This blog is dedicated to my friend, my mentor, and the best teacher I have ever had. Without him, I would not have embarked on this amazing journey. Split, this blog is for you!
Ponderosa Misty Icon, aka "Split," is a handsome gray Welsh pony who came to me via a phone call "out of the blue" (actually Peterborough, Ontario). Our first few months together were rocky to say the least, which made me question my ability as a horse owner, as a horsewoman, and as a rider. Forty years of horse ownership had not prepared me for this little gray pony!
But we muddled through and because of Split, I have begun a journey that is both spiritual and enlightening. I hope something here resonates with you and that you'll check back now and then.
We leave you with one of our favorite quotes: "The best whisper is a click!"

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Deadliest Click???

Click! You get a peppermint! Click! You get an apple slice! Click! You get a hay stretcher pellet! Click! Click! Click!
Those people at amazon.com must be clicker trainers. You know that little box that says "Buy With One Click?" Think about that..........CLICK! Wow! I just ordered a hundred dollars worth of books with ONE CLICK! Amazing! Let's do that again! That was fun!
Someone on one of the horse lists or the AC list recommends a book......CLICK! It's mine! And it gets delivered right to my door! CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! My husband had been searching the local libraries for a particular book about the Battle of the Bulge with no success. Being a fan of the click, I said, "I'll take care of this for ya!" CLICK! "Ok, you'll have your book within 3 days." "Really?" says he. "That's amazing!" No, that's the power of the click!!!!!!!!! LOL I'm clickin'! And amazon.com is slowly but surely gaining control of my credit card and depleting my bank account. CLICK! Yep, I think there's a clicker trainer on their staff.

Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
Mark Twain
(apropos of nothing but I do love Mark Twain and I'm the only one who reads this anyway! LOL)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What's On YOUR Jammies?

Last night I was sitting in the living room reading a book when my husband happened to walk by. He stopped, backed up and said, "What's all over your pajamas?" I looked down and discovered that there was hay all over my fleece jammie pants!"Uh, hay..." I replied. I'd worn my pajamas out to the barn to do the night feeding. He stared at me for a sec and went, "Oh," and kept walking. The sight of his wife's pj's covered in hay didn't faze him a bit, nor, apparently, did the realization that I was probably going to get into bed with hay still clinging to my "lingerie." (Flannel and fleece.......tres sexy, oui?)
My 3 daughters have given up on trying to pound any sort of fashion sense into my my hard, little head. Instead, they just roll their eyes, sigh, make snide remarks.......
When my middle daughter began planning her wedding, I was informed that she would take me shopping herself to make sure that I purchased an "appropriate" mother of the bride dress. According to her, clean jeans and a Ralph Lauren polo shirt are NOT appropriate wedding wear. Who knew?
Several years ago my youngest daughter participated in community theater. I would have to pick her up after rehearsals and since it was during the winter, I always wore my boots.
Said boots are pretty much what I live in when the temps go below 30 degrees so you can imagine how they look and smell after several months of barn cleaning. I actually didn't notice. However, I guess when you stand around in a hot, crowded lobby for 10 or 15 minutes, barn boots give off a certain "aroma" as they warm up. My daughter asked indignantly if I was purposely trying to embarrass her, showing up looking and smelling like a farmer??!! And, "Please, for God's sake, STOP WEARING THOSE BOOTS!"
I'm used to my family going, "Pssst! Pssst!" at public functions like concerts or plays or church or when dining out. "Psst! Psssssst! You have hay in your hair." "What?" "HAY! IN. YOUR. HAIR." "Oh, OK." Rolling eyes. Shaking heads. Glances of disgust.
My idea of "beauty treatment" is to show up at Fantastic Sam's every few months and get a few inches of my hair trimmed and my bangs evened out. Apparently manicure scissors don't do such a hot job. But my horses and dogs don't seem to mind that quite often my hair looks like I let a few mice chew on it.
Hay on my pj's? Big deal. What's on YOUR jammies??

"Fashion condemns us to many follies; the greatest is to make oneself its slave."
Napoleon Bonaparte (not Napoleon Dynamite.....GOSH!!!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Can You Stand One More..................

