Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sleepy Morning

So sleepy was the morning that even the sun hung low beneath the tree tops. Not a bird sang, and even the roosters crowed with less vigor than normal. Spider webs laden with morning dew gave the lawn the look of a patchwork quilt. Saturday was slow crawling from his glider on the porch to gather with Tigger, Miss Kitty and I for Coffee with Kessy, who laid stretched out on her side, snoring. Now I must admit I was 15 minutes early, but come on folks, it's time to get with it. Don't they know it's Friday? Holy Cow!

Ravishin', Robbie and I are off for a day in Charlottesville today, and we gotta hit the road, but I've added a new twist to feeding Kessy, at least for a while. We take her grain and feed tub up to the trailer and my coffee too, and she must come in to eat. Which she does after a few moments of protest. We are making a little progress there, but it'll be a while yet.

Tomorrow too we'll be on the road bright and early, heading to Fincastle for a Diane J. Sept clinic at Marianne Kephart Jolley's … Can't wait to see everybody!

HAPPY FRIDAY everybody and have a fun weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Her First Horse

This little story was inspired by my conversations with Linda Tellington-Jones. I just felt like posting something special today … 
The Move

Her only thought as she ran through the tall, wet grass was how huge her world now seemed. Holding her faded blue gingham dress high in one hand, a pinwheel spinning madly in the other, galloping as fast as her eight year old legs could manage she ran until 
breathless, then collapsed in the soggy sea of green. The wet grass stung her bare feet with a thousand tiny daggers of cold, but her mind raced on with hundreds of imaginary things a girl could do with all the space of a wide open world.

Only a week before her life had been confined to the world of city life where the only green was in patches called yards. The only trees struggled to reach for the sun between buildings. The only animals were dogs on leashes and cats behind windows. Until this moment she hadn't even realized how wrong that was for her. Somehow though her father knew. He always seemed to know the really important things.

The evening her mother and father announced they would be moving to a farm in the country, near a town called Sunnyvale, Patty was confused. She wasn't at all convinced country life was for her. Oh sure the family had driven through the country all the time, their hometown of Edgewood after all was not a huge city and to get anywhere from anywhere you had to drive through the country. But that's just exactly what the country had seemed to be, something you drove through to get where you were going. Not a place to call home.

The family hadn't talked too much about the move, at least not that Patty remembered, but the drives to the country to what turned out to be their new home, had begun to give Patty a different feeling. She was not able to understand why each time they returned to their house in Edgewood, from the farm they did not yet call home, she felt more and more as if they were visiting the city house, and leaving behind their real house in the country. She also began to notice more things in the country, the big fields of corn, and grass, magnificent trees, cows, sheep and horses. She decided almost immediately that horses were the most beautiful thing in the world.

Lying on her back in the cold wet grass on top of the hill, she held her pinwheel high into the breeze. Her brand new girlfriend Elizabeth had given her the pinwheel as a welcome present on her first day to the new school. Silver with red stripes, it looked like a whirling flower of sparkling red when it spun round and round. The school was a long walk from home. Over two miles along a dirt road and a path around a big lake that had a lot of ducks on it. Her father had told her to be careful of the snapping turtles, when he and mother walked her to school the first day, but each day she looked and never saw one. The school sat just off the lake and the boys were allowed to fish at recess on Fridays.

She decided she liked her new school. Everybody was in the same room from her own first grade class all the way up to grade twelve. Sixteen of them all together in one room and Mrs. Brown, the teacher, too. Mrs. Brown's big old desk sat directly in front of the blackboard, it was the biggest desk Linda had ever seen. There was a small woodstove along the one wall near the big window. It was the older boys' job to keep the woodbox full. The first graders had to clap the erasers and sweep the front porch each day. The other children each had jobs too and everyone was expected to have their chores complete by the time Mrs. Brown rang the bell at 8:05 each morning.

Today was Saturday and there would be no school for two days. Two days to explore the farm, after their chores of course. The chores! She could hear her father in the big barn with the hogs. 

It must be near dinner time if father was feeding the hogs. She had a big plan about tonight's dinner so she had better be on time. Her legs flew through the wet grass, the pinwheel whistled in the air, but she was able to dash into the barnyard before her father was finished.

"That's some mighty fine running, Patty," he greeted her at the gate with a smile and an outstretched hand holding three brown eggs.

"I'll carry them father," Patty tucked the pinwheel under her arm, and held out both hands. "Where did you find them, on the seat of that old wagon again?"

