June 29, 2018
June 28, 2018
The veterinarian came out to the ranch today. Fancy (above) and a few others had some dental and other assorted work done. Cora got a "new owner wellness check," which she passed with flying colors, and a couple vaccines. She twitched on both (twelve hundred or so pounds makes for a big twitch), which we expected - she doesn't like to get hurt - but other than that she did pretty well. Good heart, good lungs, good teeth, and the vet tech thought she was sweet.
Today was one of the busiest days I've seen at the ranch. We had a group of church volunteers working on a trail and we had a truck pull in with 18 round bales (I was holding Joy at the time and she totally started dancing) along with the vet check and a couple regular clients. Normally when I get Cora from her paddock she comes right over and waits for her halter, but with all the activity today she was like, naaaah, I'm good. Which I understood - when I was mucking Aria and Sunny's paddock earlier all the background buzzing was making me wonder if having a bunch of visitors all at once is one of those things monks work super hard to be grateful for, you know, good practice. I mean, it's easier to be all zen when your daily companions are contemplatives. And I always try to bear in mind that for more than a few of those people today was one of the most memorable days of their lives. It's always a privilege to spend time with horses. One of the teenage girls gave us a nice pencil drawing of a horse and said she just wanted to give something back. I put it up on the whiteboard in the barn. :)
I'm pulling an extra feeding shift tonight - I'll get to see how Cora is feeling after her shots along with how Fancy and the others are doing after their sedatives wear off. Ugh.
All is well.
June 27, 2018
We played "stand on your mat" today. Mules are known for knowing where their feet are and her natural inclination is to go around, so we did a lot of back-and-forth dancing to get her to step on it. No halter or rope, just pressure and release. Another way to do this exercise is to wait and reward when she approaches the mat by happenstance or curiosity but that takes a while and gosh it's hot.
June 26, 2018
Cora touched a brand new target ten times in less than ten minutes this afternoon. We used a 12-inch square rubber tile which I hope to have her place a front hoof on within the next few sessions. I was holding it low today; transitioning from a touch with the nose to a touch with a hoof is next.
I like my horoscope this week from Free Will Astrology. Virgos rock:
Stage magicians may seem to make a glass of wine hover in midair, or transform salt into diamonds, or make doves materialize and fly out of their hands. It's all fake, of course - tricks performed by skilled illusionists. But here's a twist on the old story: I suspect that for a few weeks, you will have the power to generate effects that may, to the uninitiated, have a resemblance to magic tricks - except that your magic will be real, not fake. And you will have worked very hard to accomplish what looks easy and natural. And the marvels you generate will, unlike the illusionists', be authentic and useful.
"Well, don't let's spoil the show with any silly old not believing," said Gerald with decision. "I'm going to believe in magic as hard as I can..."
-The Enchanted Castle, Edith Nesbit, 1907
June 23, 2018
June 22, 2018
June 21, 2018
June 20, 2018
June 19, 2018
June 18, 2018
The mares got into the round bales over the weekend and chewed the protective mesh netting off of several, which makes them nearly impossible to move without falling apart. When I got to my car at the end of my shift I still had hay stuck in my hat.
Cora is awesome. Awesome. We've been doing a little positive reinforcement training, touching a target - today I threaded a bandana through the end of a dressage whip and she got it right away. We're going to keep working on "touch" and then we'll also start working on backing and head lowering. (I have a book. She already steps back and forward on request beautifully but we're taking it step by step.) We've been walking nicely together on a lead rope lately too.
Rumor's owner Kelly made the arch for her son's wedding and gave it to the ranch. Up close and in person it's a work of art. Makes everything around it feel sacred. There are three baby red-tailed hawks on the property right now - they like to sit on it and yell.