.....story about how my pets found me?
After Toby died, my grandparents didn't go in search of another dog. But one came in search of them! A female yellow lab limped up their driveway one morning and just made herself at home. Nana and Grandpa tried to find her owner but no one ever came forward so they named their new dog "Cindy" and made her a part of the family. Cindy was another dog with whom I "clicked" instantly. (I do believe in love at first sight!) She would do all sorts of tricks for me and I was the only one who could get her to "speak." I'd raise my hand in the air lightly and say, "Speak, Cindy!" and she'd let out this big old bark. No one else could get her to do that, even if they imitated my body language. She'd just look at them as though thinking, "Idiot," and ignore them. I went off to college and then got married but I still visited my grandparents as often as possible, spending much of my time with them just sitting with Cindy or taking her for long walks. Cindy died in 1980, I believe, and by then I was convinced that my next dog (after Zack, that is) would be a yellow lab. Life, as it turns out, had other plans..............
We got Molly just before Zack died. Molly was a gift from a well-known breeder of field trial springers (a friend of John's family) and was a small, hyper, unpredictable sort of dog. I never connected with her at all and it turns out that she wasn't that great a hunter, either. Despite my husband's best attempts at training her, she was determined to do things her own way. She would often run away and we wouldn't see her for days at a time and then suddenly there she'd be, sitting our our kitchen step, patiently waiting to be let into the house. She thought nothing of biting anyone who came to our door although she was patient with our children. Molly was a "trial" springer, alright!
My grandmother died on Dec. 5, 1995; Molly died Dec. 24, 1995. And there I was with no grandmother and no dog............
Just before Christmas that year, my mom phoned to say that Nana had left each of us grandchildren $500 and we would be getting a check in the mail shortly. I received mine and put it in a drawer, not sure what I would do with the money.
New Year's day 1996 my brother-in-law called to tell us that after 18 months of research, he'd found a breeder of yellow and black labs up in Maine and had just agreed to purchase a puppy from him. The breeder had one yellow lab pup left and Steve (B-I-L) remembered how I always said I wanted a yellow lab so he thought he'd mention it since Molly had just died...........Were we interested? We called the breeder and yes, he had one yellow lab left, a female. Price? $500!! Coincidence? I THINK NOT! John turned to me and said, "Are you willing to spend your grandmother's money on a yellow lab?" WILLING??
My grandmother had arranged all this! WILLING??? This was my grandmother's last gift to me!! And that's how Sassy came into our lives. She was another of my anam caras.
She died a year ago, at the age of 14. She lives on in my heart. I sense her presence when the geese are honking on the pond in the spring (she loved to chase them!), when the leaves turn colors in the fall (she loved to go for walks with me), and when I'm out snowshoeing in the winter (she loved to lay in the snow and roll and roll and roll....). She's there........somewhere...........always and forever............

Soon or later, every dog's master's memory becomes a graveyard; peopled by wistful little furry ghosts that creep back unbidden, at times, to a semblance of their olden lives.

Albert Payson Terhune

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Toby showed up in my grandparents' yard when I was a kid. He was bedraggled and scrawny and half-grown so of course Nana and Grandpa took him in. He rewarded them with many years of love and devotion. He also became my best friend. When I visited my grandparents (which was pretty much every weekend I could), Toby and I were joined at the hip. My visits were the only occasions in which he was allowed to sit on the furniture. We would sit side by side on the sofa or in the old red recliner, watching Saturday afternoon bowling with Grandpa or Lawrence Welk with Nana and Aunt Marion on Saturday nights, sharing a bowl of popcorn. And when I went upstairs to bed, Toby went with me. He'd jump up on the bed and curl up against my back and stay there til we were both lured downstairs the next morning by the smell of pancakes and bacon. I was never sure what kind of dog Toby was but in retrospect, I think he was probably some sort of pit bull mix. He had that beautiful brindling and a very muscular build. He was protective to a fault, too! Lord help anyone who came into the yard without permission from my grandparents! I never saw him bite anyone but that growl and the raised hackles clearly said, "Step away from the family!" One word from Grandpa, however, and Toby would be as friendly as could be.
Toby and I wandered all over the place together - through the woods and meadows around my grandparents' house; down to the brook on hot summer days.........I once heard my grandmother say that if they couldn't find me, they just called the dog. He'd come running with me not far behind.
Toby was at least 18 when he died. I remember that my family was surprised at my seeming lack of sadness at the time. Of course I was sad but I couldn't tell them that I knew Toby was going to go; I knew his time here on Earth was up. Toby told me that himself! I was prepared. He didn't want me to wail and gnash my teeth; he wanted me to let him go in dignity and serenity. He wanted me to know that he would always live on in my heart. I was afraid to say that aloud. In fact, this is the first time I've told anyone that Toby spoke to me.
I don't know why I'm on a roll about passed pets this week...............Maybe they're all visiting me or something. I know this, though....once you've loved an animal, it's part of you. Forever.

