Archive for the ‘Horses’ Category

Very Vienna

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

As we did yesterday, we decided to change our plans when we got up this morning.  Again, we had intended to visit Schonbrunn, but the forecast was for clouds (as it turns out, we’ve had sunshine almost all day) and we were worn out from our late tour around the city, so we decided to put Schonbrunn off until Saturday.  That left us, for the second day in a row, without any major or concrete plans.  And, for the second day in a row, our day didn’t suffer for the lack of itinerary at all.


Lippizaner surprise

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

We were out, first thing this morning, to pick up some medicine for Liam’s (now infected) eye.  It’s rare that I’m up and out with the kids before 9:30/10:00-ish without Dan, but we had been to the apothecary and were done with our errand before 9:00 this morning.  We stopped by Benjamin’s favorite fountain, which is right outside the store, and then I asked him (because I had no other immediate plans) what he’d like to do next.


One is silver and the other’s gold

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

I have some really amazing friends.  Today, I was reminded in several ways.

First, I got to get together with a new friend of mine here in Vienna.  Although we’ve only gotten together a few times, I’m really enjoying her company, and I’m amazed at how quickly and thoroughly we’re connecting.  She came over and helped me grab lunch and take the kids to the park.  Benjamin loves her — he got so excited when he heard she was coming over.  Before I left to come to Vienna, a friend of mine who is originally from South America told me that the friendships I make here will form more quickly, be more intense and probably longer lasting than is “normal” for friendships made at home, and I’m definitely finding that to be true.

But then I was also reminded of how great my friends at home are.  Cricket, one of my horses, has injured her eye.  My friend, Catherine, who is watching my horses at home let me know, and called the vet.  Her prognosis is good, but the course of treatment involves applying eye ointment twice a day — directly to her eyeball.  Even if I had never had horses, and had never had to do such an application of medicine, I would know how difficult that will be because I can imagine the challenge it would be to do that with my 30 lb preschooler, let alone my 800 lb pony.  It is vital to Cricket’s recovery that the medicine is applied well, and Catherine isn’t sure she can do it.  So, where does that leave me?  Well, 4000 miles and an ocean away, I have to find someone to help me take care of my (mostly) sweet pony, every day, for as long as two months.

It took me one email and about 8 minutes.  The very first person I asked, the person I most wanted to help (because I know what a great job she’ll do) said yes immediately.  I cried when I read her email, full of empathy for Cricket and excitement that she’s coming to stay.

I have the most amazing friends.  Today was a good reminder, but I’ve been reminded all along as we’ve been here.  The emails and the messages all mean so much.  I’ve smiled, laughed and reminisced here, all by myself, because of the wonderful things you’ve said.  Thank you, all of you, for keeping me company — because that’s what you’re doing, even though I’m so far away.

Is a Chincoteague Pony right for you?

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

I see a lot of people who are interested in purchasing a Chincoteague Pony from the Pony Penning and auction, but they really aren’t sure about what’s involved in buying one.  I’d like to answer some of those questions — here, I want to address the Pony Penning purchases specifically.  As far as purchasing a pony from a breeder (either a young one, or an adult) it’s a far different scenario, so I’ll address that separately at another time.  When is the Pony Penning?  Are the ponies really wild?  Can I buy an adult pony, or just a baby?  How much do they cost?  How hard are they to train?


Chincoteague Pony Personal Shopper

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Starting in the summer of 2009, I am going to be starting a new business venture.  I am going to be offering my services to people wishing to purchase a Chincoteague Pony.  I was recently thinking about things I could offer that other people can’t.  Looking at Cricket, and realizing what a special and amazing pony she is, I think I really have something to offer in this venue.  Buying a Chincoteague Pony can be daunting.  Especially for the novice horse person, the experience of attending the auction, selecting a pony and getting it home can be overwhelming.  That’s where I can help.


