Riding Horses: Lila and Elsie

 Posted by on 21 April 2012 at 10:00 am  Personal, The Beasts
Apr 212012

When my mom visited me in late March, we had oodles of fun riding together. We rode together a ton in my childhood, including foxhunting together, but we’ve not done it for years.

Mom rode Lila (the large dark brown horse), and I rode Elsie (the chestnut pony). (Click to enlarge.)

My mother is 5’8″, yet Lila takes up her whole leg and a bit more. (She’s very wide!) On Elsie, I feel like my feet might scrape the ground at any moment.

I’d not ridden Elsie before, except in preparation for Mom’s visit. Alas, Elsie is very agitated in the ring, so much so that it’s an accomplishment just to have her walk quietly, without jigging or tossing her head. She’s not being naughty: she’s just anxious, perhaps used to being galloped around. She’s improved greatly with every ride, but I have lots of work ahead of me with her.

When riding with my mother, I was delighted to discover that Elsie is great on the trails. She’s reasonably quiet, and she’s perfectly willing to go almost anywhere, without any of Lila’s hesitancy or fussing. She’s a bit leery of water, but that just needs a bit of practice.

As a result, I’ve been pretty regularly riding one horse and ponying the other on the trails. (“Ponying” means that I’m leading the horse that I’m not riding by the halter.) It’s slightly tricky business, but it’s excellent practice for the two horses to be out together, feeling more secure and comfortable, while we explore the trails.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m now working with a trainer? It’s high time… and I’m seeing some good results in Lila already!

New Horse: Elsie

 Posted by on 2 December 2011 at 2:00 pm  Animals, Personal, The Beasts
Dec 022011

As you know, my ancient horse Tara died on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Lila seemed to adjust to being alone well enough, but horses never like to live alone. So I wanted to find a companion for her sooner rather than later.

Happily, I was able to do just that in just a few days, on Saturday. One of my neighbors told me that another neighbor was looking to find a home for an extra horse. Our neighborhood has a stupid three-horse limit, and this horse put her owner one over the limit. So she had to find this horse a new home.

This horse, originally named Espy but now renamed Elsie, is a 14.2 hand mare and 22 years old. (Like dogs, smaller horses live longer than older horses.) She’s friendly and quiet, although with a touch of that bitchy mare-ish streak. (Lila doesn’t have that, but Tara did.) She’s healthy, sound, and even rideable, so she’ll likely make herself useful in more ways than just as a companion for Lila.

Like Lila, Elsie is an easy keeper, needing just hay, and she’s very food-oriented. That’s highly useful, because I don’t need to separate them for feeding. I had to do that with Tara since getting Lila last year, and that required four to six trips down to the barn every day. And she and Lila seem to like each other well enough.

So… welcome to the family, Elsie!

My Horse Tara, RIP

 Posted by on 22 November 2011 at 2:30 pm  Animals, Personal, The Beasts
Nov 222011

I had to put down my elderly horse Tara today, very unexpectedly.

She was fine last night when I fed her. This morning, I found her lying down in the pasture, unwilling to get up. I called the vet immediately, and he arrived within an hour or two. She had colic — not an impaction but a twisted gut. Nothing could be done for her, other than to end her suffering. She died quickly and quietly.

Tara was about 28, and that’s very, very old for a horse her size. Colic is often the way that such horses die, even if they’ve never had any history thereof.

I’m very sad that she’s gone. I knew that her death was coming, but I just didn’t know that it would be today. So I’m in a bit of shock.

I’m so grateful that she gave me so many good years as a horse to ride and then as a companion to Lila. In return, she was well-cared for until the very end.

Winter Storm + Beasts = Cute

 Posted by on 2 November 2011 at 5:00 pm  Animals, Personal, The Beasts
Nov 022011

I have so many things that I want to blog, but I’ve been short on time lately. For now, I just can’t resist posting these pictures of our ever-so-cute beasts in today’s snowstorm… including a video of Snow Doggie Wrestlemania!








Snow Doggie Wrestlemania

Doggie Wrestlemania 3

 Posted by on 23 July 2011 at 8:15 am  Animals, Personal, The Beasts
Jul 232011

Last weekend, I shot this video of our wild and crazy doggies wrestling outside. Conrad is the black-and-tan German Shepherd, and Mae is the smaller black dog. The barking dog is Red Dog, who we were watching for Kelly and Santiago Valenzuela of Mother of Exiles last week.

Conrad and Mae wrestle exactly like in this video a few times per day. Although it looks completely wild and crazy, they’ve never injured themselves…. and they love it!

Mae is definitely the instigator, and Conrad often gets very frustrated by his inability to control her. (Hence, his growling and occasional barking.) Mae is just a hair slower than Conrad, but she’s also far more clever about using obstacles to slow him down. She does seem to love to be caught and rolled over — to the point that she rolls herself over twice in this video to try to get Conrad to come after her.

So, now you know that when I say, “my wild and crazy doggies,” I’m not exaggerating!


 Posted by on 16 July 2011 at 7:00 am  Animals, Personal, The Beasts
Jul 162011

I recently took some pictures of my fabulous horse Lila. See for yourself just how lovely she is! She’s been coming along very nicely in her training, both in dressage and cross-country. Soon, I’m going to start jumping her, and I’m super-enthused about that!

