroundings. He hangs out with his new friends and I hang out with mine. And when it comes to his exercise, because it’s been so quiet at the barn we’ve had free access to the arena. This means we’ve been able to play at will, which is great because it gets him used to the quirks and creaks of his new working space without me on his back.

It’s been a rather smooth transition, all in all. This tells me it was meant to be. 😉

Forsooth, a few words from the poet equine …

~*~

Sonnet XXIV

No way there is to know what life shall bring;

What storms shall pass or sunny days shall hold.

The best advantage is a heart that sings

So through the best and worst one might be bold.

As winter hath its fury bourn this way

And havoc wreaked for all within its path

The choice, per chance, to mope or, rather, play;

Be beaten not by Mother Nature’s wrath.

*

What change the winds hath wrought, what change indeed

As to a new life I am surely born.

And yet, all things that matter, all I need,

Hath followed me; for nothing do I mourn.

Thus, change hath done me good, I’m bound to say,

For happy heart of yore’s more glad today.

~*~

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Settling In …

A quick update …

In spite of -20C temperatures Bear is settling in nicely at his new, cosy digs.

Perhaps the most astonishing development is how quickly he’s managed to make new friends.

Bear has a sociable nature, but never could I have imagined just how easy going he was going to be with this major transition in his life.

When introducing horses to each other for the first time it’s important to be mindful. Like people, horses either get along, or they don’t. When horses don’t get along it can be pretty distressing. So, that first morning, while figuring out what would work best for all concerned, the barn manager held Bear back in the barn. Her first inclination, as is common practice, was to put him out in a small paddock by himself so he could get a sense of his surroundings. He would go out on second rotation keep a sick and unhappy horse on stall rest with a sore leg some company.

But Bear wasn’t having it. He wanted to go out.

So, he was turned out with two horses who just happen to be two of his closest neighbours in the barn so he would have had all that first night to start getting acquainted. Out in the paddock and after some initial squealing, which is typical of newly introduced horses, they were right as rain.

I could hardly believe it when she told me. Bear’s not even in the barn 24 hours and he’s already made friends.

His new paddock pals are lovely.

The first is ZuZu who, you may recall, was mentioned in my previous post. She’s a young mare of the Canadian breed. (Has Bear ever been turned out with a mare before? Certainly not while I’ve had him. Of course, there was his mother … ;-)) She’s a feisty, self-assured young lady quite able, it appears, to hold her own among the boys. Bear is mighty fond of her already, and looks for her when she isn’t nearby. I’ve also caught them making eyes at each other across the aisle.

Oh, my! My boy has a girlfriend!!!

He also has a new buddy.

Jerome is an international show jumper in early retirement due to injury, and has been ZuZu’s paddock pal for a while already. He’s a real sweetheart and it’s clear he simply wants to be Bear’s buddy. I spied them grooming each other as I drove by their paddock and into the farm that first day. A good sign.

Needless to say I am thrilled at how quickly Bear has settled in.

So, proud of my boy. 🙂

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

The Gift

Winter hay

Perhaps I indulge the muse just little too much but, here again, a new inspiration from my darling Shakespeare ~ a poet out standing in his field.

I guess he knows something’s up … 😉

Enjoy!

~*~

Sonnet XXIII

‘Pon snowy mounds of white a glint of moon

As through the frigid night the light descends

And on the breeze a hint we’re moving soon;

A chapter new begins while this one ends.

The wind of winter change doth blow it seems

To lead us to a life that’s bright and new

So Mother dear can chase another dream

And I, perchance, can help that dream come true.

*

For what is life if not a chance to dream?

To seek our hearts desire and make it so.

A miracle that casts a vibrant beam

Into the hearts of those who dare to grow.

My gift to she who brightens up my day?

Is all my heart can give to light the way.

Shakespeare “The Equine”
December 2013

~*~

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

The Five-Minute Dental Check-Up

This is the way we brush our teeth, brush, our teeth, brush our teeth ...

