Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘horses

Sale On

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What’d I tell you? That girl doesn’t do things halfway. In a single day, Cyndie transformed our barn into a spectacular equine boutique. Then she fled town and left me to handle the first two customer appointments on my own.

There is a conference of some sort in Dallas that has been on her calendar for some time, but she found a way to do a couple of weeks worth of work in two days before leaving, so that she would be ready to capture this weekend’s target audience of horse folks headed to the Minnesota Horse Expo at the state fair grounds in St. Paul.

It feels strange to no longer have horses living with us.

It is so bittersweet. It’s what we wanted, while also being not at all what we wanted. Obviously, we can’t have it both ways, so it is time to reconcile the reality of our here and now.

We are giving new life to perfectly good equipment so it can serve the purposes for which it was created, as well as bringing pleasure to folks who will find beneficial treasures for their horse activities at reasonable prices.

I’ll be trying to keep that in my mind, but I gotta admit, this all feels rather disorienting for me.

I must be adjusting some already though, because I’ve noticed several instances lately of flashing back to not all that long ago when I had absolutely no horse experience whatsoever.

I guess it would come as no surprise that I had a dream a couple of nights ago that was set in our old Eden Prairie home.

It makes me chuckle to look back at my old self there in the suburbs and contemplate how oblivious I was about where I would end up in the twenty-teens.

Horses? Uh uh.

Not until I visited Ian in Portugal.

I’ve come a long way since then.

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Written by johnwhays

April 25, 2019 at 6:00 am

Everything Goes

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I remember this energy from the days after we first moved here. When Cyndie puts her attention to a specific project, she gets down to action and does it big. I am more inclined to wade in slowly, spending a lot more time contemplating and plotting, before breaking a sweat on the labor.

In 2013, I understood we were about to get horses, but it didn’t occur to me that we would need almost everything horse-related that Fleet Farm sold.

Now we have returned the horses to their old herd. When I got home from work yesterday, I came upon a startling sight. It looked as if the barn had regurgitated its entire contents out of both ends.

Everything must go! Buckets, mats, blankets, fans, ropes, brushes, fencing, toys, books.

I’m wondering if Cyndie is trying to eliminate anything that reminds her of our days owning horses.

She has cleaned and catalogued everything, posted flyers with photos and prices, and included her phone number. The calls making claims on the goods are underway.

It reminds me of the beginning, just flipped and going in the other direction.

Everything goes, on a massive scale.

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Written by johnwhays

April 24, 2019 at 6:00 am

Final Season

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The horses are gone, but their manure is not. We have entered the final season of composting horse manure, with an extra large inventory of winter piles to be processed, both in the paddock and the compost area.

The advantage I have this time is that there won’t be a new daily supply forcing me to constantly arrange for open space. That takes away a lot of pressure.

I will turn these piles when convenient, but won’t fret about getting it done in the shortest time possible.

Sadly, that burden has left the barn.

It’s bittersweet. I’m thrilled over the release from daily manure duties, but I miss the energy of living with horses.

This afternoon, a neighbor is planning to stop by to purchase some of our leftover bales of hay. It is one small step in the slow transition of the very large project of getting rid of all the trappings related to keeping horses.

We need to have an “Everything Must Go!” sale. Ropes, buckets, blankets, saddles, fly masks, halters, and brushes.

Cyndie has itemized and priced everything that isn’t nailed down. The panels that form our round pen are one of the highest priced items. I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried to sell the sand we brought in for that circle where her teaching took place.

We talked about moving the gazebo over near the labyrinth. Seemed like a logical idea to me at the time, but thinking about it yesterday, I realized it would probably require disassembly to achieve. That’s a lot of hardware to futz with.

I wonder how long I can put off that effort.

I’m pretty sure I will be too busy turning compost piles.

