19 July 2012

Earth Wind and Fire Part Deux

Guest post, follow up on Earth Wind and Fire by Tammie Ellingson:

It is a God-thing.

 I owned two horses, an aged Q.H gelding, with issues- blind in one eye (that never stopped  him), suffering from heaves and worsening arthritis in his front legs. And our ten year old rocky mountain gelding who had weight issues and needs LOTS of exercise. Having gone back to full time at work, I had been thinking how nice it was to only have one horse that needed to be ridden. Our Q.H Skip still gave rides around the hayfield to our grandson and various barn children who’s parents had no time, or horses too hot for such a job, or stood in as an extra when our family all wanted to ride. We had other horses at the barn we could use when we wanted. So, when the thought came to my mind, ‘I need another horse, an older one who doesn’t need to be used every day” I was surprised. I ignored the thought until I got home and checked my E-mail. There, amongst the junk mail, was a letter from my daughter. A forwarded list of Morgan horses in need. This is not an unusual thing for Megan to send me, she loves to look for horses online and send me adds for the ones that interest her, but never have I thought any thing about this, but hmmmmm. Well this time one of the horses she pointed out was a twenty year old Morgan gelding. In Illinois. So….I sent an E-mail to Kathy. I did not really think this horse would be close enough to see, but promised myself if it was with in two hours of our home, I’d check it out! He was, thanks to Kathy for being willing to meet us, and we made arraignments. I was a little worried, as by now I had asked God several times if I had really heard Him say “go get that horse!’ or if it was just me wanting a horse. He seemed to confirm that, yes God wanted me to go get the gelding.

So. We loaded up the whole available family ( my daughter and her husband are in Nebraska, so we left them out!) and headed to western Illinois to meet Kathy, her husband, their young friend and an assortment of Morgans. I couldn’t help but wonder if Kathy would think it was strange for my husband, son, daughter in law, and one year old grand baby to come, but we all wanted to see this horse that God had chosen!
 Well our first look at Earth Wind And Fire was a little intimidating. He was tied, waiting to be tacked up and go for a ride. All the other Morgans stood quietly, tied to the trailer, but Windy paced back and forth, high headed and excited. And big! My son Justin had come to try him out for me, and Kathy, who I loved on sight, had brought along a quiet mare for me to try out. Really, it seemed obvious the mare was the better choice for me. We tacked up, and Justin, an intrepid rider who has ridden since birth, hopped on the very hyper Windy bareback. Windy hopped around, pushing into other horses, people, any thing in his way. Justin caught my eye and shook his head “not this horse”. Had God sent us for the little mare instead? I didn’t know, but trusted God to let us know.
 We headed off down the trails, it was a beautiful ride. Justin and Windy lead the way. I watched with interest. I needed a horse that would lead the way for our rides with younger children. Windy never spooked, never hesitated. Justin chose the hard trails. No problem for Windy. My little mare, Happy Holly, was great too, a very nice horse.
We returned to the trailer and Justin assured me Windy was the horse for us. If I didn’t want Windy could Justin have him?  Of course Justin’s young family can not take on the costs of a horse,but that’s all right cause we can share!
Now Windy is called Indy, in honor of his new life. He has learned to stand still when mounted. To stay standing until asked to go. He has spent the last month going out for rides on our trails with our rocky mountain gelding Smoke, who is ridden by our ten year old niece. He calmly leads the way so Smoke does not have to face the scary things first. On one long ride when Smoke was being naughty, I traded horses with our niece and rode Smoke while she rode Indy. Our niece is from out of state and only rides for the month she is at our house in the summer, so I was very proud of them both as they walked quietly along behind Smoke. Indy also has learned to handle opening gates from his back and tries very hard to figure out what we want of him. As he was ridden english before becoming a road horse for the Amish, our leg commands are confusing to him, but he is learning. He also is taking Justin and one year old Sabbath for rides around the hayfield and is very careful with the baby. Indy has a very good since of humor, so much like our Smoke, tossing his grain bucket, untieing himself in the barn and sneaking in the barn
when Richard brings the stall horses in for the night! Richard likes him any way (that’s saying a lot)! I could go on saying niece things about him all night, but I think you can see that I, for one,am very happy with the horse God chose for our family!
18 July 2012

