Saturday, July 28, 2007

Before . . . After

On Thursday we went to the Nefs' house for violin lessons/horseback riding lessons and to celebrate the 24th of July. I teach violin lessons to one of their boys in exchange for Emily taking riding lessons. She is becoming a proficient horsewoman. She runs around with their kids and plays on the horses like a natural.

Since we were having a barbecue and playing around Trent let me ride around on Paycheck. I am not a good horserider though. I was doing pretty well, ie I hadn't fallen off or gotten tangled in the stirrups yet, but then Leila needed diapers from the car that were in a white plastic sack. I rode Paycheck over there and got them and started back. I should have realized that the horse was a little on edge when he didn't turn right when we were heading back from the car and was skittish, but wanting to show that I could handle it I cued him to go into a trot. He instead started to lope and then run as fast as he could towards the fence. I was trying to hold onto the reins and the bag of diapers and wetwipes and couldn't get control. I dropped the bag to try and get a hold of the reins and get him to slow down. The second the bag dropped past his vision he started to kick, buck and really run! I remember thinking that I was going to jump off, but before I could formulate a plan for how to do that without getting hurt, I was flying through the air. I landed on my chest and leg. I couldn't breathe and everything ached but I was fine. Actually I hurt more today than I did then because I got up, tried to take a breath for some very long seconds and then got back on the horse.

Trent showed me what I was doing wrong - mostly everything, especially the panicking. The other thing he told me is that Paycheck freaks out about plastic bags. The sound they make sets him on edge and when I dropped it and he saw this white fluttery thing out of the corner of his eye he panicked. We rode around for a few minutes and I was happy not to break anything. My ribs are tender on one side and hurt if I breathe too hard or lift my left hand, and I will have some good bruises on my legs. I am just glad I didn't get hurt.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Normal Stuff

My sister Anna informed me that I write about weird stuff. She wanted to know when I would return to normalcy. I had no idea that was possible. Well, she did tell me that same thing years ago but it was that I did weird stuff and why couldn't I be normal, but we were teenagers then.

The horses have done a superb job of cleaning up the barnyard and the side pasture. We keep finding junk hidden by the grass and weeds - bits of metal, a rusty water pump, an 8 foot round tank, a cement pad with wood stacked on it. So far the horses have been a joy to have too. They drink a lot so filling up their water takes a while every day, but otherwise they are pretty low key.

We have the chickens in one side of the small barn. This barn is divided into two rooms with an open breezeway in the middle. The horses hang out in the breezeway where it is shaded throughout the day. The chickens pick through and break up any manure left there and keep the flies down. It really is a good system.

The donkey on the other hand is a trouble maker. The donkey I think feels this need to be in a stall and had been coveting the chicken coop. Emily opens the door for them in the morning and she would put a brick in front of the door and a brick behind the door so the chickens could come and go, but the horses could not get in. The donkey had no problem though pushing through the door. When I would get home I would find him holed up in the back, snacking on the chicken food. I decided that enough was enough and put a gate across the door that was about waist high. But, the donkey jumped the gate and came in anyway. The gate must have been the last straw because he decided to break everything in the chicken coop - feed cans, watering buckets, pallets set up for roosts, and he ate ALL of the chicken feed. So after I cleaned up his mess I put up a hotwire around the chicken coop so he can't get in any more. Now he is trying to get into the other barn. But he is very likeable. He is like a rebellious kid that everyone likes even though he keeps getting into trouble.

One good thing about the donkey is that he will not tolerate raccoons, cats, dogs, coyotes, or foxes in the barnyard. He has been gentle with the girls, but if another animal enters his area he becomes a heehawing terror.