Monday afternoon Bear had his annual visit with the dentist.

His experience is a little different from ours, however. The dentist comes to him.

Bear gets a home visit. No waiting in a sterile dentist’s waiting room, tortured by muzak and picking through last year’s trade magazines.

Nope. Just hanging out over a pile of hay, as usual, waiting his turn in the comfort of his own stall.

That’s not to say he doesn’t experience some degree of anxiety.

When I arrived for my Monday ride he was standing at the back of his stall, eyes wide, ears pricked back toward Mac two stalls down who was in the throes of dental rapture. (Not!)

And down the aisle, Bear’s normally placid paddock companion, Sam, was stomping and snorting in protest, the ting of metal rasp against water-filled metal bucket more than he cared to process. And his turn isn’t until Thursday.

Bear was next on the list.

“Does he need to be tranquilized,” I asked innocently enough, convinced, of course, that my baby could manage without it and save me the extra cost of the tranq.

“Oh, yes,” answered Coach, “but it’s not so strong a dose that you won’t be able to ride after.”

This fit into my time frame so I stood back and watched the show unfold.

Mac’s dental work complete, the good doc stopped by Bear’s stall to “fix him up” before heading over to dear old Teddy who, in his 30s now, is pretty long in the tooth. As you know, my boy is placid for the most part but, like most of us, he’s not big on the poking and prodding that comes with getting your teeth done.

Within minutes, and with Ted sporting a relieved look on his face, the good doc was in Bear’s stall, his hand up to his wrist in my boy’s mouth feeling for sharp edges, broken teeth and other dental issues. Coach was keeping a firm hold of Bear’s halter to provide support. With a grasp of what was going on in Bear’s oral cavity, the good doc then went to town with the rasp (like a huge metal nail file), floating away the rough edges of Bear’s pearly whites.

(Some equine dentists use electric horse tooth rasps, but this guy works mostly by hand. I like that. Who do you know that likes the sound of the dentist’s drill? 😉 )

There’s not much a dopey horse can do in this situation but roll his eyes and enjoy the attention, such as it is.

With Bear’s thoughts lost in the ether somewhere it look barely five minutes for the good doc to take care of business and announce a clean bill of oral health for my boy.

His next appointment is set for a year from now.

Bear Smiles

I should be so lucky. 😉

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Confessions of a Coaching Intern: The Buck Stops Here … Part II

The third instalment of  Confessions of a Coaching Intern. A series in which I re-visit my experiences as an equestrian coach-in-training, 1995-1997.

 Enjoy the ride!

Related:

Finding Clarity with a Pitch Fork and a Song (Freshly Pressed)

The Buck Stops Here … Part I

~*~

Buck

Buck

After granny’s passing I had the sense that her death meant a resurrection for me. Honouring her memory by doing something meaningful with my life, by doing something that would have made her proud, became really important.

I believed that she would have been pleased for me to start taking my life back. And I believed she would have been doubly-pleased for me to involve horses somehow. She’d loved horses.

My original intent was to apply to the agricultural college in Olds, Alberta.

However, as I was going through the motions toward this goal a conversation with a riding instructor at a barn where I found myself back in the saddle brought me to a different conclusion.

She advised that the infamous farm of my most recent riding past was under new management as a hunter/jumper show barn and riding school. She suggested I check with the new people to see if they were offering a coaching internship program.

This sounded interesting, so I soon made a phone call and set up an appointment. Within a week I was returned to the place of my former doom and telling the nice new people, with some emotion, my big plans.

They were, in fact, looking for interns and, after some discussion we reached an agreement. I would start my equestrian adventure in the fall after I’d wound up a few things, including my career in public relations.

Now, they may have looked at me sideways a bit as I was in my 30s and, perhaps, a little “old” for this kind of thing, but I was so excited I didn’t care what anyone thought. I’d always dreamed of working with horses and my dream was about to come true.

