Thursday, December 6, 2007

Poop Soup

Where did our blue skies go?

The rains have been relentless. Add that to the melting snow from this past weekend and WA state is a mess. Up here, it's just annoying. Down south, they're requesting federal funds to help with rebuilding roads. I-5 had nearly 10 feet of water over it and is closed momentarily. If you want to drive from Seattle to Portland, it'll take you 7 hours as you'll need to head east through Ellensburg; meaning a trip over the pass before heading south, then a trip back over another pass in Oregon. It's just insane.

Here at home, the formerly frozen ground gave way to a few inches of snow, which turned into a sloppy mess once the rains began to beat down. The gravel in the paddocks seems to be holding up well, although the manure has become liquified and impossible to clean up. And while no one is walking around in pastern deep mud, it's still wet. With Quiet Storm gone, the paddock that Firecracker was in has doubled in size and she has access to both stalls. Still, her feet can't help but come into contact with moisture as the water just can't seem to drain away fast enough to keep up with the rainfall. Another load of gravel, especially in the stalls, would do wonders.

Since the bad weather began I've not spent much time out with the horses. Cheryle came and trimmed Quiet Storm and Jet on Friday, and with Firecracker aborting her foal on Sunday, I decided to just leave things be for a bit. Firecracker's training has consisted of me waiting for her to come up and get a mouthful of alfalfa pellets before I left the paddock. Unlike Sunny, who snatched a mouthful and ran between bites, Firecracker stands there and munches away. When I opened the window to put hay into her stall yesterday, she walked right in and pushed her nose up to my face, obviously feeling very comfortable. After a week off, and with that bit of relaxation, I decided I'd best jump back into training mode.

Firecracker struggles with the whole join up process. She knows to turn and face me, but she doesn't want to come into my space. I can walk left or right and she'll pivot to keep her attention where it belongs, but if I walk away she also turns away. Yesterday I managed to get her to take a few steps towards me. I feel limited by space, as I can't walk more than five feet before coming to a fence. Firecracker managed to keep fairly close a couple of times, but when I stopped her ears went flat back and she snaked her head out at me just like a snitty, bossy mare would push around another horse. I have to admit I felt very vulnerable at that moment! That attitude just won't do, but at the same time I need to encourage her into my space so I don't want to get after her in an aggressive way. Raising the hand caused her to take a step back before we started all over again.

After ten minutes of working like that, I pulled put my lariat and started tossing it over her back again. Jumpy the first time or two that I swung my arm, she settled right down and eventually allowed me close enough to rub the loop on her shoulder. When that happened, I told her she was a good girl and walked away. Total training time? Fifteen minutes, followed by dinner and me standing and holding her alfalfa pellets. I think food is going to be a big motivator when it comes to me being able to touch and handle her.


Rising Rainbow said...

It's been very wet here too. This weather makes me long for summer. I think it's going to be a long winter.

Molly said...

Your little Firecracker is going to be wonderful.
You know, we are going to miss Quiet Storm, too, so you might ask Stephanie to post occasionally.

Tracey said...

MiKaela, I've wondered how things were down your way.

Molly, you're right, she should stop in here! She does pop into my Carpenter Creek blog from time to time, but I'll direct her here.