A Pony for Christmas

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Like every other horse-crazy child, every Christmas (and every birthday, and any other gift-giving occasion) from the time I was 3 years old, the first thing on my list was “A PONY”.  Like almost every horse-crazy kid, I never got one.   Although with each passing year, and each calm explanation from my parents about why it wasn’t going to happen, my resolve and hope never faded.  I still held out hope that there would be a pony under the tree (maybe not literally).  I asked for a pony every year from the time I was 3 until I moved out of the house and went to college.


Through Ellie’s Eyes

Thursday, September 20th, 2007


Ellie is my 9 year old Arabian mare.  Arabians often enjoy a reputation for being flighty, spooky, unstable, unpredictable over-reactors.  Ellie can be all of these things.  However, she also shares the other reputation that Arabians have — for being kind, sweet, smart, brave, hard working, dedicated, strong, fast, loyal and kind spirited companions.

I went out to ride her today.  I was actually going to ride Cricket – that was my plan.  But when I got to the barn, as soon as I parked my car and opened the door, Ellie was at the gate, whinnying her welcome to me.  She totally warmed my heart, and I decided I’d ride her today instead (although I’m not sure that was the outcome she was hoping for).  I went to get her, and brought her up to the barn to groom her.  They’re building a couple of new stalls out at the barn, so there was a good deal of commotion  — nail guns, circular saws, trucks driving around — in addition to the normal commotion of an active barn — horses and riders going about their regular activities.

I can never be quite sure which Ellie I’m going to get at a given time.  I was prepared for the flighty one — I get nervous around nail guns and circular saws — but I was pleasantly surprised.  She was quiet and relaxed while I groomed her and tacked her up, even as an air compressor came on loudly not far away.  I brought her to the arena and she stood with me while I took care of the gates and arranged some poles on the ground.  Then I mounted up and started the ride.  Mostly, she was very well behaved, but she was very nervous about one side of the arena.  On the other side of the fence, there were some poles and jump standards arranged.  They have been there for some time, but they’ve been rearranged since the last time I rode her in the arena.  So this was scary.  Saws, nail guns, moving vehicles – those are fine, but don’t make a pile of lumber!  Certainly, I can think of some good evolutionary reasons for horses to be wary of a pile of wood that had changed since their last pass through the area (something could be hiding in or behind it, for example) but it really made me realize something about horses and people and our reaction to perceived threats.


Howrse: an unexpected obsession

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Howrse?  Yes, Howrse.  No, it’s not spelled wrong.  It’s an online horse game that I have come to be quite obsessed about.

Here’s how it happened . . . I actually followed a link from this very page — it was an ad that Google put on our blog.  I thought the name was odd, so I decided to see what it was all about.


The Journey of a Chincoteague Pony

Monday, August 20th, 2007

Cricket at 2 months

My Chincoteague Pony, Wish Upon a Star, first came to me as a wild little weanling.  To look at her now, Cricket, as she is known around the barn, you’d never know she started her life as unruly and untrusting as they come.  I first saw her in a pen full of other wild ponies at the 2001 Chincoteague Pony Roundup.  She stood out to me because of the grace with which she moved.  She and her mother were startled and trotted across the pen.  She didn’t move like the rough around the edges critter she appeared to be — she was elegant.


You don’t always get what you wanted . . .

Friday, August 10th, 2007

. . . but you always get what you asked for.

This is a principle I first learned when riding and interacting with horses.  I started riding as a small child (8 years old) and this rule about horses was one I learned to help me deal with my frustrations when I couldn’t get the horse to do what I wanted.  I don’t remember who first said it to me, but it made me realize that the problem wasn’t in the response, but the question. 

Horses don’t speak English (or French, Chinese, Farsi or Gaelic).  That’s not to say they can’t be conditioned to associate certain words with certain items or actions — they can be trained to come when called, to respond to voice commands — but they don’t come to the party with an a priori knowledge of the language.  They are being asked to respond to questions they don’t understand.  We do what we can to imbue certain words with meaning, and a wise horseperson will work with the horse’s own language (mainly physical and spatial) to hedge their bets.

There are still, however, many misunderstandings.  It is the very basis on which we learn to interact together.