The New Horse: Lila

 Posted by on 6 November 2010 at 12:30 pm  Animals, Personal, The Beasts
Nov 062010

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had terrible problems with carpal tunnel pain due to my hypothyroidism. Instead of gritting my teeth through that pain while I wait for my increased dose of desiccated thyroid to take effect, I decided to work on projects that would take me away from the computer, like dog training… and buying a new horse!

Much to my delight, I looked at a great prospect on last Friday — a very quiet, 15.3 hand, seven year old draft cross mare named Luisa. Here’s the description from the advertisement:

Luisa is a 7 year old dark bay, TB/Percheron cross. I bought her to boost my confidence after another horse had injured me. Mission accomplished! She is very sensible. I have ridden her along a busy Hwy with trucks going past, as well as in the arena with her pasture friends running along the fence. Didn’t spook or speed up in either situation. Now at the Horsepark in Parker. Won ribbons with novice riders at the horse park in the lower level flat and over fences classes. Luisa has been out on the hunt and is a doll on the trail. Great feet and goes without shoes. Lot’s of thick, wavy hair, full body and a large soft eye to make her adorable! To a good home.

Here she is on that Friday:

I liked her immediately, so much so that I bought her that day. (She’d already had a pre-sale vet check done.) She was delivered to me on Sunday. I was thrilled to get her, and I’m thrilled to be riding her. She’s quiet, gentle, and sensible. She’s also rather green (i.e. inexperienced, untaught), so she’s the perfect project for me.

I didn’t much like her name (Luisa) or her nickname (Lala), so I renamed her “Lila.” That’s apparently of Arabic origin, and it means “night.”

Here’s some pictures that I took of her this past week:

My other horse Tara completely freaked out when she saw Lila for the first time. Happily, once I got them in the barn, they settled in together nicely. Now they’re best buds.

Tara is too old and creaky to be ridden, so she now gets to enjoy her retirement as the companion of Lila. Life is good for all of us!

Doggie Wrestlemania: The Chase

 Posted by on 17 September 2010 at 3:00 pm  Animals, Funny, The Beasts
Sep 172010

Conrad and Mae chase each other around the desks on our office. The noise of it was amazing! And yes, those are Paul’s legs.

More Doggie Wrestlemania

 Posted by on 2 August 2010 at 2:00 pm  Animals, Funny, Personal, The Beasts
Aug 022010

The dogs were absolutely nuts for wrestlemania last night, so I took some more video of them. I love how Conrad lays back twice with that “come hither, young lass” look. Then he gets more than he knows how to handle from Mae!

Based on the funny reports I heard about kids watching the first video, I highly recommend that parents with young-ish children video those children as they watch this latest video, then post that to YouTube.

One of these days, I’ll take some good video of them tussling outside, as they’re quite subdued indoors in comparison.

Oh, and did I mention that we’ve decided to adopt Mae? She’s now our doggie!

Introducing Mae

 Posted by on 15 July 2010 at 2:00 pm  Animals, Personal, The Beasts
Jul 152010

Paul and I adopted a new dog yesterday… sort of.

Her name is Mae. She’s an eight month old German Shepherd / Lab mix. She’s fairly small dog by my standards, and I don’t expect her to gain much more height. She’s currently 45 pounds, and she’ll likely end up around 50 or 55 pounds, I think. (By way of comparison, Conrad weighs 70 pounds, and Abby and Kate were 75 and 80 pounds, respectively.)

Unfortunately, Mae has had a hard life so far. She’s been beaten up by gangs of larger dogs in some foster homes, as well as over-stressed by the family that recently attempted to adopt her. For the past few days, she’s been boarding at doggie day care. That’s fun but also stressful for a dog.

As a result of all that, she didn’t seem like a great prospect when we met her yesterday morning. She was snapping not just at Conrad but at Paul too. (She was fine with me.) However, I liked what I saw of her base temperament: very calm and easygoing. Her foster mom told us that her behavior was like nothing she’d seen in her home: it was probably due to the stress of the past week or so. The doggie day care workers gave her a very positive report too.

I’m a softie, and I didn’t want her going back into the same kinds of stress that caused her so many problems already. Plus, I thought she could recover herself very well in our quiet home with Conrad. However, I was reluctant to adopt her outright, as I was definitely concerned by what I saw. So we’ve taken her on as a foster dog, with the hope that we can adopt her in a few weeks. Basically, she’s my rent-to-own doggie!

Much to my delight, my instincts about her seem to be right on the money. The moment that we turned into the driveway, she became very happy-excited to be at our home. She’s settled in very nicely since then. She’s gotten along perfectly with Conrad: I’ve not seen the slightest bit of aggression from her toward him. She’s met my horse Tara. She was scared and barked a bit, but that’s to be expected: Tara is huge to little Mae. She’s also done well with the cats, although I’ll definitely need to keep an eye on that for the next few weeks. As for Paul, she was almost completely okay with him when he came home last night.

I was particularly delighted that she began playing vigorously with Conrad yesterday evening, first in our dog run, and then in our living room. I even caught some of it on video:

She’s really having a blast! I love how she pounces on him repeatedly — and gnaws on his neck like he does with other dogs. Clearly, Conrad is smitten, because he just doesn’t get on the ground like that with other dogs. (Conrad’s sneezing is part of what he does when he submits. I don’t know if other dogs do that too, but it’s quite odd!)

I’m amazed by her progress so far, and I hope that she continues to settle in nicely.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha