Today we were invited to a potluck picnic for a young Marine home from his first deployment. Everyone brought their specialty dish, and there was a pig picking! Yum!
We decided to bring ponies. The picnic was on the farm where we board our horses, so it was easy. Just saddle them up, and load on the kids. We decided to use Shadow, who has been rather depressed in her forced retirement, and Paladin because we knew they would be the best behaved.
Here is Bill with Paladin and two of his 'riders'. Both horses were popular with the kids, but Paladin won because he was the calm gentleman while Shadow decided that retired or not she still had all her spirit. It was all we could do to keep her at a walk! She was so excited to be doing something. I guess I will have to start working her a little bit, she is just too bored sitting in the pasture. I also think it is hard for her to see me riding the other horses and taking them places.
Shadow's spirit is not matched in her legs though, and after a while, she was starting to limp, and was hurting, so we stopped. We did rides for about 2 hours though, so she did pretty well for a crotchety old girl!
Last night when I got to the barn to feed, I had 4 hot, sweaty, buggy, dirty and itchy horses waiting for me at the gate. I wasn't surprised, it had gotten over 95 degrees yesterday.
But wait, what about horse number 5? No, she was sleek and cool, calmly waiting for dinner. It seems that the 24 year old horse was too smart to stand in the hot sun and sweat, roll in the dirt and get covered in bugs. Shadow has spent her day in the barn or in the grove of trees, with a cool breeze blowing.
Meanwhile the youngsters (2,8,and 9 yrs old) and the lone gelding has suffered, stamped and rolled in the sun and ick. As they were all munching on dinner, I decided to give everyone a quick wash. I had 3 reasons for this. The main one was they were all disgustingly dirty and miserable. The bath would both clean them and cool them off. But also I have been using a wash system, almost like the one you hook to your hose to water and fertilize the grass. The wash solution is a mild shampoo, liniment, and is also bug repellent. It's also really quick and easy, important when you have a barn of horses to do, and it's getting dark.
I pull Shadow out first, and give her the wash treatment. She stands like a queen with the leadline loose, she does love her pampering. Next I get the lone gelding, who is universally scorned and ignored by the mares. He also stands like a champ, I just drop the line and work away. Next I get Oreo, drama princess. I tie her as it's getting late and I need to move along. She wiggles and giggles when the water hits her, she is 8 and still a bit girly sometimes. But she doesn't fuss, just says the water is cold, and oh it's hitting a bit hard (pout).I turn her loose and get Symphony. I realize I am running out of time, and may not be able to do the terrible 2 year old, who is convinced water is battery acid anyway. I open her stall and let her out.
As I walk Symphony over to the gate, Roheryn (2 yr old) follows right behind. I actually have to shut the gate in her face, and the whole time I'm washing Symphony, Roheryn is standing there at the gate waiting. Symphony is a lady about everything, just an occasional snort as a commentary.
Roheryn is waiting at the gate, plainly saying "It's my turn! I do what the big horses do, I am a big girl now." So I get her halter, and bring her out and tie her. I take it slow, starting at her legs, but all I get is a few snorts, she stands beautifully.
When I turn the last two loose, all of them take off for the far end of the field galloping and bucking. They feel good now! Roheryn has her neck arched and her tail flagged like I have never seen before. She is sooo proud, she got to do what the other horses did!