"Same place as yesterday. Must be more than one hen laying in that nest." Carefully he laid the eggs in her hands, picked up his buckets and side by side they walked the winding dirt path to the house.

Linda waited for just the right time at dinner to ask her question. The big question she'd been hanging onto all day. The big question that made her lose track of time. Seemed like a great time now that father had finished telling them he'd heard from the neighbor that the price of hogs should be real good in another month.

So, she smiled at mother, sister and then father. She left her gaze settle on his kind, unsuspecting eyes.

"Father, I love our new school and my teacher, Mrs. Brown. And of course all the children. Even the old ones, the ones in the big grades. Did you know most of the children have horses and ponies to ride to school? And you know what?" 

Her father swallowed and made a show of paying attention to only her, "What's that?"

"Well, it's just that some of them even live closer to the school house than we do, and they have ponies or horses." She studied his face and caught him give a sly wink to mother and her sister.

"You don't say." He folded his hands and winked again at mother.

Linda felt her heart race. "Yes, and Timothy said his father has a horse named Sunshine that no one is riding and we could get her really, really cheap."
Hope you enjoyed this sweet story …. Have a wonderful day, and thank you for being friends! ~ Dutch

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mustang Monument

My story of Madeleine Pickens and Mustang Monument is in the August issue of Trail Blazer on page 72. Madeleine has long been known as an animal advocate. After hurricane Katrina she chartered commercial airliners from New Orleans to California specifically for the abandoned dogs and cats of the storm. They called this mission, "Orphans of the Storm." Later many of these were returned to their rightful masters.

It was through her work saving animals and speaking out for them, that she found out about the horse slaughter industry. She was amazed and disheartened that, as involved as she was in the horse racing community, it took her so long to discover the fact that such a thing existed in this country. She and her husband became actively involved in helping to put an end to horse slaughter in the United States. It was about that time that she became aware of the capture and removal of the American Mustang. She was just as surprised and dismayed that she had not known of their battle to survive.

My story tells of Madeleine's plans, personal investments of over 12 million dollars, and 5 year determined struggle to create a sanctuary for some of America's Mustangs now standing lost in hateful BLM holding pens. One big question torments her, "How did we reach the point that the noble Mustang is considered a feral nuisance that must be removed?"

To read my story if you are not a subscriber to Trail Blazer please follow this link, then page to Page 72. Please read their story …. And as you page through the beautiful award winning magazine, please consider subscribing.

Thank you Trail Blazer for allowing me this platform in your beautiful magazine to tell the stories of "People & Horses Helping Horses & People." Thank you Bobbie Jo Lieberman for being such a wonderful editor and friend! ...

Afternoon friends!! … Sorry I'm late today, but I had an important appointment this morning. I needed to leave just after Coffee Clutch, which was a perfectly cozy clutch today. The chickens scampering about scratching here and there, well after they woke up, Tigger purring on my lap, Saturday stretched out alongside my chair, and Kessy munching her soft hay.

The woods this morning were full of bird song. I think they were loving the crisp cool morning after yesterday's heavy rains. Seemed everyone wanted to be part of the tree top choir today. Several Cardinals were lead singers while Chipping Sparrows, a Towhee, a few Phoebes, Chickadees and an Ovenbird sang backup. Beautiful music to sip coffee in the barn to. But we had to depart before the final act.

The grass was still wet and cold as hooked up Kessy's trailer. Today was the day I was finally getting it inspected. YeeHa! It's a sturdy 2 horse, built in '86, and in great shape, needed inspection and a thorough going over as it had sat a while before I got it. We were scheduled to get it road worthy last month, but Kessy's Lyme treatment used up our budget!

I'm happy to report all repairs came in on budget. Needed brake work, a little wiring and bearings repacked, 2 of which needed replaced. Floor great, spring shackles all sound, and of course all the lights work now .. I've always been an advocate of having horse trailer bearings repacked once a year. Even the newer trailers. But happily we are ready to roll! Almost. Still need to replace the tires, while they have plenty of tread, they are very old and not safe for any kind of distance. But we can do short easy trips, and now we can get back to Kessy's trailer loading and traveling education. I had told her all about it at coffee this morning. I'm not sure she cared or not?

Kessy and I are headed out to play with her trailer a bit, loading and unloading, and perhaps even take a short ride. It's a beautiful afternoon here today, and we'll have a lot of fun with it!

Have a great evening!