I got invited to a super fun barn Christmas party on Thursday night. It was a house full of horse people of all ages and all disciplines. We drank hot cocoa, made homemade horse treats, and talked about horses. It was perfect!
The horse treats were surprisingly easy to make. The hostess printed several recipes from the internet and provided all the ingredients. I ended up making my own recipe and I didn’t measure anything, I just threw it all in a bowl until the consistency looked right. Here’s an estimation of what I did:
1 cup of oats
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3 0r 4 apples, chopped up in a food processor or finely chopped
1/2 cup of flour
enough molasses to make it all stick together
Mix it all together and roll it into balls. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. If you want, place a peppermint candy in the center before baking.
I haven’t given them to Baron yet; he will get them today. I’ll let you know if they get the ears pricked or ears pinned!
Also, for Christmas I want Baron to look like this…
So my trainer has taken up residence at a barn down the road with a lovely new arena. The road between our two barns is a semi-quiet residential road with houses and neighborhoods on both sides. This weekend I hand walked Baron down the road to check out the new barn. My kids were with me, so my trainer drove my car with the kids in their carseats while I walked Baron. It’s a 10 minute walk and my hope is to one day be able to ride Baron there and back. I’m going to keep hand walking him until he gets used to it. He was actually a rockstar about the whole thing. He had many chances to spook and flip out (dogs, motorcycles, people slowing down and opening up the car door to gawk at him), but he was a champ and walked calmly beside me the whole way.
Once we were at the other barn, my trainer rode Baron for a little while. My 3 year old daughter met two little girls and their ponies, and said she wanted to ride ponies like the big girls (YES!). I didn’t ride because I had to keep an eye on the kiddos. I would classify it as a successful day even though I didn’t ride!
Slow and Steady Smiler did a post a while back about how less than optimal boarding facilities won’t keep you from progressing if you’re determined enough. Just because you don’t have an indoor arena and a high class set-up doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your horse and even progress in your riding. I can say this from experience. I have been at both ends of the boarding spectrum and I have to say I prefer the self-care situation. With Baron back at a self-care, limited facility barn, I am so much happier simply because I see him EVERY day, rain or shine, bad mood or good mood, busy or not busy. I like seeing him every day, even if it means giving up the indoor.
I rode for the first time at my new barn. I rode first in the little arena, just some walk/trot, get the stiffness out kind of work. Then we rode down a side road with long stretches of grass on both sides. We walked or trotted one direction, then cantered back the other way. Baron’s canter is still very “excited.” It’s like riding a race car. I can feel him wanting to accelerate and I have to remind him that he has a passenger that prefers to go slow. We cantered until he settled down and gave me a nice, rhythmic gait.
He really is a joy to ride. He has so much energy and athleticism. It still amazes me that such a powerful animal allows himself to be ridden. What an amazing sport we have, because it’s a partnership as well as an athletic endeavor. It’s good to be a horse person!
I love horse names. When I was a kid, I used to daydream about what I would name a pony if I ever got one. (I finally did, when I was 29.) I also used to imagine having a barn full of different colored horses with exotic names. Some of my favorites were:
Malabar- for a grey mare
Minka- for a black mare
Valerian- for a grey gelding
Ceylon- for a black gelding, like Ceylon tea
Egypt – for a chesnut mare, like the reddish yellow sand in the desert
I love horses named after cocktails. If I had a grey, I would probably show him as White Russian. I like that it evokes the Russians who sided with the Czar against the Communists. Other cute cocktail inspired horse names are:
Kahlua- cute for a bay
Bellini- I think that would be cute for a pony, although perhaps inappropriate!
Merlot- cute for a blood bay
I also love historical horse names. Baron’s show name is Queen Anne’s Revenge, after Blackbeard’s pirate ship. I grew up on Hatteras Island, NC, one of Blackbeard’s old haunts. Some other historically inspired names are:
Boleyn- like Anne Boleyn, for a gelding. This is what I almost named Baron.
Lady Jane Grey- for a grey mare. She was Queen of England for nine days before being beheaded. Maybe not such a good association!
In an ironic twist of fate, I moved Baron back to the barn he was originally at, the one I left because it didn’t have an arena. You may remember it was owned by an older, somewhat grumpy man named Jack. Jack has since gone to an assisted living home because he was having trouble getting around. His adult children have decided to keep the barn going and they have made a lot of improvements. Jack never liked change, and he never wanted to clean up any of the junk he had accumulated over the years. Now that his kids are in charge, they have cleaned up the junk and made the place much more appealing to boarders. It isn’t the Ritz by any means, but it’s much better than it was.
Best of all, there is a small arena with nice footing. It’s probably a little smaller than a small dressage arena, so not huge, but big enough for me to trot and canter. There are still miles of trails behind the barn as well.
In other interesting news, my trainer left my old barn as well. She is now teaching at a barn within walking distance of mine, so I can ride Baron down there and take lessons in their bigger arena. I can’t really afford it right now, but I have the option in the future.
I didn’t realize how much I missed Baron until now. I have so enjoyed seeing him every day and being responsible for feeding, blanketing and his daily needs. Half the enjoyment of horse ownership for me is the day to day care. I am so glad to have him back near me!