For those who love dogs, it would be the worst form of a lie to call any place where dogs were banned "Paradise." Certainly no loving God would separate people from their canine friends for eternity.

Stanley Coren, dog psychologist

Monday, February 21, 2011

How I Got Zack

Well, that's not a very interesting title, is it? But it sort of came to me............LOL
When I met my husband (many moons ago!), his family had 2 dogs, a beagle and a black and white springer spaniel named Bridgie. Bridgie was a dog of the first magnitude! I'd never met a dog like her before and I doubt I'll ever meet another like her again in this life time. She could literally read your mind!! It was uncanny! She and I connected instantly and I think visiting the Haydens was as much about being able to spend time with Bridgie as it was about seeing my boyfriend, John (now my husband). After we were married, John invited my dad to go bird hunting with him and Bridgie. He told my dad, "Watch Bridgie. When she's about to put up a bird, her entire rear end will start wiggling, then she'll turn and look at you for a few seconds which means 'I'm about to put that bird up. Get ready.' And the next thing you'll hear or see is that bird going up. Don't mess up or she gets really mad." My father was amused by this and thought John was pulling his leg. Well.......Pretty soon, my dad sees Bridgie stop and start wiggling that stumpy tail. She turned, looked him in the eyes for a few seconds, and then darted forward. It was so quick that the bird was up and away before my dad could raise his shotgun! My father said he'll never forget what happened next. Bridgie very slowly turned to face my him and gave him this glare that clearly indicated, "You idiot! I TOLD you I was going to put that bird up! How could you miss it?" She locked eyes with him and just GLARED! My husband was laughing uproariously and said, "I TOLD YOU!" For the rest of the afternoon, Bridgie would only look at John before she put up a bird and after John got off the shot, Bridgie would give my dad the look of disgust. Clearly, he had failed her test!!
Bridgie died of cancer in 1976. I was devastated. My husband was in grad school at the time and we lived in a dingy old apartment on the 2nd floor of a house in Burlington, VT. There was no way we could have a dog there but just before Christmas, John called me at work and said he'd like to get me a springer puppy and his parents had agreed to keep it at their farm while he finished up grad school (another 2 years). I was ecstatic! A new pet store had just opened up on Church St. so on my lunch hour, I walked over to see if they had any springer pups. Sure enough.......there sat 2 chubby liver and white bundles of joy! The place was very crowded so I didn't ask if I could hold either of them but simply sat and watched them wrestling and romping around in their cage. The next day I dragged John to the store and asked the clerk if I could hold the pups. He told me that the female had been sold but the male was available. The second that puppy was in my arms, we claimed each other! I could feel his warm little body squirming against my chest and he wouldn't stop licking my face and making little puppy noises about how happy he was to see me! Finally he started contentedly gnawing on my zipper pull. John asked the deciding question....."How much?" When he heard "$400," his face went white and he said, "Give the dog back. We can do better from a private breeder." Need I tell you that my heart was broken?? Or that I cried off and on for days to no avail? Ah, well, such is life...............
Six months later, John again called me at work and said, "Since your birthday is coming up, I'd still like to get you a springer. Why don't you go through the phone book (remember those? LOL) and see if you can find the names of breeders?" Instead, I figured I'd save time and call the Humane Society and ask if they knew of any local springer breeders. I opened my conversation with, "Hi! I'm looking for a springer spaniel and........" I was rudely cut off with the words, "How did you find out about this?" Naturally, I was taken aback and said, "Uh......I have no idea what you're talking about. I just wanted to know if you know any breeders in the area." The tone of the conversation quickly changed from defensive to friendly as I explained about losing Bridgie and wanting another springer and that my dog would be living on a 200 acre farm in southern Vermont, etc. The woman said, "Well, we do have one springer but he's not listed on our flyer because he's not up for general adoption. He has.....uh....some issues. We can't let him go to just anyone." She told me that he was very bull-headed and hard to train. (Hmmm......so are most people. ha ha) I told her I'd love to see him anyway if it was OK. John picked me up from work that evening and we appeared at the Humane Society at the appointed time. The woman said, "Just be prepared because this dog has had a very sad life. He's spent the last six months tied to a wood stove by a short length of rope because his 80 year old owner had no control of him. He's very hyper and has no manners." Totally undeterred, I said, "Ok. Let's see him." She opened the door to the dog's cage but before she could get a grip on his collar, the most beautiful liver and white springer looked at me, burst past the worker, ran down the aisle, and literally launched himself into my arms!!! I got down on my knees and this dog was licking my face and squirming and whining.............
I was smitten! I said, "He's beautiful! Where in the world did he come from?" "Oh," she said, "Some old man bought him at the pet store on Church Street last Christmas." My heart almost stopped beating! It was MY PUPPY!!! The one I'd wanted all along! When I told the woman at the Humane Society, she was incredulous and told me that obviously he was meant to be my dog so "let's go fill out the paper work."
Zack was with us for 8 years. He lived happily on the family farm while John finished grad school and then moved with us to Windsor, Vermont where he was never far from me. We were inseparable at that point. Sadly, Zack inexplicably wandered out of the yard one day
and was hit by a car. I never did figure out why he left the yard - he never did that and I've never quite gotten over it. Even as I'm finishing up typing this, I will admit that I'm in tears. I still miss that old goof ball and I always will.
Go give your dog a hug today!!!!
I miss you, Zack! You were and always will be my anam cara!

Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.
-- Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Believe It Or Not............

The story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent.........LOL!! ("Dragnet" was very popular when I was a kid!)
Some of you are going to read this and go, "Yeah, right. Karleen is really off her nut this time!" But that's OK. There's time for you to become believers............. :0)
Split has always had an amazing aura about him. I can't see it but I can definitely feel it. Once we figured each other out, we connected in a way that continues to amaze and astound me. When my old yellow lab was in the last year of her life, she was almost totally deaf and was losing her sight to cataracts. But she didn't let that stop her from enjoying life! She still loved to go to the barn with me and hang out in the paddock, gnawing on choice pieces of horse poo, wandering down to the pond and wading in the shallow water, or simply sitting in the sun at the top of the hill just beside the paddock. One spring afternoon I was cleaning the paddock (once the snow melts, I refer to my paddock as "Mt. Manure") and had gone into sort of a "zen-like trance" when I felt Split nudge my back gently. Thinking that he wanted to play, I said, "Split. Not now," and continued shoveling. Again he nudged me in the back. "Split. Not now!" He then gave me a fairly good shove and trotted over to the fence line facing the road and just stared. I was puzzled by his behavior and followed his gaze...........only to see poor old Sassy, confused and lost, wandering INTO THE ROAD!! I ran as fast as I could and grabbed her collar just as she reached the middle of the road - thank goodness there is little or no traffic at that time of day! Had Split not alerted me to Sassy's wandering, who knows where she might have ended up!! Naturally, I apologized to Split for not listening to him sooner. He accepted my apology - and a mint, of course!
Another time, Sassy fell on the ice on our pond while I was picking the paddock and again I was oblivious..........Split came trotting over to me, shook his head, and then trotted over to the fence line facing the pond and again just stared. I followed, knowing he was trying to tell me something, and sure enough, there was poor old Sassy flopping around on the ice like a beached whale. She didn't have the strength to pull herself up and her legs and back were so arthritic that they couldn't support her when she even got part-way up. I ran out and helped her up and walked her back into the meadow. How did Split know to come and get me? I don't know.......but he did!
Yesterday was a nice day here but I was feeling "under the weather" due to a cold so wasn't up to snowshoeing. However, it was sunny and fairly warm so I decided to hitch Jelly out at the barn so she could sniff around and soak up some UV's. I have a permanent hitching area for her; she can potter around outside or go inside and burrow in the big pile of straw we left there for her. I can see her from my living room window so I check on her frequently. I looked out at one point and couldn't see Jelly anywhere. Sometimes when she goes in the barn, you can't tell where she is so I stepped to the door and called her name. Nothing. I called and whistled. Nothing. I felt that little tingle of panic.....what if she'd gotten off her hitch? I decided to ask for some help so I hollered, "Split!" He came trotting to the fence, shook his head and nickered. I yelled across my big back yard, "I need you to go in the barn and tell Jelly to come to the door and let me know she's OK." (You're thinking I'm crazy, I know.) Split shook his head, backed up, turned and disappeared into the barn. Two seconds later, Jelly appeared in the barn doorway and stared at me. I yelled, "Just checking!" and Jelly went back into the barn. Split came to the fence and stared at me so I yelled a hearty, "Thank you, buddy!" He shook his head at me again and returned to his hay.
Split is my anam cara...my soul friend. Thank you, buddy!

