I love my friends!

One of my good friends Amanda at Amanda's Veranda. Amanda is a wonderful photographer, a great story teller, and has been a good friend for several years. I truly appreciate all she has brought to my life.
In the course of publishing this blog I have encountered so many wonderful people. It is hard to define what a friend is in this electronic world. Since most of the people that we meet on the Internet we never meet in person. So what is an Internet friend? Is it someone whose beliefs you share, a person who follows your blog, the person who writes the blog that you visit everyday, the individual who stops by once and leaves you a message that just makes your day, or the person who quietly visits your blog anonymously? I think that a friend can be all of those (especially if they have peppermints). That is the great thing about living with horses, you learn that everyone can be part of the herd.
This award belongs to the people who follow this blog, the blogs that I like to visit, to all the blogs I follow, and to the kind people who have dropped by and left me messages. Thank you for enriching my life, for your encouragement, and for caring about one little spotted pony.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR
The DOR is up in Ellensburg visiting Scooby, her blind horse, and Hank the Tank. I hope she has a good time. I am going to roll in mud, tease Harley Darling and Salty the Wonder Horse, and eat like a pig.


Skywatch Friday No. 33

It was a dreary day coming home from the ranch one afternoon. As we crested the hill there was a slight parting of the clouds and a ray of light jetting down to brighten up the afternoon.

Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at Skywacth Friday There are wonderful photos from all around the world!Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

So sorry Jack

I saw this picture of Jack over a year before I saw him in person. There was something about him that simply took my breath away. Imagine my surprise and delight when he was available when I was looking for a horse. I went to meet Jack in person and from the moment I touched him I knew that he was the horse I was looking for...
I owe Jack an apology and want to let everyone know that. Every since the "werehorse" incident, the one where we discovered not only could I fly but I could still bounce, I have been puzzling why he would buck. I blamed the shoo fly, I blamed Jack's nerves, I blamed everything but the true source. You see in the past few months I have become a dedicated student of Jack's and in that time I learned a lot. The biggest thing I learned is that Jack bucked because that was what I asked him to do. Yep you read that right-I asked Jack to buck and he did!
So here is how to get Jack to buck on command:
1. Cue Jack to canter.
2. Tighten every muscle in my body
3. When he tenses in response to my tension think loudly "Oh shit, please don't buck"
4. At the same time that thought is going through my mind grip firmly with my legs.
5. As Jack speeds up in response to the leg cue, start to pull him around for a one rein stop while gripping even tighter with my legs.
6. As Jack jumps into the air because he has been goosed, dig in like you are a wild lion on his back.
These steps, although exaggerated for clarity and happening in rapid/unplanned succession, are a sure fire way to set Jack to bucking.
I learned this by rethinking what I did, watching other riders doing the same type of thing. But most of all I learned this from a wonderful teacher-Jack himself, by really focusing on what is going on while we work together. I have watched him face things that frighten him to death and still be aware of where I was. I have seen him turn to me, asking me to help him through tough situations.
When Jack had the bag on his saddle last week I discovered a lot about our relationship. Jack was afraid and would leave the circle and head to me for help. The first time he did that he came close to running me over, my fault because I didn't cue him. The next time he went to do that I held up my hand and as afraid as he was he respected the cue to stay out of my space and he returned to the circle. He also tugged the lead rope out of my hand on one of the circles. When the rope fell Jack had the opportunity to take off like a lunatic around the arena, he didn't do that. I watched him do two circles around me, I reached down and collected the rope and Jack continued to do as I had asked him...circle around me. He didn't buck once while we have been working on "horse eating" obstacles, that is why I know he did what I asked him to do when he did buck. I have discovered that Jack does exactly what I ask him to do (sometimes he does what I think about him doing), that if he seems to not follow requests it is because I didn't ask him to do something in a manner he could clearly understand. I always believed that any issues we were having were mostly mine, I have discovered that they are all mine.
I have enjoyed the time that I have got to be in the "School of Jack". Studying him, listening to him, and truly focusing on what we are doing together has made a world of difference for us.
So Jack I am sorry, I have been a slacker student and a poor partner. I was quick to blame you for things that were my fault. I promise to be a better DOR in the future. I am very lucky that you are patient and big hearted. Thanks for being a great teacher.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your teacher/horse.


