I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating ~ when in the middle of a significant life experience I tend not to disturb the process by writing about it. A play-by-play of my life (with horses) is not the purpose of this blog. Rather, I prefer to review things after the dust has settled … and muse.

One of the things I’ve observed lately is the amount of change going on around me. So much change, for so many, all in the same window of time.

This is true in my life also. In many ways it has been a summer of positive personal upheaval. I feel blessed and grateful and, perhaps, slightly overwhelmed by the incredible journey that lies ahead. However, I trust the path to which my husband and I have been guided because of all the signs along the way that have pointed us in this new direction. I also take lots of deep breaths and endeavour to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. I feel like I’m stepping into my purpose. My comfort zone expanding in momentarily uncomfortable, but important, ways that will define a new way of being as I go forward.

A quick-ish update …

Mi scusi … mi piacerebbe un bicchiere d’acqua … (Excuse me … I’d like a drink of water …)

It’s been five weeks since Sophi (aka Sophia Loren) sashayed into the barn for the first time and turned our lives upside down. She’s a starlet in her own mind … and she knows her own mind.

For instance, it wasn’t by accident I learned she loves to play with the water nozzle when being bathed. She told me. I was  hosing her down after our first training session, spraying cool water at her chest, when she started dipping and bobbing her head up and down trying to reach for the nozzle. I got the hint and pointed the gentle spray at her lips, whereupon she grabbed the nozzle and drank from it as it if were a straw. This went on for about a minute. It was a hot day and she was thirsty, and what struck me immediately is that she knew how to take care of herself.

Then, as I rinsed her off with a bucket of diluted anti-fungal liniment she kept reaching around as if she wanted to drink from it. I cautioned her and yet she persisted. She wanted to drink from the bucket as well. So, I stopped what I was doing, grabbed her little red bucket and promptly filled it with water. When I offered it to her she emptied the bucket almost to the bottom and then grabbed the edge nearest her and attempted to throw what was left in my direction. I guess she figured I needed cooling off, too.

As you might imagine, she has trained me well and this is now part of our daily ritual (as long as the weather stays reasonably warm.)

Non puoi fare nulla di queste mosche? (Can’t you do anything about these flies?)

Another pet peeve for our resident Italianate prima donna is the surfeit of biting flies. This I discovered the hard way when I was bringing her in from the paddock one day soon after she arrived.

It was one of those hot, humid, sticky days and the flies, as annoying as any paparazzi, were swarming and stinging. In her distress Ms. Sophi bumped the metal gate as I was leading her out of the paddock. The gate, in turn, bumped hard into the bridge of my nose. (Expletive!) After I let go of the lead rope she ran back into the paddock leaving me stomping and wandering around the path to the gate in an excruciating daze and feeling my nose to ensure it wasn’t broken. Having established it was still in one piece, I was able to pull myself together and make a second attempt at bringing in my stomping starlet.

Once she was safely in her stall I grabbed an ice pack from the freezer and spent much of the afternoon and evening with it perched on my nose. A visit to the chiropractor on my way home helped, too. Perhaps it was this that saved my face from extensive bruising. I was lucky. A few inches lower and the gate would have knocked out my front teeth!

It wasn’t Sophi’s fault. I was distracted by the flies as well and ought to have been paying keener attention. Since then I’ve been careful to ensure Sophi’s turned out damp after bathing her so she can roll in her favourite dirt spot and create her own fly defence. I must take care of my little starlet … and my nose. 😉





The lady doth protest too much, methinks …

Meanwhile, Bear (aka Shakespeare), a one-horse-show for the past nine years until Miss Sophi entered and took centre stage, has made it clear he will play second fiddle to no one.

Sophi and Bear were originally turned out in adjacent paddocks. This had to stop day one when I made the mistake of attempting to bring Sophi into the barn first. Witnessing my error in judgement from his paddock gate next door, Bear went all medieval, bucking and leaping as if I had slighted him in the worst way possible. Naturally, I was concerned that he would re-injure that healing hind suspensory ligament, so I had to abandon my original plan and bring him in first.

Who says horses don’t get jealous?

To alleviate this being a “thing” every time I want to bring one of them in, they are separated by at least one other paddock, this way neither is any the wiser when I bring the other in.

If they’re in the barn at the same time I am careful to ensure they receive equal treat distribution. However, there is one ritual I’ve reserved for Bear alone.

Banana time is his thing. Sophi can have everything else ~ Bear shares his carrots, his apples (yes, he’s been weaned back onto apples), his crunchy treats, his fly spray. He even, in a fit of pique one night, remodelled his fly mask for her. But I have promised him that he will never have to share his banana.

He’s good with that.

Back in the saddle

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ”

William Shakespeare (Henry V)

Riding Sophi has proven to be a revelation.

