Who Stand and Wait

Work: PM heat therapy & back massage/EVE groom.
Report: I usually rub his back for a few minutes after each heating session. Today, I got carried away. It’s a nice, nonconfrontational activity with a near-guaranteed positive outcome.

Ramblings: Despite my bragging yesterday, in truth I haven’t done much equine volunteering in a while. I used to feed at the local riding for the handicapped until I realized that I was doing other folks’s stalls after carefully arranging my own barn life not to include any. Last time I checked, I was still on their list as a back-up feeder but they haven’t called in years. Around me, local shows are run by the host barns, which have their own people. There are no local events. Regional competitions are getting more professionally run every year. It’s been a while since Judy and Mickey said, ‘Hey kids, let’s put on a show’. As the commentators yesterday demonstrated, events at any level still run on volunteer fence judges. However, if I am going to use up a weekend, travel to an event, and spend money on a hotel room, I’m going to have a horse in tow. Or be covering it for a magazine. Either way, money is going to change hands. Okay, I used to travel to Kentucky to volunteer at Rolex, but that’s Kentucky. And Rolex.

In terms of wider life experience, less horse volunteer work has meant learning more about other realms. I would never have had time for the fire department or the zoo in a more horse-dense area. But, it has left me hopelessly out of touch within the local horse community. In another life, in another state, I knew or knew of everyone. Now, entire barns spring up of which I have never heard. It’s disconcerting.

Stall cleaning. Traveling. What are you willing to do to volunteer with horses?

They Also Serve

The patch from my volunteer jacket.
Work: day off.

Ramblings: Wednesday is my volunteer day. I spend a few hours in an aviary keeping the birds from attacking the people and vice versa. Since winter isn’t busy, I had time to ponder why people volunteer.

In the horse world, I’ve volunteered the gamut from USPC District Commissioner to WEG Fence Judge [Rome 1998]. I’ve set courses by headlight and been buffaloed by the geometries of dressage arenas in two states. My answer is – to stay busy. For example, I volunteered for WEG 2010 but they only needed me for crowd control on cross-country day. I had the rest of the week to wander about, shop, and watch. It was hell. There wasn’t enough to keep my inner Border Collie amused.

Put a clipboard in my hand and tell me to run a warm-up ring for the day. I might end up dusty, exhausted, and voiceless, but at least I won’t be bored.

What volunteering have you done & why?

Let Me Count The Ways

Work plan: as usual – heat therapy, walk, groom, perhaps groundwork if I don’t run out of day.
Report: Wanted to get my V-day message out early.

Ramblings for the Day: Keep your flowers and candy. My wonderful, terrific husband will

Medicate Rodney twice a day.
CarrY buckets of hot water out to the barn in cold weather.

Cook meals on a camp stoVe at a horse show.
Listen to all my horse-related Angst.
Load hay at the feed store & unload it at home.
Feed in the Evenings.
Drive with me to the Next state to look at a horse.
Shop for & vet my next Truck.
BuIld jumps.
Be my grouNd person
Refence the Entire pasture.

I am one lucky lady.

What does your valentine do for you – that can be shared on a public forum?

Barn Dogs

Work: AM heat therapy/EVE brief dust-off during blanket swap.
Report: Too cold to stay outside for anything else. I’ve become such a weather weenie, you’d never guess I went to school in New Hampshire.

Ramblings: I am a cat person. It is only with great restraint that I do not tip over into Crazy Cat Lady. My morning feeding routine used to include time with my fluffy wannabe* barn cat Arthur. He would sit on my lap to engage in mutual contemplation of his vast wonderfulness. Even more than most cats, Arthur lives in an Arthur-shaped universe. This would last until Rodney came over. (Mostly he wants to go eat the mare’s food. But as long as he’s waiting, I can make with the skratchies.) This chased the cat off. Apparently an extreme size differential skews the predator/prey equation.

I am not a dog person. Although Greg did not come with dog, he came advertised as a card-carrying dog person. So, I have been living with 1 to 3 dogs since the early 90s. His newest dog has decided that I am the source of all joy and light. She must be near me. This includes sitting in my lap when stressed, which is quite a trick for a 75lb German Shepherd. She is sitting under my desk, at my feet, doing the loyal dog thing as I type this. Where I go, she goes, including the barn. In addition, our seriously senior Lab-cross has decided that if this interloper is going to be a barn dog, he must now be one as well, and wobbles out to the barn with us. So, every time I go outside, the cat lover is surrounded by a dog pack. The cats head for the high ground. Sigh.

*Arthur’s barn-catness is weather dependent. A true B.C. has to be forcibly hauled inside during bad weather.

Who are your barn dogs?

The Weather Outside Is Frightful (for us)

Work: short walk, groom.
Report: cold & windy. I was for giving the whole thing a miss, discretion being the better part of valor, but Greg insisted on a company walk. It went as well as could be expected in this weather. Rodney was on his toes but not a turkey about it. Which is why I took the mare.

Ramblings for the Day: At least Rodney is not a troll.

Yesterday evening, Greg misunderstood the weather forecast and blanketed for a night that was 15o colder. Whereupon, Rodney got a dopey look on his face and fell into a warmth coma. The way you would feel after spending a day outside, coming inside, changing into dry jammies, and diving into a mug of hot soup. Mmmmmm. Apparently, Rodney was cold yesterday, which may have contributed to his mood. The irony is that I thought I was keeping him warm. I left his night blanket on until therapy time and walked him in his wool cooler. I am slowly getting the message that he really, really likes to be warm.

Greg also reminded me that when we tried him, it was high summer. The first day of the clinic was one of those agonizingly hot days when horse and rider both question why they are at the barn rather than lying quietly in a cool, shady place, swishing their tails. Rodney was a star that day.

I have a friend in Colorado who can’t believe I blanket my horses at all, given our average daily temperature. I can’t imagine what she would say about a horse sporting a wool cooler at 53o and sunny. No, he is not clipped. In his defense, weak though it might be, he has a thin, TB coat.

In Terry Pratchett‘s Discworld, trolls are a civilized race – in cool weather. As the temperature goes up, the silicon in their brains heats up, and their thoughts slow down. As the temperature goes up, Rodney becomes quite civilized. In cold weather, his mind might as well be made of stone, a particularly micaceous, i.e. flaky, form of stone.

Pffft!

Work: AM heat therapy & walk/PM groom. Probably. Eventually. Maybe.
Report: 3 laps similar to yesterday. The middle lap was slightly bigger & therefore closer to the ring. This did not escape his notice. Halfway thru the 3rd – smaller – lap, he squealed and pulled back. Catching me by surprise, he pulled away and ran off. Despite a touch of bucking and galloping, it was minor as come-aparts go, a panic attacklette, if you will. Therefore, I only went into a minor tailspin, a spinette, IYW.

Ramblings for the Day: Why do I bother with this horse? With this blog? With anything? Okay, maybe the tailspin wasn’t so minor.

What does your horse do that puts you totally out of patience?