Wordless Wednesday

Best friends
Working on not blowing marbles

I'm so darn cute!

I am the "King of Bling" at the ranch and the DOR loves me!

Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


More bags

After I got my eyes back in my head and collected all of my lost marbles, a condition caused by a bag being hung off of my saddle horn, the DOR introduced me to another bag. How many bags does she have? Is she a bag lady?
The bag she is holding has three pop cans in it. I was wondering why she was carrying the flag...I would soon find out.

The DOR shook the bag all around me. The rattling cans didn't bother me as much as rattling grocery sacks, go figure that one.
She tied the bag to the flag and began to wave it around me. I poked it with my nose and found out that somehow the cans made the bag behave.

I didn't even mind the bag waving around my face-well at least not too much.

Here I am performing my new job...Cactus Jack Splash Bag Inspector. Yep I am going to inspect bags. I have a feeling that most bags will be found to be defective, having to be disposed of. The bags that have handles that enable them to be hung off of a horse's saddle are most definitely headed to a recycling facility, they can be turned into nice lawn chairs.

As you can tell by the big ol grin on the DOR's face she was very happy with how I did. Glad I could oblige, but I could really do without the bag on the saddle horn the next time.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Hammer, Jack Hammer.

Yes as promised I gave the DOR my extended trot treatment. I trotted and loped for about 25 minutes straight. I didn't stop, no matter how much she begged me. I showed her! Well there is a bit more to the story.....

So here are a few of the DOR's "toys of torture", I could tell right away it wasn't going to be a day of a simply walking around the arena.

I did really well with all the toys. I did blow a few marbles when the DOR moved the bag back and forth across the saddle. All-in-all I showed how much progress I have made.

You think she would be happy with that progress wouldn't you? Well it doesn't help when she has been talking to the trainer. His suggestion was to keep exposing me to new things, push me a bit harder, make me work through the things that make me blow marbles. When I get over blowing marbles over one thing find something else that makes me blow marbles and work on that. Well drat the luck, she paid attention...

She knows my big issue is grocery bags. Even though I did well with the bag on a stick she found a way to up the stakes and you will never believe what she did!

She hung the bag on my saddle horn!!!! I didn't have to do a lot of thinking-in fact I stopped thinking-I was getting out of there. The bag kept following me, there was no escape. I trotted and trotted and the bag just kept flapping along.

I changed directions and it just wouldn't get lost! Every once in a while the bag would get really big and start rocking back and forth, then it would spin around and around getting smaller.

I tried loping...it followed. I tried running to the DOR, she said I had to stay out of her space. Stay out of her space? Tell that bag to get off my back! I ended up breaking a frothy sweat, it was terrible because there was a mare in the arena I was trying to impress. I am afraid I didn't do a very good job. She had a bag of cans hooked to her tail and she didn't care. She had bags of cans hanging off of her saddle, no big deal. I do hope that she noticed that I did not buck once, just trotted to beat the band. I finally decided the bag had been bounced around enough so I stood still. The DOR came over and took the bag off of the saddle and put it in her pocket...good thing for the bag.

Here I am posing for the mare, she should be impressed. Even sweaty I am goooood looking!

The DOR and I are thinking over today's lesson. She had a lot of thinking to do, I have it all figured out...bags are not my friend! I don't know what the DOR is thinking, I hope it isn't about bags.

