What the Hay?!

I have been absent from the writing scene for a while now, I keep wanting to type something up, but when I go to do so, nothing comes to mind. It’s as if I’m trapped inside of an empty, white room, no windows or doors providing an exit or even an entrance for that matter. I sit on the floor, in the middle of this white room, rocking back and forth, pulling at my hair in frustration and desperation, longing for something or someone to appear, but nobody and nothing does. It is frustrating and it is painful, but it is all a part of the writing process.

Much has happened since I last sat down and wrote something, I’ll try to fill all of you in on what I’ve been up to, without being too wordy…..

  Tuesday afternoon I arrived out at my barn in Fowlerville, normally I’d either be at home or at Beekman on a Tuesday, but that week I was helping with hay and had to be there. I had been told we’d be getting around 2,000 bales of hay(did you shudder at that number like I did?), all of which would need to be stacked over the course of two days(Wednesday and Thursday, Tuesday was a possibility but hay didn’t get baled until late evening). Wednesday morning was the beginning of the daunting task of stacking what seemed to be an endless supply of hay. Around the fourth wagon load(each wagon holding roughly 150 bales each) I began to wonder if we’d ever find that beloved and much desired “Final Bale”.  It started out with four of us stacking hay, but that number was reduced to three(two people, Bill and Doug, left to begin the seemingly never-ending process of delivering wagons—and one person remained with me<<THANKS LAUREN>> and one person showed up<<Thank God for Anthony>>) and together we stacked two more wagons filled with hay. Our number again was reduced and this time there was just two of us stacking hay. It was hot. We were sweaty and sticky and the hay just kept coming. We did one wagon, just the two of us and then a third wagon, which when we were half-way through, Bill arrived with another wagon and he helped us to finish it. After that wagon Bill told us to go cool off in the pool and eat lunch, which we did, before going out to do our final wagon of the day, which Doug helped us to finish. Anthony and I, both silently rejoicing to be done for the day( we were too out of breath to rejoice aloud) went to go shower—Anthony’s girlfriend showed up and we went off the farm(Anthony, his girlfriend, Lisa and I) to explore downtown Fowlerville for a little while before heading back to the farm to eat dinner and feed horses. Late that evening the final wagons, which would be unloaded on Thursday, were brought in by Bill-who by then also looked exhausted. Wednesday was the 4th of July, so once again the four of us went off the farm, down a little dirt road, and ended the night by watching a lovely display of fireworks before heading back and collapsing into our beds.

Thursday morning seemed to come all too quickly and I literally dragged myself out of bed to go do morning feed and wait to get started on hay(I might have fallen asleep on the couch at some point in waiting to do hay). Bill and I stacked 1.5 wagons worth of hay by ourselves and for the remaining wagons we had help(Doug, Anthony, Mike, Jess and Cooper) and we managed to get all the wagons emptied before the Sun went down. We did find the “Final Bale” and everyone let out a weary shout for joy when it was placed in its spot amongst all the other bales. All but two of us went inside to cool off in the air conditioning and eat sloppy joe’s before having to return all the wagons to their owner. Ice cream was gotten afterwards(I don’t know how I stayed awake to finish it) and once again we all collapsed into our beds.

Poor Zoey knew I was out there, but I was busy Tuesday through Thursday and therefore didn’t do anything with outside of giving her a pat in the morning and evening. On Friday evening I went out the pasture to go bring her in, she wasn’t where I could see her, so I called out her name, and lo and behold, there she was. She let out a loud whinny and came running from the other side of the hill to where I stood. We didn’t do anything but ground-work, but she looked pleased nonetheless to be working and not being ignored anymore. On Saturday we did more ground-work, because there was nobody on the farm and there’s no riding if nobody is there to be of aid if something were to go wrong. Transitions have been one of our sticky spots, so we spend nearly an hour working on transitions(walk-trot, trot-walk, trot-canter, canter-trot, walk-canter, canter-walk) in her good direction she caught on pretty quick, put her head down, did more licking and chewing and blowing that I’ve ever seen her do, and just looked like a generally different horse. Her off direction took a little while for her to get it, but when she did, she GOT it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that horse look as relaxed as she did then, nor have I seen her do that much licking and chewing and blowing and sighing before. It was a good ground-work day for sure.

Sunday I didn’t work her period, I had a few things I wanted to get done before having to leave early to go watch a friend at her second ever horse show. Truth be told Zo and I have been having issues under saddle, when working in the arena, trotting and loping in either direction, she doesn’t seem to want to stay on the rail. When we trot down the rail she starts to drift off, towards the inside of the arena, and at one point she had her hip facing inside and her head to the outside. When we’re loping, she’ll stay on the rail until we go through corners, then she cuts them and when we get to the rail she drops her shoulder and spins to the inside and just stands there. She did this in the round-pen, so I spent three days working in the round-pen on just this. Anytime I felt her getting ready to drop her shoulder and spin inside, we rolled back and loped off in the opposite direction, then we’d roll-back and lope off back in the direction we were going—we did this until we could go in either direction without her dropping either shoulder and spinning in or ducking to the outside. The issue in the round-pen seems to have been resolved, so now we’re TRYING to work on it in the arena. When she would drop her shoulder, or drift off the rail, I’d smack her shoulder with my foot, lengthen the inside rein and pick up on the outside rein—so she started to duck to the outside whenever I’d kick with my inside leg and pick up on the outside rein. So on Sunday we didn’t work under-saddle, because I’m not sure how to address and fix this and saw no point in riding her if she’s just going to keep doing it and getting away with it.

I went over to Wyn Farm to cheer on my dear friend, Ella, as she rode Emmett(a handsome Warmblood) in her second ever Dressage test. There were 10 riders in both tests and they split them into two groups of 5 for both test A and B. Ella rode the poise and confidence of a true Dressage rider and managed to take second place in both of her tests. The smile on her face was and the sigh of relief were testament to how happy she was with both her rides. She is becoming a beautiful rider and it has been a joy to watch her progress on her journey to stardom.

Summer camps have been going on seeming well at Beekman, we only have a few weeks left, and then we’ll be done with them. The horses, volunteers, instructors and kids have all been troopers in this heat and a joy to work with. I help out on some Mondays and every Tuesday and Wednesday. My days are busy, spent at two barns, my Mom jokes that I just come home to have a place to eat and sleep.

Tomorrow is another day of camp and after that I’m out at my other barn, and Zoey and I will be working under-saddle this time. Until then, have a happy ride. 


The smile says it all


Cooper, the mini Donkey
Best friends

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