Doubtless my husband at the time questioned my sanity. Why did I want to quit a perfectly well-paying desk job to hang out in a barn all day?

It may sound awful, but what he thought became of no consequence to me. His was a short memory. He’d quit his job several years earlier, with my support, to get a Masters degree in Sports Administration (his dream) in the States. I was there for him 100 per cent, with a low Canadian dollar to boot. I’d also returned to live with my mother to make it all work.

In this instance, my schooling was 10 minutes from home and was going to cost us nothing (except the loss of a pay check, as I was often reminded). We were still living at my mother’s.  So, darn it, I was going to live my dream. It was my time.

While waiting for the internship to begin I returned to the barn of my former doom to get a feel for how it had changed under the new regime

The riding school was certainly more sophisticated. My new coach, J, was great and I really liked the horses I was riding, some of whom were still there from before.

As it got closer and closer to my internship start date, however, my husband began to throw obstacles in my path. He was desperate for me to change my mind.

To appease him I pushed the fall start back until after Christmas.

A Christmas start was then pushed back to February. With each delay I became more and more restless until finally, at the end of February and with my husband’s protests ever ringing in my ears, I made my stand, quit corporate life and, after a one-week break, launched full throttle into the internship and my journey to self-discovery.

I describe in some detail in Finding Clarity with a Pitchfork and a Song the slog and turmoil of the experience.

The fun part was riding twice a day ~ flatwork in the morning and jumping in the afternoon.

Over time each intern (there were four of us) paired off with an appropriately experienced school horse. What was considered appropriate? The horse had to be able to do a simple dressage test in frame and jump a course of 2’9″ fences. We were going for Canadian Coaching Level I here. It wasn’t complicated. By the end of my internship I’d be able to teach various levels in an equestrian centre setting. Achieving a higher coaching level to train athletes for competition was always going to be beyond my scope as I had no significant experience in the competition ring.

I staked my claim on a young, dark bay thoroughbred mare, Feebie. She was a lovely mover with a terrible stubborn streak. When she was good she was really good, and when she was having a bad day you may as well forget about it. This left me plenty frustrated, but it was part of my challenge to work it through before exam time.

It was a tough and happy 18 months of training. Of course, spending so much time together Feebie and I bonded. She was like my own horse. We managed our good and bad days together. I was having marital woes and found consolation and release working through my challenges at the barn. Spending time with Feebs allowed me to forget my troubles at home and experience some joy.

I felt like a kid again, having fun improving my riding and general horsemanship skills while working toward a worthy goal. I was participating in exercises I would teach; understanding the different challenges riders would face with each exercise, and learning techniques to help riders work through these challenges while overcoming their fears.

And while I was learning I was growing, becoming more confident, understanding myself a little better and exploring my creativity.

While learning to nurture others through teaching (and we’ll get to that in a future instalment) I was learning what it meant to nurture myself. It was so win/win!

And, of course, an important part of nurturing is issuing suitable challenges to expand the comfort zone in ways that increase confidence.

One of the most fun ~ and challenging ~ exercises I encountered was the gymnastic grid

A gymnastic grid is a series of obstacles (see diagram) designed to focus on pace, straightness, balance and coordination, and test the connection between the rider and horse. The obstacles gradually increase in size and this is determined by the riding level being taught. In our case the final obstacle was usually set around 2′ 3″. They don’t have to be huge jumps. That’s not the point. The point is to be able to create the desired form and maintain it for the duration of the prescribed exercise.

The exercise is made all the more exciting when the coach injects the additional challenge of negotiating the grid with no stirrups, no reins and, if they’re feeling particularly testy, with eyes closed while singing Twinkle, twinkle little star.

Knowing I could do it gave me the confidence to teach it.

~*~

After 18 months it was time to take part in the preliminary coaching exams. This would determine whether or not I was properly prepared for the finals which were to follow a month later.

It didn’t go so well. I was nervous and Feebie wasn’t that cooperative. After talking with the examiner and my coach it was agreed I would wait another six months to do the finals. During that time I would continue to work with Feebie to see if we could sort this out.

