Thursday, November 11, 2010

Morning Portraits

We're having exceptional weather this fall - today it's in the 60sF again with sun.  The sunrise this morning was beautiful as I turned out the horses:

The mares were busily attacking their round bale.  Sugar, with Misty in the background:

Sugar again, minus the end of her nose:

I rarely get good pictures of Misty - she has a pretty face - sorry about those shadows:

And a full-body Misty portrait:

Dawn says "what are you up to?":

Charisma was busy snatching bits of hay from her Busy Horse hay feeder (she has this to slow her down, and it seems to work really well - she isn't turned out with the other mares because she eats too much and rapidly becomes overweight - she's got that Morgan metabolism):

Then I went up to take some pictures of the geldings.  I rarely get a good picture of Fred either - he's our senior citizen and very sweet:


Scout walked up to have a drink from the tank:

And then he took a moment to admire the view as water dribbled from his mouth:

And, saving the best for last, here's sweet good Pie:

* * * * * *
I'm feeling somewhat better now about our ride yesterday.  I think for the first rides he was maybe thinking "this doesn't look like Montana, but maybe it's a part I haven't seen yet, this lady my old man lent me to is nice for now and soon my old man will be along and we'll go search out some cows."  Then he began to figure out that the old man wasn't coming back and that this was his new home.  He's not altogether sure about me yet, but knows that he's got a place in his new herd so that's where his security is at the moment.  I also think I forced the pace a bit - the weather's been glorious and I wanted to get in as many rides as possible before the weather begins to shut us down, and I also kept throwing new challenges at him as he dealt successfully with other ones.  I think he's going to be fine - I need to alternate non-stressful work with work on his herd-boundness and buddy-boundness, and continue to build his bond with me.  I also need to be giving him some breaks from time to time, although I will ride today to see if we can have a better ride to pause on.

I really appreciate all the supportive comments and e-mails - it made me feel much better and as usual I'm better at giving others support and ideas than I am at giving it to myself.   I was also just plain having a bad day anyway yesterday and feeling a bit lonely and like I had no one to ride with, and I think that played into it too.  Pie's a fine young horse with an excellent foundation, and I just have to remember not to have unrealistic expectations or push the pace with him too fast.


  1. I think I know how you feel. For a long time, I was riding and working with Flip, and that was at the end of his 3 year old year into his 4 year old year and then as of August into his five year old year. Young horses test everything we think we know. Sometimes we get on them and have a good day, and sometimes we get on them and have a not so good day (and end up taking a nice trip to the ER, in my case). Flip is and was a lot like Pie, I think, fantastic for such a young horse, but a still having a lot to learn. My problem, I think, was that sometimes I would forget how young he was and expect too much. Those were our bad days. I think the key is to take the good days and absorb them for all their worth, but still except that their will be bad days, and when those bad days do happen, we have to remember to keep going and not dwell on them.

    Sometimes, that's the hardest part, not dwelling on the bad days. You also have to remember that the bad days are neither the horse, nor the rider's fault. Blame gets neither individual anywhere...

    Keep smiling Kate! You're doing a fantastic job with Pie, you just have to remember to give both you and him a break sometimes and not be so hard on yourself. Just take everyday as it comes!

    You're always so supportive of my mere accomplishments with Missy, I figured it was my turn to send some support...

  2. Kate...glad you are feeling better about your ride. You have asked an awful lot of a new horse and he just needs to be eased into it. Most horses are given a little more time to settle in...tho Pie is going to end up being an exceptional boy. I read the comments from yesterday and they all were very reasonable. I doubt if he was ever ridden every day and just needs a little longer to adjust. Your weather sounds great. We are supposed to get some of it for the next few days. Enjoy.

  3. Gorgeous pictures... the horses are all so cute! :)

    I'm glad you're feeling better about yesterday. I think your analogy about him feeling the most safe with his herd is spot on. It's all very new to him and it'll just take some time for him to bond with you.

    You and Pie will be the team you're hoping for in no time. :)

  4. Love the pictures of the herd. After reading your post last night it brought back memories of my horse Cowboy, because when I first acquired him we boarded, and I worked him there and did my trail rides around the barn. It was always more work for us around the barn--more bad days. When I started trailering him away for rides, things got remarkably easier. He's older now, too--back then he was young like Pie--and I think the young ones are, understandably, less predictable from day to day. I think it's wise to take your time--you have the rest of your life with him. Enjoy your day!