She is everything I hoped for in a new dressage partner. She’s finely trained; forward and forgiving. My coach says we’re a good match. We still have a long way to go to find our synchronicity, but the foundation is already there. Every time we work together, on the ground and under saddle, our connection and understanding improve. Sophi moves correctly which has underscored my own lack of alignment. Now I’m on a mission ~ through massage, chiropractic, Pilates and conscious awareness ~ to re-align my hips toward straightness so she and I can work correctly together. A tall order at this age and stage of my life, perhaps, but I’ll do my best.

Meanwhile, my intention for Bear is to put the saddle on and take him out for micro hacks. Five minutes to begin and gradually working our way to longer outings. I’ve come to this decision because ever since Sophi’s arrival Bear’s showing me he wants to do more than just hand walk. It’s as if he’s trying to prove to me that he’s quite capable of doing much more than my imagination will allow. So, soon I will take him out for that first short, slow spin. We’ll both enjoy that.

Moving On

BuildingsAnd so, a few final words on change.

We have spent the summer preparing to move the horses to a new farm, which is part of the reason my posts have been so sparse of late. Energy can only be divided so many ways.

The move finally took placed September 10, and I’ll have plenty to say about that in my next post which, I hope, will be more timely.

Last, but certainly not least on the subject of change, we find ourselves moving on to this next chapter in our lives one dog short.

A couple of posts ago I mentioned our old collie, Sass, was on her last legs. Well, on August 14 we finally had to let her go. She was failing. Her quality of life much compromised by the ravages of old age. At 13 years she’d lived a long and happy life, and we wanted to remember her that way. So, with heavy hearts we released our dear Sass, knowing it would be the last act of kindness we’d ever do for her.

Sassy was our sweet girlie and we miss her terribly. Autumn's GirlVisit my blog Eyes to Heart for a short tribute.

So, as another chapter closes it’s time to contemplate and move on to the next. A lot of change lends itself to a lot of musing.

It was ever thus.

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti 2015

When Shakespeare Met Sophia Loren

Whoa baby!


Shakespeare: Who through yonder stable door doth pass this beauteous summer’s eve?

Sophia Loren: Buona sera, bello.

Shakespeare: More glorious a sight mine eyes hath never beheld!

Sophia Loren:  Dire qualcosa di poetico a me, Shakespeare.

Shakespeare: Fair maiden doth know my name!!!! How knowest she that I am a Muse of poetry?

Sophia Loren: Sembra che io vivrò nella stalla di fronte a voi.

Shakespeare: Be still my heart … she’s to live in the stall across from me. My knees are as jelly. I shall accomplish nothing.

Sophia Loren: Dire qualcosa di dolce per me, Shakespeare, per favore.

Shakespeare: She desireth poetry. O, resist, thou besotted fool! Resist! Alas, I cannot. Her wish is my command! … “Dearest Sophia, thine eyes are the pools of love in which my Scribe doth dip her pen.”

Sophia Loren: Oh, così bello, il mio amore. Penso che stare qui con te per sempre.

Shakespeare: Oh, how I have pleased her!! Sophia hath declared her eternal devotion to me.

Sophia Loren: Mi scusi, cara Shakespeare, ma come si fa a capire quello che sto dicendo a voi?

Shakespeare: She wonders at my language prowess. “O fair maiden, once thou hast wrapped the Scribe around thy dainty hoof all things are possible. In fairness, the Google Translator doth serve rather well.”

Sophia Loren:  Capisco completamente. Cura di unirsi a me per una carota?

Shakespeare: Oh, how the wheel of love doth spin! She shareth with me a fondness for orange root vegetables! … A carrot! A carrot! My kingdom for a carrot! … “Make haste, dearest Scribe, and render unto me and my fair maiden the source of our mutual affection!”

Sophia Loren: Grazie, bello Shakespeare.

Shakespeare: Neigh! Thank you!

Scribe: Oh, brother …


See what I’m up against now? The creative Muse gone wild!!!

Remember that silver lining I mentioned months ago in the depths of winter after the sad diagnosis of Bear’s career-ending suspensory ligament injury?

Well, after the better part of seven months searching for my next dressage partner here she is … Sophia Loren (Sophi) ~ a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare by Schwarzenegger out of Alwine.

Sophia Loren

Sophi arrived Wednesday, July 22, and has proven to be as much a character as my boy, Shakespeare. Not only does she share his good looks (in a supremely girly way), she has demonstrated a flare for the flamboyant gesture as well. When I bathe her (it’s been really hot the past few days) she drinks straight from the hose and demands … yes, demands … some play time with water in the little red bucket I bought especially for her. She loves all treats and is as adept at getting what she wants as any Hollywood starlet. And yet, she’s so classy about it. So, Sophia Loren.


So, the search is over and I find myself with two larger-than-life equine personalities named after a bard and an actress. I dare say we will be in for the occasional animated dialogue.

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom

Bear and Sophi sitting up a tree … 😉

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

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

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