Naturally I was disappointed by this turn of events but decided to make the most of it. Que sera sera. My new mantra, right?

Still, regardless of my new go-with-the-flow mentality I was not prepared for the shock that was to follow.

About six weeks before the final exam Feebie, now deemed unsuitable, was removed from the coaching program.

What was I going to do?

There was only one option open to me ~ an option I had strenuously avoided never mind considered.

Buck.

If you haven’t read the last instalment of this story you won’t know that my previously harrowing experience with Buck some six years earlier was the reason I’d stopped riding in the first place. And now he was going to be my exam partner?

What cruel twist of fate was this?

Even as this terrible news was being delivered I could feel the colour draining from my face; a knot forming in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t understand what was happening.

Surely there was another suitable horse?

No. All were spoken for. Buck was next on the list. Buck with his knobbly knees, weak caboose and bad attitude. Buck my nemesis. I could hardly believe it. How was this horrible challenge, at this late stage, going to increase my chances of passing that exam?

Next post: Heaven help me, I think I’m going to die …

~*~

Bear Smiles

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

 

A Change in the Weather

While I continue to tweak the next instalment of Confessions of a Coaching Intern, here’s another missive by one Shakespeare the “Equine” whose own blog I have yet to update.

As he would say: “The day hath only so many hours.”

As well, change is in the wind.

Stay tuned.

~*~

Our new official portrait ~ Photography by Cary Andrew Penny

Our new official portrait ~ Photo: Cary Andrew Penny

~*~

Sonnet II

Fall on us falls with glowing gasps of gold

O’er wooded hills in splotches splished and splashed,

And red and amber textures big and bold

Are vari-coloured leaves all smished and smashed.

My feathered friends profess a fond farewell

As to the south their beaks they point with glee,

And flap in happy vees through cloudy cells,

It seems, at last, they have abandoned me.

*

And so turn I my thoughts to season’s plight

Of colder rains and winds that blast and blow.

And wish for August’s warmth with all my might —

Though forecast doth, alas, predict, first, snow.

No choice now but to weather Winter’s pain

Bow I my head and whimper in my grain.

~*~

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

To clip, or not to clip: that is the question …

A Clean Slate

… Bear waits patiently for the inevitable …

Clipping a horse is not an exact science.

There are as many opinions about when and how to clip as there are horse owners.

Thus begins the great clipping debate.

By now horses are sporting the new season’s latest trend in fuzzy winter wear. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (see below), Bear tends to spare no expense here, donning a fine fall fur that, when I flatten my hand against his side, engulfs it in its deep fluffy plushness.

The flip side of this, however, is that during a workout Bear’s winter woolies become a damp and nasty matted mess which can take hours to dry. Heaven forbid my poor boy should catch a chill.

So, to clip or not to clip?

In Bear’s case it’s not really the question at all. It’s more a matter of when. Too soon and I might have to clip him again in February. Continue the waiting game and I’ll be waiting for him to dry forever.

A little background …

The decision to clip or not largely depends on the type of work a horse is doing and their living conditions. Horses who live outside during the coldest season and are in light work, maybe a couple of hours a week, may need only a light clip or may get away with wearing their natural winter duds. Light blanketing may be in order also.

Horses with a more intense workload and who work up a heavy sweat will need a more thorough clip and blanketing when they’re at rest.

Bear is in the latter group. His muscles fire on all cylinders during a workout. He needs relief.

Still, it’s a crap shoot to figure out the particular needs of each horse, taking a couple of years to understand their MO. Needs vary from year to year too. Different horses grow different thicknesses of coat at different rates.

So, a typical conversation in the barn around the subject of horse clipping might go something like this:

“Wow, Bear sure is fuzzy these days. When are you going to clip him?”

“Soon, I think. Maybe the end of October.”

“Won’t you need to do it again before spring if you clip him this early?”

