Hank tolerates. At 14 he better. And he really has no choice. Ten years I've owned this crabby ol' boy. Ten years worth of arguing and swearing and learning. He'll never be a western pleasure super star, but he'll always be my Hank.
Sara took Mater and Teddy to the APHA show this weekend in southern Wisconsin. Here is Sara tucking Teddy in for the nite. Yes, that's a beer. New Glarus Spotted Cow, no doubt. Yes, we give our beers bovine names. Yes, I'd like another.
On a related note, I'm quietly contented that I'll Have Another was scratched from today's Belmont Stakes. There are several reasons, the most important and obvious being the welfare of the animal. Secondly is the suspense of not having a Triple Crown winner. It's been 34 years since the last winner of the Triple Crown, and I'm in no rush to see another winner. Suspense is good for the sport. I mean really, do you want to see the Packers win the Super Bowl every year? That would get old like last week's bread. And lastly is not having the Triple Crown be awarded to a trainer with a reputation that precedes him.
You see, trainer "Drug" O'Neill's reputation is cloudy, having 25 violations on record and fines in excess of $30k. He's been suspended at Arlington and has a suspension pending in Cali. He's known for countless other violations and has a reputation for pushing too far. Because of his indiscretions, Belmont's stable has been on lockdown.
With this said, I can't help but wonder if O'Neill scratched I'll Have Another to save his reputation. Memories of Barbaro are still crisp in my mind, and some question if Matz pushed him too hard. With O'Neill's checkered reputation, a devastating injury on the doorstep of the Triple Crown would end his training career.
It's been like two months that I haven't posted. What a slack-ass.
Brutal honesty here: I'm Boring.
I read all the blogs listed to the right, and I read blogs linked from those blogs, and I get amused and inspired and I laugh and I envy many photos, and when it comes times for me to write, I feel like my lil' piece of existence is perty boring. So I don't write.
But then I think that my readers (and I thank you, the both of you) maybe, just maybe like to read about the life and times of a small hobby farm and my fear of snakes. And the updates on our horses. And Luci & Austin. And The Cats.
So I'll try to post more. Pitiful, this whining....
So where were we? I can't even remember. But what I do know is that The First APHA Show Of The Season is Almost Here. Sara is exhibiting elevated energy levels that I see every year at this time and have grown accustomed to. Or have learned to avoid. Either way, it's that time of the year again.
Mater is being leased to and shown by Lil' Lisa, a teenager with the horse bug. LL has limited showing experience at a few open shows. She took Mater to two Fuzzy Wuzzy winter shows and cleaned house. However, these breed shows are several steps up from the local winter shows. I hope she's ready for the competition. And if not, I hope she's ready for the results that may come.
Sara will be showing Big Red Ted. Teddy's been here since October and really has turned out to be a fantastic horse. Not like the others aren't fantastic, but this Teddy has a coolness about him that I can't describe. And he's grown. He's a solid 15.3 now and may get a little taller. He's gonna be Sara's hunt seat horse, and he's got all the right moves for it. Here's a vid from one of the winter shows. This was his first time shown English, and you can see how he moves (and how he handles chaos).
He should do well at the Paint shows.
Tucker the Terrible Two Year Old is just what you'd expect from a two year old. Sometimes mouthy, spooky, pushy, other times a perfect specimen of a young horse. Sara has been doing a lot of ground work with him, getting him used to hula hoops, tarps, and attack cats. He's a fantastic mover and a horrible clutz all at the same time. Typical two year old.
Aside from that, we're just truckin along. The grass is green, Wisconsin's state flower is blooming, and we've removed the tank heaters from the stock tanks. It must be that short lull between the freezin' seasons. Let's all enjoy it!
Riding my big fat outta shape stubborn pig-headed horse makes me happy.
It's been three full months since I've ridden Hank. He doesn't mind the time off. I've brought him in for the occasional brushing and grooming and the roll in the sandy arena, but he's had no saddle time since our last trek on the trails last fall. Well, the chores were all done, the water tanks were all scrubbed and filled, the hay shed was stocked, and the drylot was scraped clean of the frozen poopturds. It was a beautiful February day: upper 30's, bright sun, and a light breeze. Perfect day for a ride.
I had an argument with Miss Honky Tonk at the gate. She doesn't like to bewhere Hank ain't, so wrasslin' him thru the gate while butt-blocking The Ass is a practice in a yoga like you'll never get in the city. Hank doesn't mind leaving her behind, and I can't blame him. Women can be so demanding at times.
Hank tolerates. Standing tied, currying, brushing, even combing thru histail. He may not approve, but he puts up with me. He'll give the ol' stink eye and crabby ears, but he never moves an inch. Every now and again when he's particularly annoyed or bored he'll lift his left hoof and hold it up for a bit. Many years ago this used to bother me. Now it's "just Hank". He'll stand in those cross ties quietly as I get his big Guffey roping saddle out of the tack room and lug it down the aisle. The stink eye shows it's disapproval, but that's "just Hank". He still gives megrief with the headstall. After all these years he'll still lift his nose just almost out of reach. He takes the bit just fine, but he plays this game of his. It used to bother me, but that's "just Hank". We've learnedto do things in a way that makes him think that it's his decision. Or, we've learned to do things in a way that makes me think that it's my decision. Either way, we get it done.
