Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC
Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Carry On Carry On

I have had loose ligaments in my left ankle since I was a kid and first sprained it jumping down the stairs in my hurry to go on a bike ride with my friend around the neighborhood.  Since then I've re-sprained it many times, and for that reason I always wear lace-up boots for barn chores so that I can cinch the boot tight to support my flimsy ankle.  If I'm not in tightly cinched boots I have paddock boots with half chaps on to support my ankles.  But despite my efforts to remain injury-free, as I was walking in the ponies' flat paddock to toss hay to the horses yesterday I somehow managed to roll my left ankle so that it folded over to the outside completely.  It hurt.  I said several bad words rather loudly, and sat on the ground while Garmin and Cosmo came over to eat the hay I had dropped.  Then the dogs came over to check on me.  Mahzi pounced on me thinking I needed a good wrestle to cheer me up, and Miles quickly got between her and me, allowing me to attempt to compose myself.  Now I have a left ankle that looks more like a large purple potato than a body part.  I mentioned to my friend (who is building my tack room wall) what happened, and I somewhat sheepishly told her I just iced it and wrapped it and kept working.  She gave me a knowing look and said that in ranching circles that's called "workman's comp", that you compensate so you can keep working. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sad Goodbye to Major

This morning I had to say goodbye to my sweet gelding, Major.  With no clear diagnosis despite many tests and after a month of fighting dramatic weight loss, muscle wasting, and severe neurological symptoms that didn't respond to any treatment, we put him down this morning at eighteen years old.  I was standing next to him just before we gave him his final injection, and he curled his neck around me and let me hug his face.  He nuzzled me as he cradled me in his neck, as if to say it was all okay, he was ready to rest.  Major was truly an Iron Horse, working hard and being successful in every aspect of his life.  Or as the vet put it today, he may have been more of a tungsten horse, since he was probably tougher than iron.  Major started life in Kentucky and raced on the tracks there until he was nine, winning huge sums of money over the years.  He retired sound from racing.  Then he went on to be a successful jumper, then an eventer, and after I retired him from eventing he became a phenomenal dressage mount, a quiet trail horse, and my pony horse for starting youngsters.  In his last year or two he even taught some lessons to my more advanced riders, and finally even to a ten year old rider.  He was SO careful with her and gentle for handling and riding.  It's an impressive resume for any horse, and he really exemplified what a thoroughbred is capable of.

When I met him for the first time at a jumping clinic at CSU he was owned by a friend of mine.  I saw his athleticism and how hot he was and instantly became one of his fans.  A few years later I had the opportunity to purchase him and I very eagerly did so!  I discovered his specific preferences for cushy, padded tack including bridles, saddle pads, and girths.  He also demanded the very softest of brushes and curry combs for his sensitive self.  I evented him through training level, and then when some mild arthritis in his hocks started to bother him at age sixteen I retired him from jumping.  He took me to clinics with two olympic coaches, one for jumping (Daniel Stewart) and one for dressage (Jane Savoie).  He helped me start several young horses under saddle, ponying them with me around the arena, pastures, and trails.  He was a steady, confident trail horse and we logged many miles around northern colorado.  He was my "go to" when I needed a finished horse to take youngsters out on the trails, and he was the horse to whom I turned when I wanted to improve my own riding skills.  Everywhere we went people commented on what an amazing mover he was, and how athletic he was.  He was always a gentleman under saddle, with the height, conformation, and presence to make anyone take pause to appreciate him.  It didn't matter if he was in a jumping saddle, a dressage saddle, or an aussie saddle, he always worked hard and did his job well.  Even when we would have a wild round over fences or in a dressage test I felt privileged and honored to have him in my barn, and he always made me remember why I prefer off-track thoroughbreds as my own horses.  I love him dearly and I'll miss him terribly, but I will always feel like I received a gift from God when I put him in my trailer that first sunny afternoon. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mahzi Update

Mahzi went to the vet yesterday for her meet and greet with the vet and staff, and she did quite well.  After meeting her the vet was careful to ask about my living situation.  I described our lifestyle of running and working and training and being busy all day, and the vet looked quite relieved, saying that she didn't think a dog like Mahzi was going to do well in, say, a two bedroom apartment, but this situation sounds perfect for her.

Smiling Mahzi

Tack Room Before & After

I almost have the new tack room all unpacked.  As I go through the process of organizing and assembling things I find myself wondering HOW I fit all this into the tiny tack room at the old place.  I also hearken back to my days as "the mobile tack room" when all my equipment was in the covered bed of my little Ford Ranger truck as I traveled from ranch to ranch working horses for clients before I had my own place.  Here are some comparison photos of the old place:

It's a little like playing "Where's Waldo?", but can you spot both cats, Z and Sabbath?
Here's Sabbath!
The new place has a tack room that is easily five times the size of the old tack room.  I've stuffed it pretty full, but I love having a place for everything and room to hang stuff, and I've acquired some additional cabinets and trunks for storage.