A Facial Analysis of Coyote

I am a big fan of Linda Tellington-Jones especially her book Getting in TTouch. In the years that I spent training horses I often compared the horses I saw to her analysis of facial markings. I fully believe and agree that the shape of and markings on a horses head give us great clues to personality and likely behavior.

I thought it would be fun to contemplate my beloved gelding Coyote through her writings. Please excuse the poor quality of the pictures. When ever I try to get a picture they all have to stand on top of me.


The swirls on the forehead are the most basic and easiest part to read. Coyote has two, one above the other the bottom being an inch or two long and both connecting. According to Linda this swirl pattern, two swirls connecting. means an emotional and over reactive horse best handled by an experienced rider. Coyote is all of this plus more, but we will get to that. I have found that I get along with this type of horse but not with horses whose swirls are next to each other. They seem to react worse when upset.

The complications of his swirls are offset though by his nice straight profile on a moderately long head with a good square muzzle. Meaning, uncomplicated, easy going, intelligent, willing and able to learn. Does this mean he is not emotional and over reactive? Not at all, just that he is also dependable. Especially when handled in the understanding manner he requires.

He holds his chin very tightly the lip separated by ridges showing that very complexity of character already made so clear.

I have a hard time judging nostrils but I will go out on a limb and say that his are large and open with the edges well defined. Linda qualifies this as intelligent, fluted at the top being a thinker, cooperative if the rider is fair. They are also wrinkled just above indicating his general disdain for those about him. Sounds good so far.

Keeping in mind that on his right eye he has a tumor making it appear smaller, he has large eyes set wide apart signifying intelligence. On this one I could be prejudiced, but I would credit him with the look of eagles as Linda defines it, proud and distant. They do constantly show white which according to folk lore, but not Linda, means spooky and not trust worthy. He can be spooky.

His ears are well defined and nicely fluted showing intelligence they are wide and set wider at the tips then the base all showing steadiness.

So were we able to discern Coyotes nature and true self by reading his face? Or was this guessing and taking what I already new of him and reading it into what I wanted to see? Does this help me to know how to best approach a strange horse or prejudice me.

I know that Coyote is a bizarre mix of complications and dependability, unpredictable yet steady, intelligent but crazy. Did I chose traits applicable to him and decide that those are the ones he must posses? Or does it work?

We wont even get into nature verses nurture.


17 July 2012

Reaping the Harvest

Despite our recent run in with Racoons we are beginning to enjoy the harvest of the garden. The tomatoes are ripening huge and juicy. Lots of peppers are coming on. I picked one tomatillo and added it to the peppers, tomatoes and some freshly dug garlic for a delicious salsa. I could have added one of our onions they are getting big enough but I needed to use up some store bought onion.

We made Shish Kabobs with our first zucchini. It was supposed to be a pumpkin. It came up with the other pumpkin seed I planted in that exact spot. When I got to looking at it, it didn’t look like a pumpkin.

The cilantro has gone wild and the dill will be ready for every thing we can pickle.

16 July 2012


We put leg bands on the chickens. Not fancy bands designated for chickens just plain old zip-strips. I was letting one at a time out to graze and needed a way to know who’s turn it was. Now they have bands and names. We have, the very creatively named, Green, Blue and Red.

With a way to know who you are looking at it is amazing how much personality a chicken has. Green is a chicken. No that doesn’t sound right, how about scaredy cat. Very timid and shy she is hard to catch.

Blue is my favorite. She is the first to great you at the gate begging for a grasshopper. She is friendly and inquisitive. Even when running loose she will run up to you and eat out of your fingers. Blue and green are buddies they hang out together now that I am letting them all out of the cage to roam during the days.