Here I am after I got unsaddled. As you can see I had worked really hard. I got a good brushing, a rub down, lots of praise, and best of all I got treats! I guess I could learn to live with bags if it means I get treats!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Quote for the week

...I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Chimæra," A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, 1852 (about Pegasus)

There is something about the soft nicker, gentle neigh, or roaring whinny of a horse that touches humans. Even the most hardened heart softens when a horse speaks to it.
The DOR always smiles when we talk to her. She loves our low rumbling morning greetings, the gentle " buh, buh, buh", she says we sound like Barry White. I like to woofle in her ear when she gives me a hug.
Maybe if every human got to start and end their day to the sounds of horses the world would be a happier place.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Raspberries for the DOR

The DOR came out yesterday evening. She was out a bit early, but it was Friday and she tries to squeeze in some extra time with us.
We were all happy to see her because we were going to get evening treat tub. No such luck, tonight we were being given a "break" from our treats. Why the heck do we need a break? In order to try and help convince the DOR to give us treats we gave her rasberries. No not the delicious fruit kind that she would love...we gave her what she deserved!
Harley gave her the first raspberry. I must say it was a very nice one.

I was up next. I gave her several raspberries. I had to make up for the fact that Salty was not going to give her any raspberries. Salty said we were being rude, that the DOR knows what she is doing, and a break from treats would help us appreciate them more. To heck with what Salty says, he is just a big suck-up! Besides that I don't think he knows how to give a raspberry, that is why he is hiding behind polite manners. I appreciate my treats just fine thank you, that is why I should get some every evening.
The DOR did give us extra scritches...like that makes up for no treats. She also said she was going to ride on Saturday, we need to get ready for the trails. I think I might plan a "very special" treat for her while we are riding...yep that is a good idea.
I do think she took pity on us not getting our treat tubs on the way out of the gate she stopped and gave us all one small Berry Good treat. I guess it is better than nothing. I will return the favor when she asks for my nice slow jog, I will just not do my big extended trot...that will teach her. There is a reason that my trainer nick named me "Jack Hammer"-this is going to be fun.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Skywatch Friday No. 32

For this Friday I thought I would share how my day starts.
I arrive at the ranch to feed at 6:00 in the morning, before I head to work. This morning it was foggy. Here is Jack wandering over to mooch some treats.
Here is the moon shining through the fog. It is always such a peaceful place in the morning.
The ranch helps me focus on the day ahead. It gives me a sense of balance and peace that allows me to stay centered throughout the day. The ranch also allows me to unwind and leave work behind at the end of the day. The horses, the ranch, the chores, the smells, and the views keeps the whole world in perspective for me.
Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at Skywacth Friday There are wonderful photos from all around the world!Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

Cookies by Jack, pies by Norman

A few posts ago I posted about the DOR's favorite kind of cookies...hoof cookies. We produce a lot of those at the ranch and each one is greeted with a smile.
For those of you who don't know, I live on a working cattle ranch. Cows also produce special treats. Norman, the bull who lives at the ranch produces some spectacular specimens of the cow specialty.
This is a cow pie, the DOR hates them! She thinks cow poop stinks. The worst part it the pies may look dried but they are not. They always seem to be gooey in the middle and it never fails that she steps in one when she is in a big hurry. Do you know that a well prepared cow pie just doesn't come off a pair of boots by walking around and scraping the grass. Heck no, a well prepared cow pie requires a pressure washer to completely remove it from a pair of boots. If not remove on the same day you step in it, the pie turns into a substance that will permanently adhere to anything. Remember the episode of Dirty Jobs: House of Poo?
I do need to tell you that Norman was orphaned at birth and he was bottle fed until he could eat out of a bucket. As far as bulls go he is a nice enough guy, but boy does he leave a bunch of pies every where.
I was thinking it would be fun for the DOR to open a pastry shop called "Cookies by Jack, Pies by Norman". Norman's and my faces could decorate the packaging, that would ensure great sales. She could specialize in treats with a twist: chocolate chip hoof cookies, molasses cow pies, chocolate covered raisin rabbit droppings, and the horse/human cookies that she makes in the summer just for a few ideas. She could even do specialty orders. Best of all the proceeds would go towards spoiling me! Yep, time for her to get busy baking.
I have to agree that real cow pies are nasty, however they do make for nice green grass so the DOR just needs to learn to watch where she is walking.

Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Wordless Wednesday

Dreaming of summer trails.

Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Some new vocabulary

Hi, Proffesor Jack here. I haven't given you any vocabulary words for a bit, so I thought I would correct that oversight. I ran into this list of definitions of everyday terms from the horses point of view.

Arena: Place where humans can take the fun out of forward motion.
Bit: Means by which a rider's every motion is transmitted to the extremely sensitive tissues of the mouth.
Bucking: Counterirritant.
Crossties: Gymnastic apparatus.
Dressage: Process by which some riders can eventually be taught to respect the bit.
Fence: Barrier that protects good grazing.
Grain: Sole virtue of domestication.
Hitching rail: Means by which to test one's strength.
Horse trailer: Mobile cave bear den.
Jump: An opportunity for self-expression.
Latch: Type of puzzle.
Longeing: Procedure for keeping a prospective rider at bay.
Owner: Human assigned responsibility for one's feeding.
Rider: Owner overstepping its bounds.
Farrier: Disposable surrogate owner useful for acting out aggression without compromising food supply.
Trainer: Owner with mob connections.
Veterinarian: Flightless albino vulture.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR



I think my hypnosis project worked!
The DOR showed up with a pocket full of carrots.
A really big pocket full of carrots!
Harley managed to get the first two carrots from the DOR. She must have felt sorry for him, why else would she give them to him first?
I got the next carrots. I did have the DOR give some to the red headed mare I shared the trailer with...she is lovely.

I really enjoyed getting to munch a bunch of carrots.
The DOR had fun making us all happy. Now I have to get to work on convincing her to bring us each a bag of apples.

Here is a hypnotic device to use in case your DOR is a hard sell. Use it to get treats, scritches, brushed, or hugs.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Quote of the week

He knows when you're happy He knows when you're comfortable He knows when you're confident And he always knows when you have carrots.~Author Unknown
Bet you when you started reading that you thought of Santa Claus...nope it is Carrot Claus. Yep it is true we always know when you have carrots. We know when you have treats of any kind.
I can sniff a peppermint or a Berry Treat that is in the DOR's pocket from a half a mile away...well maybe not that far, but pretty far.
Make sure and stare at the carrot picture, stare long without blinking and repeat after me, "I must take my horse a bunch of carrots, I must take my horse a bunch of carrots" Keep repeating until you arrive at your horse's pasture and feed him a bunch of carrots.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Happy Valentine's Day

As you can see I wear my heart on my butt, actually several hearts on my butt.

The DOR thought it would be fun to paint my hearts. She was going to use pink and red. I am sure she read my mind about how I felt about having pink hearts on my rear, since she only used red. It is bad enough that I have to have a painted rear...pink would have been inhumane and I would have reported her! The First one didn't go so well, I was wiggling a bit. Then I decided it didn't feel so bad so I stood still.
So here I am the Valentine Painted Pony. Now I know that my ancestors were painted up to go hunting or into battle, but I am sure that not a single one of them wore red hearts. I hope that I am not embarrassing them. The DOR assures me that they would understand that in this case I am painted to be the War Pony of Love...whatever, keep trying to convince me I don't look silly. At least the first heart where I was wiggling looks a bit devilish.
Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.
To all the humans, may you spend it doing things you enjoy, surrounded by people you love.
Here is to all of you gorgeous mares out there, especially the one I shared the trailer with, I wish you lots of love. To all you geldings, well I hope you have a wonderful day full of love and mares.
I wish that all of the creatures of the earth could experience for five minutes the pure joy that the DOR and I share during our quiet moments together. If they could all feel that the world would be have a wonderful Valentine's Day.
Here is a special wish from Freedom and mushboy. They are wishing you a great day too. I guess if the grand old man could care less about a heart that he has on his rear being painted red I shouldn't care either.
So here is to the LOVE...may we all enjoy lots of it today!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


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