“Maybe. Maybe not. Last winter was milder so Bear’s coat didn’t grow back as fast, but I’m hearing rumours that this year winter’s going to be harder, so I dunno … What about Pebbles? What will you do about clipping her?”

“Oh … I’m going to put it off as long as possible. All that hair flying around ~ getting up my nose, in my eyes, and down my shirt. It’s soooo itchy. I don’t want to go through that more than once.”

“I hear ya. …”

A moment of silence as we both pause to contemplate the inevitable itchy shower of horse hair that is part of the annual clipping ritual.

“Hmm … What kind of clip for Bear this year?”

“Same as last year ~ a triangle of his winter woolies from his withers to over his bum. Looks sharp on him and, most importantly, keeps him warm where it matters ~ over his kidneys and such. Everything else, off. That way he’ll stay dry.”

“Face and legs too?”

“Face just to his halter line and legs to the knees and hocks. Anything else would be overkill, at least for our needs.”

“Did you get your blankets cleaned?”

“Yup, all eight present and correct. Freshly washed and weather proofed. He’ll be snug as a bug in a rug.”

“Eight blankets!!! For one horse? Why so many?”

“Two lightweight day sheets so there’s always a spare. One warmer sheet that can be used under a turnout rug or as a cooler on colder days after workouts. Two turnout rugs ~ one lightweight blanket (plus an extra if this one gets ripped) and another heavier blanket for colder weather. One winter-weight rain sheet, i.e. it’s wool lined. And another lightweight fleece cooler for warmer days. … I think that’s everything.”

“It’s enough.”

“I’d like to think so …”

~*~

So yesterday Bear was clipped …

He was such a good little soldier, standing absolutely still through most of the two-hour ordeal. He’s not bothered by the whirring of the clippers or their vibration against his body. I think he rather enjoys the attention. Occasionally he’ll give a sideways glance to see what I’m doing.

And I wish he wouldn’t, because I’m such a neophyte.

Up until three or four years ago I was paying someone to do this. But then circumstances changed and I decided that perhaps it was time I took this particular task on myself.

For one season I struggled with clipper hand-me-downs that were too small to do the job properly. It took forever. The next year I invested in a more suitable (expensive) pair of heavy duty clippers that allow the job to be done more quickly.

These behemoth trimmers are great except that I’m such a mechanical gadget klutz I don’t really know what I’m doing. Christine, who’s much more adept at this sort of thing, helps to set me on the right path. She makes it look so easy. I stick to the large body areas and leave her to negotiate the legs and face with a smaller pair of trimmers. Maybe next year I’ll be braver about that. After all, once you clip out a notch you can’t put it back. I don’t want Bear looking like a patchwork teddy.

Still, for all that there’s horse hair floating freely and getting up my nose it’s a pretty special time with Mr. Bear. As I inspect our handiwork he looks at me with those big, trusting brown eyes in a way that makes me feel my responsibility to keep him happy. This is easily met with a carrot, of course. So, during breaks to spray coolant on the clipper blades and clear the air intake of horse hair, he gets royally spoiled.

If the interval between carrots is too great, the long face throws me a look; a restless hoof paws the ground.

I’m fortunate. Many horses don’t handle their annual appointment with the clippers nearly as well.

When we’re all done, he looks incredibly handsome …

The coat he no longer wears lies in a fluffy pile on the cold barn floor and revealed is a beautiful, soft seal-grey velvet that, most importantly, releases moisture generated by a vigorous workout so he won’t look, or feel, like such a drowned rat.

New jammies

A special treat this year is a new blanket to replace one he’s had for several years that’s no longer weather-proof.

So debonair …

To clip or not to clip? I believe, for the purposes of this blog post at least, we’ve answered that question. 😉

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

~*~

Related Posts

Summer Says Goodbye

Managing the Equine Fall Fashion Faux Pas

The Dirt Devil

Bear is a handsome horse, but like all pretty boys he has a dark side.