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Written by johnwhays

April 21, 2019 at 9:40 am

Visiting Horses

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Yesterday we made the drive west to reconnect with our horses in their new (old) location. For me, it was my first opportunity to see them since the day they were relocated. It was wonderful, …and a little heartbreaking.

I was beginning to adjust to the void left by their absence. It was a treat to hold them again and breath in their smell, but it also touched a sensitive nerve.

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Dezirea looked great. When we arrived at the far side of the big pasture, we weren’t sure how the groups of horses had been arranged. It was the middle of the day and the horses were looking ready for a nap in the sun. There was a group of seven horses in the big field, most of them far enough away that we couldn’t make a positive identification.

After we started approaching the closest group, two geldings made a point of coming to greet us. In an instant, we made new friends. Slowly, others wandered near, but without crowding us uncomfortably. Meanwhile, one horse stayed against the far fence, focused on horses in the paddocks below.

None of the six that had come toward us were ours, so my attention was on that last horse. We kept walking. Eventually, we spotted that freshly trimmed tail. It had to be Dezirea, but, surprisingly, she didn’t turn around to show us her face until we had gotten very close.

Once she did, it was an emotional rush to see her reaction of recognition.

After spending some time with her and her posse of geldings, we headed off to check on Cayenne and Hunter. I think they are who she was fixated on as she stood against the far fence. The younger two horses had been moved down to a paddock by the barn.

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Hunter approached us right away, but soon decided he was more interested in some hay on the far side of the paddock. We soaked up as much of Cayenne as possible in the time we had.

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Finally, we headed across to pal around with Hunter. He was very much his old self, showing us the yummy hay was just as valuable as our surprise visit.

It was really great to see the three of them again, despite the renewed pangs of loss we feel over their absence from our place. I’m glad they had this chance to know we are still connected to them, even though won’t see each other every day.

I very much appreciate their ability to live in the moment. They accepted our time together without concern for the past or the future. It made for a very precious visit.

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Written by johnwhays

April 15, 2019 at 6:00 am

Cold Lonesome

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It’s not feeling very springlike this morning. It dropped well below freezing last night and today dawned frozen like a rock. Cyndie is gone to visit her parents in Florida, so Delilah and I are in charge of caring for the chickens and Pequenita. Since Delilah is no help with either, I am pretty much on my own there.

The paddocks have become a lonesome place to pass. There are still a few piles of horse “apples” yet to be collected out in the farther reaches, but that will wait for some magical moment when it isn’t frozen solid, or so wet and muddy it’s impossible to navigate.

A neighbor posted a request for used T-post fence posts on our local online site, and we have some to spare, so Delilah and I spent time in the barn yesterday sorting out the ones missing anchor plates from those that have them, as well as culling a few that lack the quality of straightness.

Now they are laid out all over the floor in piles of five, something that we would not do if the horses were still here. It is freeing, but weird.

I also took advantage of having my music playing while I worked. We chose to avoid exposing our horses to the sounds of recorded music, so it was a novelty to be working in the barn with tunes on.

While we were tending to fence posts, I decided to begin dismantling the border that defined our arena space in a corner of the hay-field. Most of the posts are still frozen in the ground, but the webbing could come down.

It was beautifully sunny, but also cold and windy. Much of the work had me pulling my hands out of my gloves and soon my fingers grew so cold I started to lose dexterity.

Also, the plastic insulators weren’t very agreeable to being flexed open, so that didn’t help my cold hands any.

This morning, Delilah and I walked through the back pasture and reached the round pen, with its sloppy sand currently frozen, preserving the footprints of chickens. Only chickens.

It served to prod my lonesomeness for our horses.

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Written by johnwhays

March 31, 2019 at 10:17 am

Couple Updates

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Do you remember the triumphant moment back in September of 2017, when Cyndie’s brothers and cousins helped me place a heavy stone atop the two boulders in the center of our labyrinth? Elysa captured the accomplishment in pictures.

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Those were the good old days. Jump ahead to today and I can report that the freeze/thaw cycle of the earth offered its own opinion of my design. 

