Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Autumn Days of Sunshine

And Warmth

Once again we had some lovely weather. I wasn't feeling well over the weekend, but I seem to have recovered so I was able to enjoy the sunshine and temperatures hovering in the low 50's.

This morning Christine and I rode out on Nordisk and JJ.  We came over here behind my house on the ride. Withe the cornfields cut, there are lots of trail options so we crossed over the the field from the pumpkin patch. Nordie had never seen pumpkins before and was eyeing them with decided suspicion. He was really good about them, and cute with his alert and, "Hey, what are those orange things?" attitude.  JJ, on the other hand was completely content. He'd faced the Great Pumpkin many times before and was not impressed.

Then we rode back along my pasture fence. Despite my calling them, the only one of my three horses who showed up was Chance. He was quite polite when he met Nordie and did not raise too much of a ruckus. However, I did think I saw that back end limp again when he trotted and when I saw him later this evening, I'm pretty sure I was right. Bummer.

After we rode back to the dirt road between fields, we headed towards the trail that circles the farm we saved for preservation. The NJ Turnpike has built a large detention basin there and it's surrounded with black plastic silt fencing. About a month or so ago, Christine and Nordisk had a bad experience out there. At some point, Nordie shied badly at a plastic bag. He spun Chris right off, then managed to crash through  section of silt fence--fortunately not where it was supported by wire fence and metal posts, but rather where it was just the plastic supported by wooden stakes. He got banged up enough to be lame the next day, and he did come back to Chris and her husband aboard Juan, but the affair really traumatized him.

The other day, Chris and her husband were out and rode by that area. Nordie spooked and spun at heaven knows what, but Christ stayed on and settled him down, although he was upset for a while afterwards.

Today, when we got to the beginning of that trail, we had to decide whether to ride by the detention basin again or take another route home. Nordisk definitely wanted to head down the scary road, to Chris indulged him.  He was pretty good for the most part, but twice, he spooked at some clear plastic bags or something in the field. He only did a part spin one time and did a fast back peddle another. Chris stuck with him superbly and once again got him settled. You could see, though, that he was suspicious of everything on the rest of the way home.

The poor kid had really been scared that first time. He now, obviously, has a "thing" about that particular section of the trail. Hopefully if we can get him through there a few more times without any serious incidents, he'll get over it.

This is just one more example of the tremendous impact of a horse's memory. If something has frightened them in the past, it take a lot of time and patience to help them overcome that fear in the future.

I think Nordie will be fine. He just needs some time.

Once I'd gotten two loads of hay in my truck, I got home well before daylight had faded and decided to ride Tucker. I was planning on taking him out along "his" woods trail, but just before I opened the gate, I heard gunshots somewhere out in the woods. But it wasn't one shot and than nothing, It was shot after shot. I have to guess someone was doing some target practice somewhere. And the "somewhere" was the problem. It could well have been in the back of the woods not really far off the trail I was going to ride. It was really hard to tell where the shots were coming from.

I opted out of the real trail ride and instead took Tucker out along the cornfield by the nearest trail and then back home through the trail I usually take to get out to the field. I guess it took less then ten minutes. Then, I rode him in the arena for another ten minutes or so.  He was a pretty good boy all in all, although he really is overdue for the farrier.

I had planned on riding Chance a little too, but with that hind end issue I would have only wanted to go out on a walking trail ride and I didn't want to encounter the shooter with him either.

I really hate hunting season. There seem to be a number of guys around here to just like to shoot for the sake of shooting as they certainly can't be firing that many bullets at a deer. It all gets a bit to scary for my taste.

This is one disadvantage of living with a beautiful State Park behind my house.


  1. Anonymous7:11 PM

    Sounds like you got out and around quite a bit. Shame about the hunters/shooters. We're supposed to be very warm tomorrow, but it's going to rain and I've got music lessons anyway . . .

  2. Thought I saw a "limp" also..sorry to hear that I was not hallucinating..thank you for riding w/me today..

  3. I'm sick of the hunters too. It seems that if you were just shooting a deer when you needed one to eat that's one thing. But these guys just like to shoot a gun and make a lot of noise for no good reason. I'm always afraid half of them don't know what they're doing and someone will get hurt just so they can have fun with their guns. My husband's uncle lived upstate in N.Y. and they actually ate deer all year long. When the hunters came up he would take white paint and write in large letter "COW" on his cows because most of them couldn't tell the difference and he lost some cows to them.

    Glad you got out on a nice ride with your friend. I'm sure after a few more uneventful times Nordisk will feel more confident passing those scary places where he spooked and got hurt. They never forget but maybe he can overcome his fears. Hope Chance is okay.

  4. Yes, bummer about Chance's limp. There's always something with horses.

    Those scary memories are probably what kept many a horse alive when they actually had to fend for themselves. It's one of those things that are hardwired into their brains.

    As for hunters - they scare me too. Guns are plain old scary.

  5. luckily we don't see/hear too many hunters out where we are, because there's so much BLM land, and the deer thankfully choose to not hang out near us! Stay safe...
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  6. the only hunters we have are an organised shoot, after pheasants, with beaters and all that ... horses not bothered (just as well, the other week they were just outside the field shooting away from it, but have come across...) and ours know the difference between pheasants and horses... i don't like guns either.

  7. I live in a State Park too Jean, but thankfully they only shoot birds out in the open moors.

    Hope you are ok, did you get my email yesterday?


    1. Caroline, I just emailed you. I did not get an email yesterday.