One of the things I have learned to appreciate about living in the country is the silence.

When I was a city dweller the silence was deafening. Going where there was no noise used to unnerve me, so I would have something … even if just a wind-up clock with its metronome tick-tick-tick … in my room to break the silence.

Since we’ve moved to the country it’s quite different. I cherish the silence. In fact, it’s the constant white noise and buzz of the city that unnerves me now.

Against the backdrop of silence we can hear the snow crackle; the coyotes howl; the woodpeckers peck; the horses whinny.

It’s been a great environment in which to heal my adrenal fatigue and nervous system.

I love the sound of silence.

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom


©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence


With The Good The …



It’s a new year. Lots of good things to look forward to in terms of personal growth and development.

And yet, there are trials, too.

Bear is still not completely sound. The right hind continues to be problematic. Kind of like me with my stiff right hip that gradually loosens as I stretch and use it, he’s a bit wobbly in the trot when we get started but gradually pulls through. Early last week it was much better. Then later in the week it was worse.

I just don’t get it.

Stefan says to get a proper diagnosis. No more guess work. We need to know exactly what we’re dealing with. And he’s right, of course.

Yes, the chiropractic helps. Yes, the massages help. Yes, the dental work made a difference. But obviously something else is going on that we need to fathom.

It’s not that Bear’s in a great deal of pain. If he was he wouldn’t be so willing to work. As I mentioned in my last post he’s all soft-eyed and floppy-eared in the going; attentive and willing to put his best foot forward. He wants to work, it’s just that for some reason he’s struggling right now.

So, this week more consultations with the vet.

Since it’s -12C with -20C windchill for most of the week he’ll be getting lots of time off. Perhaps that’s the answer. I don’t know.

Still, one way or the other we’ll find out what’s going on. In the meantime I’ll just keep my heart and mind open and take each day as it comes.

Spoil the boy rotten with carrots, of course, and with those mini peppermint candy canes he took such a shine to over Christmas. In moderation … of course.

I guess a trip to the bulk store is in order. 😉

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015



Bear’s Winter Blahs

Spring is just three weeks away but you wouldn’t know it to look out the window or gaze at the forecast. Winter still blows at full blast.

At the barn everyone ~ horse and human alike ~ is bored with it. And I know I’ve never had so much time out of the saddle during the winter months as I’ve had this season. It’s just been so cold.

And, too cold to get out the serious camera.

So, in the last few days I’ve attempted to capture, with my iPhone, some of Bear’s winter blahs.

Presented herewith.

Commentary in Shakespeare’s own words … of course. 😉



The breath of winter hath the season chilled.



And yet, somehow, remaineth I so cool.


Alone Again

Zu Zu away, alone I am not thrilled.


Digging In

But bury nose in bucket ~ I’m no fool.



For carrots glow there as a blazing sun,



And with a splendid view my heart might sing.



Yet bored, am I, when all is said and done.



The grass is yet not green. When cometh Spring?


So dramatic. 😉

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Introducing Zu Zu …

Rather than bore you with yet another rant about how miffed I am about yet another dumping of snow interfering with my precious barn time, I thought I’d introduce you to Bear’s new girlfriend. Rather appropriate, don’t you think, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner.

A couple of days ago, when it was finally warm enough to pull out the good camera, I captured a few images of the happy couple out in the rolling paddock behind the barn.

Bear and Zu Zu

They were hanging out by the far fence line, so I called to Bear. He turned his head to acknowledged me and, naturally, when he did, she did.

Zu leads

After a few moments hesitation, where it looked as if it they were discussing whether or not it was worth their while to interrupt their mutual meditation Zu Zu, it seems to me, decided it would be appropriate to make the trek across the snow for a visit. Or, possibly, Bear indicated to her he wanted to see his mom and nudged her along. At any rate, you can see that he’s quite the gentleman allowing Zu to take the lead. Or did she, the alpha mare that she is, just take the lead and he followed? Hmmmm … this is open to debate.

Bear follows

Either way, they trudged happily together through the snow to the gate and, as any gentleman would, Bear stood back to allow his beauty to star in her very own picture.

Zu Zu

Zu Zu is a rising four-year-old mare of the Canadian breed.  She is much smaller than Bear, but what she lacks in stature she more than makes up in attitude. She is the boss and has wrapped herself around Bear’s heart.

And mine. 😉

Nurture what you love  …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom


©Dorothy Chiotti, All Rights Reserved 2014

Time Out

Bear, snuggly in his winter blanket, hangs out in his warm stall with ample hay.

Bear in his lair

With -20C wind chill it’s simply too cold to ride, so Bear and I are on a time out.

In fact, it’s been a week since we last worked and it’s going to be at least three more days until we do.

Frustrating ~ especially since after our first two sessions with the new coach we’re already showing some progress.

I guess all there is to do is ruminate on the lessons learned and be ready to put them into play when the temperature gets more palatable.

[Sigh …]

My new mantra?

“Effort without tension; relaxation without collapse.”

Nurture what you love,

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom


©Dorothy Chiotti, All Rights Reserved 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

A Chapter Ends; Another Begins

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

It’s January 1 and today is traditionally the day when millions of people all over the world set down appropriate (and some inappropriate) resolutions and goals for the year to come.

Have you set yours? If so, something wonderful, I hope. Something that takes you toward a bigger dream and helps you to realize your heart’s desire.

For this is what I have done.

Yesterday, I closed a chapter on my life, and began another.

I could almost feel the page turn as I loaded Bear onto the trailer and drove the 10 minutes to his new home.

Our world is expanding. I’m a step closer to my dressage dreams. I’m getting a peek at our potential and we haven’t even had a lesson with our new coach yet! It’s so exciting!!!

And perhaps Bear can sense it too. He was such a good boy throughout the entire shipping process. (My thanks to Rick Lehman for his calm and gentle manner with my horse).

At the new barn, after an initial survey of his new stall and a little snorting and blowing at the unfamiliar pelleted bedding, Bear settled right in. No drama or hysteria. He immediately felt at home.

I groomed and fussed over him as I would normally so the routine felt familiar, and he was his usual sociable self.

The barn manager made us both welcome and has been most supportive and accommodating as I’ve made the transition during the past couple of weeks.

When I could finally pull myself away and leave Bear to acclimate to his new digs on his own, I felt totally happy and at peace with my decision to move him.

And then, last evening while I was hunkered down to celebrate new years by myself (my social life has been non-existent this Christmas due to the adrenal fatigue) I received this lovely note by FB message:

BEAR says hi Mom!

I ate all of my dinner and licked my bowl clean. I really enjoyed the beet pulp. I slurped it and slurped it.

I’ve been meeting my new friends and introducing myself. Some have really funny names and hard to pronounce … what does ZU ZU sound like

Love you


Well, I’m sure you can imagine how thrilled I was to receive this thoughtful note. 🙂

And another:

Those people just came and fed us all again!!

I’m going to eat my late dinner and call it a night

It’s cold outside but snuggly and warm in here so I feel like I’m all set for a good night’s sleep

Gnight mom



We’re home … 🙂

Happy New Year … and may you realize your heart’s desire.

Nurture what you love …

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 …

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

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