Sunday, June 27, 2010

My "What Horses?" And Killing Coyotes

What a great weekend--and by looking at everyone else's blogs, it appears the feeling was universal.

As I've said before, it has been a weird spring, and not very horse-oriented. My husband made a big career change (not out of his field, but into our own business) and we got a new puppy baby. I didn't realize how those things would affect me--but looking back, they definitely changed my focus in life....temporarily.

I've really felt bad about my lack of interest in the horses. It left me wondering what I'm doing....what are my goals here? I have a lot of horses, but what do I want from them and them from me. Would they be happier in other homes where they're being worked more? Poor C'ya--she's ready to go, but I only seem to want to ride Cowboy. And for Beautiful, she hasn't grown very big--what will her job be in my herd?

Cowgirl's not mine, so I don't worry about her..and Red's old and retired, so he's doing exactly what he should. Shadow? He's pretty old and fat, too, and he's my husbands go-to horse--so no problem there. My horses are Beautiful, Cowboy, C'ya and the pony.

Thankfully, I had some inspiration today at "Mustang Days"--even though I arrived as they were packing up. I had to miss it again for my son's Hoopfest. During which, by the way, there was a gang shooting. No one was seriously hurt, but three people were grazed by a bullet. We didn't know it was going on until afterward. So, today, Sunday, I finally had some time to head over there after I got all the boys back on the road to Lewiston.

I got to see Andrea and her horse's Tonka, Bella, and Scout--they look great. I couldn't get over how BIG Scout is--and roaning out. He's flashy--that's a good word for it--a real pretty, sweet boy. Bella, his mother (the one who was pregnant when Andrea adopted her as a two year old from the BLM) laid down and slept right in front of us. Tonka stayed off to himself, a bit, relaxing. It was good to see them all in person. I've seen Tonka before, but I've only seen Scout and his mama in pictures on Andrea's blog.

I got to catch up with Alexa, too, about her horse Fox. What a great find he was--Cowboy's age and a been-there-done-that type who can give grandkids rides. She seems really happy with him, and, hopefully, we can all get together and ride now that it's summer break--get Shiloh out on Cowgirl, too--like SOON.

Oh, and then there's Lea--the head of the Mustang group who I've blogged about before. I didn't get to see Sage, her new Mustang mare, but I did make an appointment to pick up some new barn cats--females.

Which brings me to another issue: coyotes. They've gotten out of hand around here, killing three of my four cats. They got Girl Kitty, who I'd had for many years..I even helped birth her. The reason I know they got her is because Maggie, our dog who was a puppy when she was a kitty and so figured she's also part kitty, retrieved her for me and laid her at my door. We still have her mother and her mother was by our side and licking her face as she lay there.

A week later, they got #42 and Ezzy. And, if you've read my blog at all, you know how much I loved #42 and how much Shiloh loved Ezzy.

All of this has prompted us to go "Rambo" on coyotes. We bought a rifle with a good scope and my brother bought a rabbit call. Last night he called in his first coyote. I couldn't believe how it ran in to the sound of the call from so far away. I saw it hustling over the ridge toward our stand of forest at the back pasture.

My brother wasn't prepared, but he got the gun and I went out and locked up the horses...and when that coyote saw me heading back to the house he started coming in toward the barn where my brother took up a position to make the "call". He came right in at him and he had the perfect shot, but sadly, missed. I blame the scope for not being sighted in right.

I have no compunction whatsoever about killing these coyotes. They've waged a war on our animals, threatened Maggie and tried to kill a fawn in our front driveway--they've gotten way out of hand. If we're going to protect our future barn cats, we've got to win this coyote war. Thank goodness for my brother. He's coming tonight to stand sentry again.

Here's hoping....getting a coyote is much tougher than you'd imagine.

As for the horses and my "goals"...I'm still thinking about that and will be pondering it for the next few days. I went out and worked with Beautiful tonight and my feeling there is that no matter what happens, she'll always be my horse. I don't know what I owe her or what my goals are with her--I'll need to give it some thought--I do know we're good friends. The same for C'ya.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back from Vacation

(My husband and I in front of Yaquina Lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. I reread Virgina Woolf's, To the Lighthouse--so this was a fun excursion).

(The kids at play on the beach).

I just got back from a vacation to the Coast. It's always a mixed blessing, traveling--I love to be here at home with all my animals and the land (which I love--I am a confessed land-lover), but I also like to explore new places with the family.

While we were gone, my mom came up and took care of Riagan--a full-time job, I assure you! What a blessing that was. It takes a village to run this home--and so my sister was also here minding the horses and other animals. Unfortunately, one of the worst things that could happen, DID happen--the water went out again. They were without water for two days and one night. Apparently, a pipe broke in the well down by the pump (340' down) and it cut off the water supply. It was all fixed by the time we got home last night, but BOY do I feel sorry for my mom having to suffer through that experience.

My parents are real grandparents to my Irish Wolfhound in every way possible. They are partners in choosing her, purchasing her, and raising her! Now they are partners in babysitting her! My mom says she loved every minute of it. I know Riagan seemed to have loved it--she didn't miss a beat while we were gone.