I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the "lower animals" (so called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me. ~Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth, 1907

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Science Proves It!

We all have an emotional connection with our animals but now there's scientific proof of just how strong that bond is!!! Take a moment to check out this article. I was fascinated by it. Not that WE need a scientific study to prove what we already know!!! LOL

http://www.horsecon nection.com/ site/archive/ story-aug07. html

Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem.

Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Monday, February 14, 2011


NQR....no, it's not a new public radio station. NQR means "Not Quite Right." My friend, Laurel, uses NQR to describe that feeling you get in your gut that lets you know that something's "not quite right" with your horse.........or your life..........or whatever. NQR is that little "niggling" in your mind that says, "Warning! Warning! Something's wrong!" It's the alarm that clues you in and tries to tell you what's going to happen before what happens happens. How many of us ignore that NQR feeling and then find ourselves in trouble, floundering, wondering "how the h-e-double-hockey-sticks did THIS happen?" Guilty as charged, that's me!
Laurel has often used NQR when talking about how she uses CAT (Constructional Approach Technique) when dealing with abused animals; animals whose minds have shut down to the point where they believe that their only option when dealing with humans is to lash out in anger and aggression - to "get them before they get me!" Those NQR feelings have alterted Laurel to potentially dangerous situations and allowed her to back away or redirect her energies.
We all get those NQR feelings. Reflecting over my past 42 years with horses, I began to realize that it was when I ignored the NQR's that I got myself into trouble! I allowed someone else or even my own twisted little brain to talk me out of listening to the NQR. I let people mock my NQR's and decided to push the feelings aside. That's when I would usually end up "riding the ground" or having a horrible training session or wishing I'd taken up chess instead of riding. Had I listened to the NQR the first year I had Split, I probably wouldn't have been run away with. As soon as I brought him into the barn that day, the NQR kicked in very strongly but I shoved it aside and allowed my "twisted brain" to take over and talk me into feeling foolish; it told me that I was a very capable rider; that I could no longer allow horses to frighten me or intimidate me (loooooooooong story - see previous posts).............The NQR kept popping up and saying, "You'll be sorry. You'll be sorry." Split was nervous, snorting, prancing, shying at everything. I KNEW something wasn't right but I CHOSE to ignore all the warning signs. They were there - like neon signs blinking over our heads - but I chose not to see them. So when I got into trouble that day, who did I blame? Why, my pony, of course!!! Hindsight. It's a great thing and is always 20/20.
But it's not just about avoiding dangerous situations. NQR is also that feeling you get when you know someone is angry with you but you can't quite figure out why. It's how you intuit when someone is ill before they actually exhibit symptoms. It's how you know your kids are lying to you! LOL
This fall I went out to give Split and Jingle their night feed. I looked at Split and immediately, that NQR feeling kicked in. There was nothing I could put my finger on.....I took his temp (normal), felt his feet and legs (cool - no swelling), stood off to one side and just watched him eat. Nothing. But still, there it was.....NQR. I mentioned it to my husband who said, "If he's eating and drinking and pooping, I'm sure he's fine." The next morning, Split appeared as usual for his hay but again....NQR. Repeated all "exams" from the night before..................nothing. NQR. It bugged me all day. I checked that pony all day until I thought, "Hmmm......maybe it really IS my imagination." Saturday morning.............
Poor Split!!! Stocked up all around so that he could hardly walk; temp 104!!!!! Yikes!!!
Turns out he had erlichiosis - a tick-borne disease which, this year, was epidemic during the fall. It's treated by dosing the animal with antibiotics and banamine (for the temp) and within 48 hours, Split was right back to his normal self. NQR.
NQR......Not Quite Right. If you get that NQR feeling in your gut, LISTEN TO IT! Step back and take a deep breath and reassess the situation. It could save you a whole lot of trouble......or bodily damage! LOL
Well, I'll get off the soapbox now. I'm running late this morning but wanted to get my thoughts about NQR down before they became "WTF was I thinking about" thoughts! ha ha ha At my age....could happen!!!
Enjoy the day, friends!
I feel there are two people inside me - me and my intuition. If I go against her, she'll screw me every time, and if I follow her, we get along quite nicely. Kim Basinger