It appears that gravity prefers the third rock be in closer communion with the ground. Looks like I need to get the band back together for another session of heavy lifting. Although, I’m not sure that it wouldn’t just produce the same outcome twelve months hence.

The ground around here moves like the surface of the sea, just at a much slower frequency.

The other update I have to offer this morning is more rewarding. One day after relocating our horses, Cyndie received this report from Mercedes:

“The two groups got a little more social by end of day yesterday, everybody drinking out of the water trough and at full run whinnying for Fernando’s feed times 🙂

Dezirea and Max are super bonded today, and Max has sort of left Cayenne to herself now. I rechecked Dez both this morning and afternoon and legs looking good – no more swelling and cuts scanned over so I think we are in the clear, just some ointment now to keep moisturized so don’t crack and for hair regrowth 🙂 All three have been really friendly – I can tell they are used to treats and love 🙂

Today Apache whinnying to communicate with Cayenne and Hunter, and they are staying much closer to the group. So all in all really smooth transition”

We couldn’t be happier about this news. I’m feeling a strong desire to visit them soon to see for myself, but knowing how well they are doing provides great comfort for the sorrowful pangs we are experiencing by the void of their absence.

Already, we are taking advantage of the reduction in responsibility at home, as Cyndie is flying to Florida tomorrow to spend time with her parents. We cleaned up after the horses in the barn yesterday and teased each other that we might actually miss that chore. If we do, it will be because cleaning up after them is an honor when you have them as companions. In and of itself, scooping up manure holds no allure.

I rearranged leftover hay bales and did a final count in the hay shed yesterday. We’ll check with local folks we know who might have interest, and if they don’t want it, post it to the online neighborhood group for all to see.

Bittersweet steps of furthering this transition, made so much easier by knowing the horses are happy, back with their friends, and under the best of care.

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Written by johnwhays

March 30, 2019 at 9:00 am

Best Outcome

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It all started out so well. Moving horses that aren’t fond of trailers proved to be a little more dramatic than we hoped yesterday. Cyndie brought them out, one by one. First, Cayenne.

Cayenne was understandably cautious, but eventually made it all the way to the front position inside the trailer, remaining calm while Hunter whinnied from the barn. His turn came next.

You might sense his uncertainty, visible in his body language in that image. Regardless, he championed through navigation of his footing on the unfamiliar ramp, and took up his assigned position near Cayenne.

We learned, after the fact, that Dezirea does not like being trailered. She actually surprised me by how impressively she overcame her usual heightened sensitivities and soldiered through the “scary” sights and sounds to get into the trailer. All except that last step, where one back foot slipped off the side of the ramp.

She had a bit of a tantrum in the back of the trailer and stalled proceedings for quite some time while we struggled to calm her and secure her position. She ended up backward from our initial intentions, but that ultimately turned out okay, and actually ended up making her exit that much easier.

The best news of all was that the return to their former home worked out brilliantly.

In fact, Cyndie and I now have a better understanding of just how right our decision was to rehome the horses, not for our sake, but for the horses’.

They have been well cared for and deeply loved by us, but their world as horses wasn’t all it could be. After Legacy died, their world changed. They all lost their leader, but Dezirea had lost her partner. Their health forced us to restrict their access to our rich pastures.

Their world had shrunk.

When Cyndie described how all three were welcomed back by their old herd-mates yesterday, and saw how quickly Dezirea got to be the boss mare again, adored by the geldings/boys who she helped raise when they were young, it solidified a belief that the return of the three horses we were caring for was ultimately the best outcome.

It is very jarring now to walk past our paddocks and through the barn and not have their precious energy present. That will take some getting used to. But, knowing they are among their old herd again and have returned to their previous horse relationships, greatly eases angst we were having about the difficult decision of sending them home.

 

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Written by johnwhays

March 29, 2019 at 6:00 am