Sweet Relief

Weather Vane

Every season poses it’s own special challenges. Last week, heat and humidity dogged us for an extended, uncomfortable period. Too hot to do too much. No riding. Lots of hosing off horses hot from standing in the sun all day. On Thursday stormy chaos was followed by sweet relief. And then, as always, the promise of better things to come.

The next day was better. Fresh air; fresh outlook; fresh vitality. The horses were almost nuts with it.

Sophi and I had our first outing since Tuesday. With the temps having dropped substantially, and blustery winds blowing about bringing in all the nice, new, fresh air, it wasn’t surprising that my darling girl had springs in her toes. The muggy malaise a distant memory. She, like I, was ready to work again. But she was twitchy. Cracking and rustling noises in the woods beside the sand ring where we were communicated the presence of monsters. After about 10 minutes and one breaking branch too many Sophi spun out. Unable to grab a piece of mane fast enough, I had an unscheduled dismount.

Over the Valley

No harm done. I stood up, brushed off the sand and walked over to Sophi who was standing some 20 feet away patiently waiting for me to collect her. After reassuring her that everything was okay we walked together to the arena. I hopped on and for 45 minutes we trained our third level test movements. If she had wind in her sails we had to ride it out. Safely inside and protected from the woodland gremlins she was happy to oblige.

The potential for falling of a horse is part of the risk of riding. Getting back in the saddle is one of those personal triumphs that can’t be over-stressed, especially as we age. For me, like most dedicated horse people, it’s an automatic impulse. Unless you’re sporting some kind of prohibitive injury, back on the horse you get.

Still, riding creates wear and tear on the hips, back and knees even under the best of circumstances, and a good maintenance program, as I’ve discovered, is a must. Fortunately, my regularly scheduled fortnightly visit with the chiropractor is today.

Sweet relief after my own moment of stormy chaos.

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom


©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks


A Moment With Bear …

While I gather my thoughts around what to write in my next blog post, let me just share this one beautiful thing …


Among the Dandelions


… a moment with Bear.

Hope you’re having a great summer so far …

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom


©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014





A Poet Out Standing in his Field

Bear’s registered name is Shakespeare.

I like the name. But I didn’t name him.

His breeder in Germany did.

Bear’s sire, Shakespeare in Love, is registered as a stallion in the Hannoveraner Verband. If you’re interested, scroll down the stallion directory to find Shakespeare in Love. Click on the license number and it will link you to a photo of Bear’s daddy as well as his pedigree.

Shakespeare’s lineage is known as the “S” line. Hanoverians are registered with a name that begins with the same first letter of the sire’s name. This way they can be easily traced by name to a particular lineage. Note his paternal male bloodline features names beginning with “S.”

Why he was given the name Shakespeare, particularly, will likely always remain a mystery to me but, frankly, it doesn’t really matter. Maybe on some grand meta-physical scale he was always destined to be my equine soulmate and the Universe conferred upon him a name that would prove inspirational to me.

Or, perhaps, the breeder just thought him a chip off the old block … 😉

(He sure is handsome like his daddy.)

A poet out standing in his field ...

A poet out standing in his field …

Being a writer, the coincidence, if there is such a thing, that the horse I’d been waiting for all my life had been named for one of the greatest writers of all time was not lost on me.

Not long after Shakespeare arrived home my creative juices began to flow and I started imagining life on the farm through the eyes of my horse. Naturally enough, his meanderings of thought came by way of poetry. In time the poems began to formulate as sonnets.

Poet’s Paddock,” a blog currently under renovation, was born of this process. So far there are about 20 sonnets in the collection. The author? Shakespeare “The Equine.”

I’m considering compiling and publishing these sonnets as a book of poetry. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, and in light of my last post about summer saying goodbye, I thought it would be fun to share with you Shakespeare “The Equine’s own imaginative ruminations on the end of summer.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were, from a poet out standing in his field. 😉



Sonnet XX

Summer Says Goodbye

By calendar the year hath passed away

And glowing fall its presence hath announced.

Yet cooler air hath yet to come our way

While warmer days my body hath renounced.

Forsooth, what shall I do with such a coat

Grown thick in time for winter’s hoary blast?

Too soon to clip, in sweat I stay afloat

And long for cooler days to come at last.


For while warm days doth often bring me bliss

And in sun’s light I bask and graze with glee,

This errant heat I’m happy to dismiss ~

Tis winter’s fashions now I sport, you see.

Thus Mother Nature’s hot flash soon must end,

Else surely I’ll be driven ’round the bend.


Isn’t he a clever horse? 😉

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Summer Says Goodbye …

Well, not yet … not for another month, at least.