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Play's The Thing

For those of you who don't know, I'm the Drama Club director for a local elementary school. This year's production is "Annie, Jr." I swore I'd rather suck an egg than do that play again, yet here I am......for about the 6th time! LOL Some of us are just gluttons for punishment.
My predecessor was known for her sharp tongue, her never-ending criticism of the students, her yelling and screaming at both children and adults (yup, she yelled at me many times over the years) and her famous, "UGH! I can't take this anymore!" while she turned and left the auditorium. She put on great plays and the kids learned to sing and dance (they reminded me of animals on "auto pilot" sometimes, tho), but by the time the curtain went up, nerves were frayed, kids were in tears, and we teachers who were the "co-directors" were threatening to never, ever do this again!
The director finally retired the year after I did and the teachers asked me to take over Drama Club. What a great honor! I agreed but said that I was no "she who must be obeyed" and that it wasn't going to be a "one woman" show.....I would need EVERYONE'S help and that I couldn't guarantee that my shows would be as "spectacular" as hers. No matter, they were happy to have me back as part of their team.
This is my 3rd play as Drama Club director and I must say that all of the clicker trainers I've met and worked with along the way have added to my understanding, patience, and willingness to let the kids have fun and work things out for themselves. As a director, I feel that my job is to guide everyone along, to make suggestions, to teach acting skills, and to try to instill a sense of confidence and self-worth in each child, whether they're the star or a member of the chorus. I got to thinking the other day how much like clicking it has become for me. I don't have a clicker when I direct but I do have a voice and I find myself shouting out, "Yes! Great use of body language!" "Wonderful! Keep going!" "That's it! You got it!" all the time. I find that the kids now listen for this and they'll smile at me and give me a little bit more. They've all become used to me tossing out bits of encouragement in the middle of a scene and will simply continue on - while smiling and accepting the compliment.
Sometimes, a few kids will come to me and tell me that they got together outside of school and worked on a dance routine for themselves and can they use it in the play? As the children become more and more confident, they begin to offer more and more of their own creativity............They "offer behaviors!" It's so much fun!
I'm finding that the mind-set behind clicking and rewarding positive behavior is spilling over into all facets of my life. It's definitely helped to define me as a director.....instead of finding and criticizing all the negative things during rehearsal, I now automatically look for and verbally reward the good things! It's taken the pressure off the kids and let them know that it's OK to make a mistake; it's OK to offer an opinion about their lines or their scene; it's OK to laugh and have fun!!! Sound familiar????????
Thank you, all my clicker/CAT mentors! I've learned SO MUCH from you and I look forward to continuing to learn from everyone who crosses my path during this fabulous journey!!!

The theater is so endlessly fascinating because it's so accidental. It's so much like life.
Arthur Miller

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hay, Let's Be Polite!

With our most recent storm, the snow accumulation in our area of upstate NY is right around 4'!! I don't have an indoor arena or a big barn aisle so clicker activities are limited to, uh.........well, not much, actually! LOL I do some review stuff like "back up, please," or "Grown Ups Are Talking" (my personal favorite) but that's about it right now.
As you all know, I have a very smart, very loving and kind Welsh pony who is quite willing to try just about anything I ask of him. However, "smart" and "pony" can also lead to some shenanigans! Split has learned to wait politely for his hay, however, he used to run up and literally yank the flake out from under my arm, and lately, whether out of boredom or just to keep me on my toes, he's resorted to doing that again! Snow or no snow, bored or not, that just isn't acceptable. AHA! This is something we can work on! I started by walking toward the stall door with hay under my arm. When Split ran up to the door, I retreated and just stood there. When he backed up a few steps, I approached the door, and so on. He finally figured out that the hay was NOT going to come to him if he impolitely demanded it! As soon as he figured out that he had to stand away from the door and wait, I went into the stall. OOPS! Bold boy that he is, he snatched a mouthful of hay and ran away! ha ha ha Clearly this would not do, either. So, next round (next feeding, that is), I waited til he stood away from the door, opened it, took a step or 2 into the stall......as soon as Split came forward for his "free grab," I stepped back and shut the stall door.
Hmmmm..........The thing is, at no time was Split angry or aggressive......he was just "having me on" as I've heard them say on Brit TV. I think he knew I was missing our clicking so he gave me something to play with. Anyway............All of this morphed into: Split sees me get the hay; he walks outside and waits; I bring him the hay; we do "Grown Ups Are Talking" for a few seconds and he stands quietly and politely (after all, this was HIS idea of a game, not mine! LOL) and I click and deliver his dinner. It's actually been fun to review all of this with him and I'm looking forward to what he thinks up for us next!!
And Jingle the mini donk? As always, she simply waits for her dinner to be delivered, always patient, always happy, always thankful. After all, she IS the Queen!!!