  5. Hi Kate! I'm a new follower. I've only read today's blog, but intend to play a bit of catch up. I saw your comments over at Equestrian Ink about Mark Rashid, and since my husband has been reading his books and contemplating auditing one of his clinics I what you had to say would be very interesting. I think the clinic he wants to audit is in Washington state this spring. Really looking forward to it.

  6. Kate what lovely pics, send us some of your lovely weather it's been just awful here :(
    I'm sure things will work out fine with Pie, just keep applying your good sense as always and it will come good.

  7. Kate...I've been a reader of your blog for some time now. I'm a friend of Kyya Grant's over here in central Washington, so I've met Mark before and read his books.

    I came to horses late in life, and have had to learn pretty much everything from scratch. One of the things that has always struck me is the similarities between horses and birds (we have a couple of pet conures at home).

    One of the things bird owners talk about is a "honeymoon" phase when you bring a new bird home. They bond really strongly with their human companions at this time, they groom you, etc. Usually the "testing" doesn't start until some time has passed. One of our conures has never shown the same attachment behaviors that he displayed the first few weeks after we brought him home...he is still friendly in many other ways, but he rarely grooms us or snuggles for attention the way he did at first.

    Horses are not exactly like birds, of course, but I've cared for enough horses at this point to have noticed that there seems to be a bit of a honeymoon period with horses as well--particularly with geldings. I also think geldings tend to bond a lot more strongly with "their" humans than mares do, and I think you're right that Pie is probably pining some for his former owner.

    I like one of the other poster's comments about bribing your boy a little bit with some treats on the trail. I think that little bit of happy surprise now and then goes a long way with horses when they're not sure of themselves.

    I hate to use the word "bribe," but he sounds like an awfully perceptive young guy, and returning some of the "honeymoon" love to him at this crucial time might be a good idea, and doing something a bit differently than the other humans he's known would probably help make an impression on him. I think most horses are intelligent enough to figure out we're doing our best to meet them halfway, and it means a lot to them.

    Keep posting! I love reading your blog and have learned a lot from it.


  8. I'm glad you are feeling better about things today, Kate. After all, one bad day doesn't make a bad horse, right? Looking forward to reading about today's ride when you get around to it!

  9. Yesterday was a bad day for me, too. Wonder if it's a full moon? Ha.

    Great pictures of your horses! Pis so sweet, and so handsome! You're lucky to have him. Glad you're having a better day!

  10. Happy to hear you are feeling better about yesterday's ride. Pie is still young, and has so much to learn.

    I think you are right in thinking that the new life is just beginning to sink in with him. He just needs some time to grow up and learn that you really are OK.

    I don't blame you for wanting to get out to ride in this weather. It's been beautiful.

  11. Kate-

    It's good to take your time with Mr. Pie - you two are going to be a great team!

    Best advice I've ever gotten - ride the horse you have today :)

  12. Thanks everybody! and welcome Wilsonc and Lisa, and thank you very much for commenting.

  13. Love the pictures of the gang. This weather is gorgeous, I don't blame you for wanting to get in as many rides as possible before the dreaded winter. I rode myself today, it was almost 60! I'm loving this particular fall. Hope you and Pie have a good ride today too.

  14. Great photos of all the horses. Don't feel bad about your ride. I'm sure he'll do better with you another time.

  15. Having a new horse is so much fun sometimes we expect everything to go well. We all have our off days; me, you, Pie, even my lovely Beamer! Best to just move on and not worry about them.
    I love the marking on Sugar's face, it's almost a heart. Love your header photo too.

  16. Awesome portraits, every pic has its own beauty but i personally like the third one. I had a great time by watching these pics.

  17. Hi Kate - I am very impressed with this post. I haven't read the next one yet but the title tells me you had a nice ride again with Pie. I will read it in a minute. I had read the previous ones on the days you posted and I just kept thinking that Pie was getting his bearings and was figuring out now that he is HERE and that you have to slow down for him. But, what do I know? I was afraid to comment because I don't really know diddly. You know way more about horses and Pie than I do. I also knew you would think it out and figure out his need for a slower pace. And, then, this post! You are such a good, kind, horsewoman - you take the time to think it through without immediately thinking it is the horse's fault!


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