Since I got my puppy, I've almost forgotten I have horses!! So much of my time and energy has gone to getting her adjusted/acclimated to her new home, I haven't had anything left to give. It's starting to change, though, as my puppy has settled in to the new home. I can feel life getting back to normal again.

There was another thing that happened while we were gone--my family says it was "Wild Kingdom" around here. They woke up one morning to find a coyote chasing a fawn--being chased by the fawn's mother. The fawn would cry out when the coyote would bite it. It sounds like it was all chaos--and it was right here in my front yard!!

Eventually, they found the fawn by itself in the tall grass--no mother around. They thought the mother didn't know where the fawn was, but in retrospect, it appears the mother hid her in the tall grass by our barn and horses, then came back for her that night. They guessed that the fawn was about a week old and too young to fend for itself. The next morning they saw mother and baby in the tall grass together in our front pastures--then gone.

It always seems like everything happens when we're on vacation!

By the way, this weekend is Mustang Days here in town. It's the same weekend as my son's Hoopfest, but I hope to go there and watch some of the demonstrations--hopefully, the competition on Sunday, too.

Happy Trails!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Busy (and tired) Puppy-Mama

Oh, I am such a busy puppy-mommy now-a-days. It's just like having a REAL baby right now. And my protective instinct has kicked into HIGH gear. You forget that, like human babies, puppy babies want to put everything in their mouthes. Puppy-mama, however, is vigilant and quite adept at the "swipe"--swiping my finger through her mouth to clear out the objects which enter there.

Our son babysat her for us so we could make it to my piano recital Friday night. I was a bit sleep deprived, but all went well. It was a friendly audience! My goal was to play through, no matter what happened, and I accomplished it. It was far from perfect, but what I took away from it is how little an audience expects when you're learning--they understand it's a work in progress, and most people admire you for trying. I learned a lot from the younger students who were up there performing. When they lost their place, they weren't afraid to stop and regroup and start again.

The thing about a live performance is that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong--so it's important to get up there and practice "live" as much as possible. The better you get at covering up your mistakes and moving the music forward, the better musician you become. The bigger issue is not IF you'll make a mistake, of course you WILL, but it's all about how you deal with it.

This is starting to sound like a puppy and music blog, but those two things really have been my focus lately. My puppy will be the center of my universe for a while--all things "horse" will be puppy related.

For example, Beautiful was the first horse to see the new canine trotting up the path with me this weekend. She was, as usual, fully engaged trying to figure it out. So, we went straight up to her and introduced them through the bars. Beautiful liked her and they both relaxed.

The puppy, however, is generally a little too insecure right now to fully appreciate the horses. They overwhelm her. She still needs to acclimate and find comfort here. I think there are many moments where she still feels anxious and misses her real mommy and litter-mates. We expect a lot of puppies--and my little girl looks much older than she actually is since she's an Irish Wolfhound, but it takes time to build relationships, even puppy/human ones. I think it's amazing that they're so willing to give you their trust--she was licking us right off the plane and out of her crate. How brave for one so young who had been on such a scary journey alone. My goal is to be by her side as she finds her place and her confidence in this big, often dangerous, world of ours!

I've been stopping by everyone's blogs, but I haven't always had the time to reflect and comment. I'll get better as my puppy grows and things settle down a bit.

Happy Trails!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Our Baby's Home

What a sweetheart! She came off the plane and immediately started licking us. She LOVES people and has no idea of her size! She wants to be in your lap.

She's tired now, and sleeping at my feet. So much has happened to her--so many changes--this will be a day to get used to her new home. As much as she loves us, she misses her old home and has cried for it now and then through the night and this morning. She'll cry for a few seconds, then settle back down. So, I think she starts to forget, then remembers, then forgets, then remembers, and just basically misses her old family.

It's very obvious to us that her early life was EXCELLENT--it shows in her attitude about people and her confidence. Her old mommy did a wonderful job and we get the benefit of it. She's a real gift and I already can't imagine life without her!!

Oh, and Maggie LOVES her!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Baby

I guess it's pretty official now, so I can make my announcement--looks like I'm going to be a new puppy mama. As all of you know, raising a puppy is about as much work (or more) than raising a baby, especially in those first few weeks when they miss their real mamas, but those are the moments where you really bond together, too, and earn the title of puppy mama.

We are so excited to get her and love her through the transition--introduce her to her new "big" sister, Maggie, and her new home. What an adventure this is going to be!

She's an Irish Wolfhound, like the one I grew up with from the age of 2-12, most of my childhood, so I'm very, very familiar with the breed, and LOVE it. Irish Wolfhounds are quite big, as I'm sure you know, but their minds, hearts, and spirits are equally big. My lab, Maggie, reminds me of an IW in those respects--I think they're going to be a perfect pair.

I'll have a few big jobs at first--one of which will be to integrate her with Maggie, and not ever let Maggie feel like she's being cut out. I don't want there to be any jealousy between the two. That's always tough in the beginning because a new puppy just needs so much more time and attention--it's easy to forget about your well-trained companion sitting quietly in the corner.

So, wish me luck--it really is like bringing a new baby home! We'll be getting her here tomorrow night.