Now I know I’ve talked about this sort of thing before, but this is a special moment I just feel I have to share …

Wednesdays are a day off for Bear and I. No training, just some down time and me showing up to groom and fuss over the lad as I do every day, regardless of whether I ride him or not.

Yesterday I arrived, as usual, about noon. Bear was out in his paddock with Sam, his erstwhile buddy, grazing and minding his own business when I approached the fence. Camera in hand, I hoped to capture a few images of him happily grazing with the backdrop of whatever fall colours remained in the woods yonder. The leaves have disappeared quickly this year, so there really wasn’t much to work with, but I thought at least I’d try.

Sam came over and made it his business to interfere with my intentions. Jealousy, I think, is a part of his problem. He knows I dote on his pasture mate and he wants a piece.

I shooed him out of the way as Bear started to wander up from the other end of the paddock. His was a quiet, purposeful saunter in the mid-day sun to where I was standing, his hope that I would reward him with a carrot.

Sadly, I had not yet been in the barn and had no carrots on me.

After having chased Sam away Bear met me at the fence and waited for an impatient second, nudging my arm with his nose to receive the much anticipated carrot.

“Sorry, Bear, I don’t have any on me right now.”

Annoyed, as I imagined him to be, he turned and walked purposefully away. In other words, he gave me the bum’s rush.

“Huh!” I thought, “What a strange thing for him to do.”

Feeling slightly put out I watched with amazement at what unfolded next.

He stopped in the middle of his coveted mud hole, dropped to his knees and rolled … and rolled … and rolled. Dumbfounded, I poised the camera and clicked away to capture the moment.

Like some bodyguard minding his celebrity client, Sam continued to interfere with me. Bear continued to roll. I tried to shoo Sam away. He wouldn’t move. Meanwhile, Bear continued his evil frolic in the devil’s playground until he was well and truly covered in dirt.

When he was done he lurched to his feet and had a good shake.

He sauntered back to me and, with a look of supreme self-satisfaction, nudged my arm again as if to say, “Have fun grooming. Now, where’s my carrot?”

Do you think I spoil him?

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Why The Long Face? … More Musings from a Poet Out Standing in His Field

The Poet

Following 18 days grazing the pastoral beauty of rural England it’s time, once more, for me to step into the day-to-day and establish a routine, albeit a slightly adjusted one as I make more room for tea time. 😉

As for a certain horse ~ apparently my absence did not go unnoticed.

While I pull my vacation-stoked thoughts together in preparation for future writing projects, please enjoy the thoughtful ruminations (in sonnet form, of course) of my darling Shakespeare.

Oh, the drama …

~*~

Sonnet XXI

Woe Is Me

A fog of loneliness my spirit shroud

As separate from the one I love am forced.

My head and heart bemoan this passing cloud

No matter some might think me just a horse.

Thus plant my lips do I in grassy field

To fill the hours head down in happy place.

For to my sadness I resist to yield

And paste diminished smile on this long face.

*

As minutes pass to hours pass to days

In moments do I dwell my heart to heal.

Yet to the paddock gate I’m wont to gaze

In search of she to whom my heart reveal.

Perchance, as all things do, this fog will pass,

Returning to my view my lovely lass.

~*~

Fortunately there is a happy ending …

~*~

Sonnet XXII

Woe Be Gone!

The spearmint chill of autumn through my bones

Creeps as the frigid winds my flesh embrace.

Full care take I my heart turns not to stone

So mem’ries of my Love remain in place.

And to this end am glad to do my part

As from the gate a voice drifts o’er the breeze

To heat the very cellar of my heart

So flesh and bones thus warm a few degrees.

*

My Love, she hath returned. Oh bliss! Oh joy!

Cold wind her sweet voice carries home to me.

No more disconsolate or lonely boy

Love swarmeth in my heart as buzzing bee.

As bones and flesh alive with her now heal

The autumn’s chills no longer do I feel.

~*~

Bear Smiles

We’ll return to regular programming shortly .. 😉

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013