But with all the kids going back to school, and the daylight hours getting shorter, and the leaves already starting to change colour on some of the maples, one can be forgiven for lamenting the passage of summer.

I’ve seen a few bloggers remark on this already.

Here’s my two cents worth …

Continue reading

Beating the Heat …

It’s hot again.

Too hot to ride and too hot to think.

I sat down with the purpose of writing something inspiring and the muse is silent.

So let’s have a bath time pictorial instead!

As you might imagine, bathing a horse can be a wet business, especially when it’s this hot and I’m looking for a little relief myself. So, these images (except the first which is my own and taken just last week) are courtesy of my brother, James McDonall, who was visiting from Calgary six weeks ago and happy to view from the sidelines.

Stay cool … and nurture what you love.

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom


© Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

The Mud Hole

Holy mosquito splatter … it’s hot!

More to the point, it’s humid. Stinking humid. In fact, the kind of humidity that brings forth storms of bloodsucking predators intent upon stealing summer’s pleasant thunder.

An article in today’s newspaper strongly hinted at a particularly malevolent mosquito season too due to a confluence of a rainy spring and hot summer temperatures.

But my horse could have told you that.

This morning, following a short turn around the neighbourhood with my panting collies lumbering behind me and my chest seizing with damp discomfort, I made the decision to give Bear a day off.

You see, yesterday’s hot, unwitting struggle with Mother Nature’s intra-seasonal mood swing during a training session in which I nearly drowned in a pool of my own sweat, left me exhausted and unwilling to do a repeat performance today. And why put Bear through the stress of training in stifling conditions when it’s not absolutely necessary?

Laying low seemed the smart choice.

Bear and Sam

And it was.

When I arrived at the barn this morning Bear was happily standing, with his buddy, Sam, in the pouring rain helping himself to nature’s verdant buffet. I could have brought him in and struggled with the whole grooming ritual but instead I admired him, and his mucky fly repellent handiwork, from afar and filled his bucket with carrots.

Yesterday was quite a different story.


At 10:45 a.m. I arrived at the barn and the day was well into its sweltering unpleasantness. Due to a faltering alarm clock, I was already behind on my preparations for an 11:30 coaching, so I was in somewhat of a rush to get organized.

Working backwards from our lesson time, Bear and I needed 15 to 20 minutes to get the ol’ wheels greased before Coach arrived. This meant Bear needed to be groomed and tacked up by 11:10.

Although I am efficient I don’t like to rush the grooming process. This is when I happily merge into Barn Standard Time. Fortunately Coach is pretty relaxed about timing, so I don’t usually need to stress too much about being a few minutes late.

Still, I don’t like to keep him waiting.

Well, you know what they say about good intentions.

Innocently enough, I grabbed a lead rope and went to fetch Bear from his paddock.

The minute I arrived at the gate I knew my carefully planned routine was, on this occasion,  so much trash. Somehow I’d mysteriously forgotten the chaos a bit of rain, a pile of dirt and a swarm of stinging insects can cause.

What does any self-respecting horse do in the mosquito battle fray?

He stops, drops and rolls until he is thoroughly coated in a paste of mud that dries to an impenetrable protective crust.

Mud hole

At least impenetrable in the time I had allowed for spiffing him up.

In short, when I fetched Bear from the paddock, he was a walking mud pie.

There was mud in every orifice; between his legs; behind his ears; in his mane and tail. There was no way he was going to be spic and span in time for our coaching.

And if there’s one thing you need to understand about me it’s that I am a fiend about presentation.

I was taught from the beginning of my horsey education that being properly turned out, i.e. clean horse, clean tack, clean breeches, et al, demonstrates respect for my horse, myself and my instructor.

When I was coaching for a while, it irked me when a student brought their horse into a lesson with shavings or hay caught up in the tail or mane, or mud or grime of any kind still lingering on the coat. It demonstrated a lack of care or concern for the quality of their, and the horse’s experience.

Being one who likes to lead by example I am, therefore, attentive to Bear’s and my turnout at all times.

For instance, some might consider it obsessive, but Bear’s polo bandages always match the colour of whatever shirt I’m wearing. If we don’t have a match I either go neutral (white or black) with the shirt or neutral with the polos. I blame it on my brief stint as a fashion model and, okay, an obsession with being co-ordinated.

Still, with Bear looking like a mud monster, what was I to do?

I had to make do … one of the things I most despise in the whole world.

I remember, when I was a small child, a horrible man who used to do odd jobs for my grandmother. Terrible workmanship ~ tiles in the bathroom whose seams didn’t match, etc. ~ and granny overlooked it because she was simply grateful that he would do it. Consequently I dislike slip shod work ~ reminds me of predators who don’t care about the impact they have on people.