Red is a loner. The other two will be off chasing bugs together and Red will be on the other side of the yard. She lacks the herd instinct. Not at all social she has no interest in being fed. I can coax Green in for a grasshopper once in a while but never old Red. Not to say she doesn’t like the other two, they hang out. She just doesn’t need them.

They are even more fun to watch roaming freely about the yard then when caged. Not very surprising. Luckily the dogs don’t seem to be bothering them and they haven’t ventured near the garden yet and so they can continue to enjoy their freedom for now.

12 July 2012

Death and Distruction

As if gophers and grasshoppers weren’t enough we were struck by another attacker last night.


The evil beasts invaded the sweetcorn ripping the newly ripened fruit? from it’s stalk and tearing it to shreds. Where before there was happiness and great anticipation they have left behind despair.

All is not lost. There were a few survivors. We shall feast upon them tonight and then we’ll show those coons. We have not yet begun to fight!


Tiny, delicate, ferocious, raccoon hating Daisy treed the whole family of coons last night. She held them single handedly until she was able to rouse help. Only one was able to escape nearly eliminating the problem.

She’s a good dog.

11 July 2012

Going Out for Lunch

I went on a trail ride last week. An honest to goodness ride. Not, as is my habit of late, to hop on bare back and meander aimlessly but with a saddle and every thing.

All right so the saddle was not because of the trail ride but rather the other way around. I love my little Coyote because of his tendency to be rotten so it seems unfair for me to ride bare back pregnant and then get upset when he is hot and spooky. So it was agreed by all concerned parties that I should start using a saddle until pregnancy is no longer an issue. And so because I had a saddle on I decided to venture farther from home.

Nocturne called to check up on my location just in case there came the need for a search party. He invited me to ride over east across the highway to where they were combining that day it was just a few miles down quiet roads and section lines. The day was still cool, Coyote and I were fresh and it sounded fun. Daisy ranged ahead of us flushing pheasants as she went.

As we turned a corner I could see in the general direction of our goal, it was a long way off. Rides always seem longer with a goal in mind. We pushed on. The ride was beautiful, even when we had to traverse a real road, such as it was, for a short period. The shoulders were wide and the road deserted. I reached the combines just in time for lunch. How fortuitous.

I ate my husbands lunch for him, really there was plenty for all. I ate until I thought I would be sick. Then I had to get back on the horse for the homeward section of the trip, always much faster and bouncier. I really thought I was going to be sick.

10 July 2012

Of Eggplants and Ponies

I have a two pound eggplant inside a basketball inside my tummy. This strange occurrence and the analogy disturbs me a little. Being pregnant is weird enough without the food and sports references. Because of this interesting if not so unusual happening I am not allowed to start riding my three year old. Mind you they said I can’t ride him they (doctors, husband, people with more common sense than me) didn’t say I couldn’t work him.

I don’t know why I’m so worried about getting him started all of a sudden. Yes he’s three. No big deal. Morgans, horses in general, shouldn’t be started until then any way. It’s just that I am surrounded by a culture in which horses are started at two. An un-broke three year old means that I am a bad owner. Granted I have already admitted to this sad fact, I need to convince myself that that is not the case on this particular occasion. Next year he will be four, next year I will start riding him. He will be that much more ready to ride because I will have spent this year preparing him. It will be great.


All I want to do is hop on Coyote bare back in a halter and plod around the yard. I am lazy, I am pregnant, I am burned out on training horses.

Next year though, next year he shall be ridden.

9 July 2012

They Grow Up So Fast

Finger eating chickens as babies

It seems like only yesterday that we picked them up as day old chicks. Now they are large ferocious finger eating chickens.

Large is all relative I suppose. They are Buff Orpingtons and will get much bigger than this before they are done. The ferocious beasts progressed quickly from pouncing upon grasshoppers as we herded them into their cage to ripping them out of our fingers as we dangle them over their heads.

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