We rode around the arena for about ten minutes, warming up his legs and brain. It always makes me smile when he shows me that he remembers. It may not be pretty or performed to Sara's standards, but we get it done.
Finally it was time to head out. Hank is in his element on the trail, whether it be banging thru the underbrush or just going down the road.Bright eyes and happy ears, we head on down toward the pond enjoying the unseasonable weather. As we passed the neighbor's pasture a chubby Arabian gelding came trotting up to the fence, nickering as if to say, "I wanna go too." Hank and I didn't have time to visit; we had miles to make. On down the road we went, the random car buzzing by and Hank never batting an eye.
Have I mentioned that he's stubborn? Yeah. He's got his quirks all right. Like his unwillingness to walk by the edge of the road. He always has to walk in the middle of the lane. Always. I'll push him toward the edge, and as soon as I release my leg he drifts back over. Always. If he laid tracks it would look like we'd been drinkin. I don't mind that he walks in the middle, but I'd like him to ride closer to the edge. Have I mentioned that I'm stubborn?
We finally got off the pavement back by the pond. The road in was allmuddy. For February in Wisconsin, mud is a pleasant sight. We're normally frozen solid, like that stuff wrapped in white paper at the back of the freezer. It's a big pond, probably six or seven acres. We made our wayaround it thru the long dead grasses. Not a bit of snow was to be found. Hank just trucked along, happy to be doing his job.
It's not a quiet event, me-n-Hank. We argue like an old married couple inKmart. Sure, he doesn't say much, but we talk plenty. I know what his ears say. I know what that corner of his stink eye says. I know his grunts and snorts, his confident swagger, and his hesitant steps. And I talk back. Not that gooshy-goo baby talk crap that I hear so many horse owner use. I talk to him like I talk to you. But if I was talking to you I'd try to swear less.
When riding out with a group, many will ask Sara who I'm talking to. Shejust smiles and replies, "Just Hank."
Let's face it: I'm Cheap. I have rusty hinges on my wallet. I will be buried with my first dollar I ever earned and if you try to pry it from my cold dead rigored fingers I'll haunt you forever!
Why do I tell you this? Because I have boot envy.
But they are a hunnert bucks! Or more even. A hunnert bucks for some neoprene and rubber? No way even. Not this guy.
I've resigned myself to the realization that I'll never own a pair and slog on thru the mud in my uninsulated mud boots that I scored at TSC for $10.99. They're good boots. Their pliable rubber keeps the mud and wet away from my feet, but don't do shit for the cold. And it gets cold as shit here.
Just before Christmas I was at the Man's Mall and noticed that they were blowing out all the winter gear. You know how stores are - they get the Halloween stuff out in August and the swim trunks out in January. Anyway, what did I spy on the clearance shelf?
And $24.95! And in my size! You didn't have to ask me twice. Into the cart they went. Christmas was coming home with me.
So why did I need these when I have a perfectly good pair of Rocky Mountain 1200 gram Thinsulate ice-grabbin cold-stompin boots in the basement? Why? It's all about efficiency. I like pull-on boots. Quick and easy, just shloomp and your foot is in. My Rocky's have fourteen feet of shoe laces on each boot. I don't have the time (or patience) to sit down and lace up boots at 4:30 in the morning when I can just shloomp a pair and go. And I don't have the time (or patience) to sit down and unlace when I get back in and my glasses are fogged up and the dogs are trying to help me and I have to pee. Relate?
So I'm all happy with my new Columbia Drylights. Or am I? This post wouldn't be interesting without some twist. Give me a minute while I hobble over to the coffee pot....
Hobble? Yes, hobble. Seems my new besties are a bit lacking. Plenty of heart, but no sole.
Damned near like moccasins. I've got a big ol' bruise right in the middle of mine foot. It hurts, but only when I move, so most of the time I'm ok. How'd I do it? Well, lemme tell ya: I was cleaning the drylot with my Lil' Blue Tractor last weekend. I've got a handy-dandy landscape rake, and it works great for cleaning up all the manure and scraps of uneaten hay. The lil' frozen poopturds follow along in an orderly fashion while I drag them to the corner to be piled up and become future garden soil. I had to stop and move somethin or the other, so I hopped of the tractor and landed just perfectly on one of those lil' frozen poopturds and my clearance-rack boots with their moccasin bottoms offered no support and I got a big ol' bruise on the bottom of my foot.
So, as I sit here guzzling coffee and trying to think of something to write about, I'll offer you some random pics of the happenings around here.
The little garden shed got painted. With the house and barn all tan, we thought we'd mix things up a bit and go with green on the shed.
And the big shed got a new steel roof. The old shingled roof was so bad that the insurance company wouldn't even cover it. The fella we hired did a nice job, considering this old shed was built by two farmers in the 50's that didn't own a square and a tape measure between them. The roof peak snakes like, well, a snake, and the tamarack timbers used for roof beams made for a very uneven roof deck. Lines were run over the low spots and shims were nailed to the existing roof to try as best to level the surface before the steel was fastened down. It looks good and matches the barn now. Next summer we'll put steel on the front. Or paint it. I dunno yet.
And that car? The cool white one? The SHGN WGN? That's my daily driver. Finally, after five years of freezing my tookus, we got the heater fixed. I can now drive in relative comfort and not have to scrape the inside of the window to see.