But that’s another story …

So perhaps this is one of the reasons I want my horse, and I, to always look presentable when we’re training. And perhaps this is why, on this day, I was provided an opportunity to learn to let go of this apparently manic need to control appearances.

With my supply of old towels at the barn for just such an “emergency,” I rubbed dry Bear’s saddle area. Then I grabbed a stiff-bristled dandy brush and removed whatever debris was dry on other areas of his body. Beyond that, and picking out his feet, it was hopeless to do anything else. His rump was amass in thick, wet mud that would just have to stay there and dry on its own while we trained.

(Sigh … )

In the meantime, I eased my pain by handsoming Bear up with a set of turquoise polo bandages which matched my shirt. Then, I let my obsession go. What other choice was there?

A liberal spraying of fly repellent was a poor substitute for the natural barrier Bear had so carefully devised for himself in the mud puddle, but it would have to do. We went out to the steamy sand ring and did our thing.

Coach’s response when I apologized for Bear’s lack lustre appearance was predictable.

“He’s a horse,” he said matter-of-factly. “He’ll dry.”

Which, of course, he did. And that’s when the mosquitos landed and engaged in their own blood buffet at my poor horse’s expense.

Afterwards I hosed Bear down, gently removing all the sweaty, mucky debris before rinsing him off with an anti-fungicide and spraying him again with repellant. All the while I was acutely aware that once loose in the paddock Bear would meander to the mud hole and take care of matters for himself.

As well he should.

In matters of mosquito management there’s little doubt that Bear knows best.

Still, with the pestilence predicted for our region this summer I don’t see myself going for a roll in the mud hole any time soon … or do I?

Hmmm …

Fly Repellant

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Oh Lord, the flies!!!!

Let’s state the obvious … it’s been a hotter than average summer. And drier. At the barn this means a smaller hay crop (boo!) and a larger crop of flies (double boo!)

Horse flies, barn flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, wasps … you get the picture … thrive in the uncomfortable conditions we’re experiencing. Horses and humans alike must endeavour to survive them.

The manager at the barn where Bear is a long-term resident has a pest control regimen, every day spraying a safe insecticide over mounds of horse manure (where the blighters like to breed). This is in an effort to put a crimp in their reproductive cycle. And it reduces the population somewhat, but not enough to knock them out completely. This leaves me wondering what it would be like if he didn’t spray at all!

Perish the thought!

One day a couple of weeks ago, as I was hand grazing Bear after bathing him, a massive horse fly the size of a silver dollar landed on the top of his rump. Bear could feel that sucker but no amount of tail swishing or foot stomping could dislodge the winged fiend. He became very agitated so it became my task to rescue him without, I might add, giving him anything else to be upset about.

It took a couple of strategically-placed swats, but I finally got the rascal and Bear, feeling greatly relieved, went back to grazing.

Occasionally the airborne blighters turn their radar on me. When pillaging horseflesh just isn’t enough they’ll sink their proverbial teeth into some soft part of my person and remove a nice bite-size chunk or syphon a ration of blood. Somehow they know I have no defences. Perhaps it’s payback for my shooing them away from Bear all the time. Somehow I wouldn’t put it past them.

But really, the defence against flies is limited at best.

There’s the aforementioned spray of the manure piles to curtail reproduction. A daily spray of citronella fly repellant all over Bear’s body can help to keep the pests at bay, and a fly mask keeps them out of his eyes. He usually doubles his defence with a generous roll in the dirt pile out in the paddock. Truthfully, his way is probably the most effective … and least expensive … but as his de facto mother I feel compelled to try at least to rescue him from the voracious fly population.

So, oh Lord, the flies, is right … and it doesn’t end until the wasps are finally dormant come the fall.

Oh well …

On a brighter note you may recall that about 10 weeks ago I had to have my other old cat, Princess, euthanized because of kidney disease. It was a sad time, to be sure. That, along with a family member’s attempted suicide, sent me reeling for a while, which is the reason for my limited creativity and extended break from blogging.

Well, a few days after returning from Calgary in early June I adopted two seven-week-old kittens, boys, who, along with their two sisters, had been abandoned in a card board box (why do people do this?) on the side of a major road not far from where I live. They’d been rescued by woman from a nearby barn and I found out about the kittens through my veterinarian’s office.

Their names are Jasper (Jj) and Indiana Jones (Indy) and already they’ve brought so much joy into my life. A lovely animated distraction during a difficult time, they’ve really settled right in and become part of the family. They adore the collies and greet us at the door just as if they themselves were dogs. They’re so funny.

Jasper and Indiana Jones … two welcome additions to our home …

They are one little part of a welcome silver lining and I feel incredibly blessed.

Thanks for visiting.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises, 2012