To carry his load without resting, not to be bothered by heat or cold and always be content: these three things we can learn from a donkey
Indian Proverb

Friday, February 4, 2011


Got snow? We're up to our arse ends in the stuff these days! Yikes! I tried to take Jelly out for a walk yesterday but both of us ended up struggling and finally giving up. Even with snowshoes on I sunk to my knees and poor Jelly totally disappeared!! She had to literally "doggie paddle" her way thru the snow! I ended up picking her up and carrying her to "safety."
It's been a long time since I've seen a snowfall like this here in the Northeast. When I was a kid, this was standard operating procedure. I have old photos of me when I was 6 or 7 years old, standing beside the snow banks in front of my grandparents' house and those were monster snow banks! We just got used to it. It was WINTER, for heaven's sake and we lived in Vermont! It was to be expected. And I'd never even heard of a "snow day" as a day off from school. This was Vermont! It snowed so deal with it! LOL
Poor Split and Jingle have a very small space outside the barn where they've trampled down enough snow to stand outside and doze in the sun. Split will run and buck and fart and play in the stuff but poor little Jingle the mini donk is pretty much "confined to quarters," i.e., she has the barn and the little spot outside the stall door. The snow is up past her belly!!!!
Well, this, too, shall pass. For now, Jelly and I will be walking around the local tech park with their cleared roads and slow-moving traffic. At least we'll be getting exercise and some UV's. Split and Jingle will eat and doze and just do whatever horses do in the winter. Thank goodness they're both extremely fuzzy critters - no blankets needed. Split will eat his hay outside in any weather - snow, sleet, rain, wind gusts of 50 mph! ha ha He's a trouper, that one! Jingle? She prefers the coziness of the barn. She's no fool!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! If you're a football fan, I just have this to say.....
GO PACKERS!!!!!!!!!
I idolized Vince Lombardi during my high school years and think this quote of his applies not just to football but to those of us who work with horses as well:

Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.
Vince Lombardi

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!

I would like to thank Kate (ayearwithhorses.blogspot.com) for giving me "The Stylish Blogger Award!" What fun! There are some rules...........

There are four rules with this award:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back.
2. Tell 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award on to 15 (newly-discovered) great bloggers.
4. Notify those to whom you gave the award.

Here are 7 things about myself:

1. I am a native Vermonter. I can trace my roots back to the 1700's when David Crowninshield (from Salem, MA) came to the Hampshire Land Grants (now Guilford, VT). From there the family spread out to Jamaica, Townshend, and Bondville, Vermont.
We own property in Sunderland, Stratton, and Holland, Vermont and hope to someday retire to our beloved Green Mountains.

2. I've been married for 37 years (!!) and have 3 adult daughters. My husband is a college professor (biochemistry and cell biology) and I'm a retired first grade teacher.

3. I play the fife with the Village Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps and know such arcane facts as: "Chester" was originally our country's national anthem, and the music for "The Star Spangled Banner" was originally an English drinking song called "Anacreon in Heaven."
I do Revolutionary War re-enacting and have participated in events at Ft. Ticonderoga, Ft. Niagara, Ft. George (Canada) and Colonial Williamsburg.

4. I love frogs and toads and can identify any frog of the northeast simply by hearing its call. (LOL! Sad but true.)

5. I am profoundly deaf without my hearing aides.

6. I'm known for my movie speak:
"You know it, I know, Yellow Dog knows it." "You know it, I know it. Yellow Dog doesn't even know what town he lives in."
"I don't KNOW, Margo!"
"Short cut to the short cut."
"Wish I had a million dollars! HOT DOG!"
LOL! Weird, I know. I could go on and on.

7. I always wanted to be an archaeologist and would love to spend a summer digging at Jamestown, Virginia.

I honestly don't know 15 other bloggers but will recommend these for the Stylish Blogger Award:


Check them out! And be sure to check out Karen's blog as well.
This has been fun!!!

I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.
Jack Benny