Monthly Archives: April 2010

A Cookie of a Day

Annie, Nana, Dixie and I all went down to the Big City today to pick up our new horse Cookie to bring her home for her trial period.  We had a wonderful time to say the least.  Just being amongst the Haflingers in their environment is a real treat.  There is no fighting, squealing, arguing or dangerous behavior.  With all the horses moving in and out of the aisle ways, walking under other’s cross-ties, no incidences and all this in the company of a stallion, a camel and an llama.  I kept finding myself worrying about whose rump I was walking past and then reminding myself that this is NOT a normal situation.  But it was a really fun situation!

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We brought Cookie in from the field where she was pastured with around 10 other mares and fillies.  She was their leader and they all followed us to the gate and whinnied as she left following behind the golf cart.  We brought her in to the aisle of the barn and put her in her cross ties and Holly brought us brushes to get Cookie all cleaned up.  Annie dove right in, brushing her shoulders and then moving around her body… I was vigilant but also wanting to let Annie just be herself to really put Cookie to the test.  What did Cookie do with an overly excited 2.5 year old?  Fell asleep, and even drooled a little.  She absolutely loved every moment of our grooming her and especially would lower her nose and lovingly nuzzle Annie.  So as we waited to go out in the arena, Annie got to sit on her back while she dozed… Not without a picture of utter glee on her face.

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One thing about Annie is that she is never short on words.  She chattered about everything while enjoying her new “Cookie horse.”  She kept saying over and over how this was her horse and how she was going to take it home etc. etc.  Thankfully Nana was all ears and attention was paid to the excited little girl.

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Once we got her out to the arena, I rode her for a bit and she was speedy as ever, moving quickly and with ease.  I then decided that Annie could get on with me and though Cookie kept up a good pace, she did slow a bit more with the knowledge of precious cargo.  We moved this big soccer ball around and though I could barely touch it with my feet, Cookie would sometimes kick it with her own.  Annie thought that was a lot of fun!

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We had a fun time cruising around, enjoying every moment of horsey-ness with each other. 

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What was really interesting was that when I put Annie on Cookie by herself, Cookie slowed even more.  I was easily out walking her and we went around obstacles, over logs and through barrels.  She never missed a beat and moved slowly and cautiously.

Soon we were ready to load up in the trailer and headed out with a group of 7 to the trails by the river again.  Annie rode in front of me on Cookie the whole time and prattled away how we were in a “train” and how much she wanted to see the river.  It was so fun to enjoy that time with my daughter and to show her how much fun riding horses can be.  All the Haflingers did very well, even a couple who were pretty new to the trail riding experience.  My mom even rode with us on a paint/appy cross mare who was exceptionally sweet and slow.  Mom hasn’t ridden in about 15 years she guessed so I think that Holly picked the right horse for Mom and I believe Mom enjoyed herself very very much.  It’s nice to get back in the saddle again, especially when you aren’t worried every moment about problems or glitches.  What a  lovely day, and now I get to look out in the morning and see a lovely horse… One that Annie and I will enjoy together.

Horsey Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

My husband will be proud, my post title is due to a David Bowie song that I will admittedly say I do not like.  But, it fit.  I’m finding that the older I get and the more responsibility I get i.e. a daughter to call my own, my tastes and wants have changed a bit.  Granted I still like the “basic” things I always did, though I listen to more kids music now than ever before and I drive more conscientiously.  I have noticed my heart shifting in the areas of horses.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still love them but certainly not as I did before I knew the love you could have for your own child.  I used to kind of scoff at those who thought I couldn’t love my dog just as much… Yes, I was wrong… Very very wrong.  But you don’t come to learn that until you have your own child!  So… Back to the horses.  My tastes are changing.  Instead of wanting brio or spirit and showy flash, I want steady-eddie.  I’m not interested in that pizzazz I once thought I liked. 

I recently found myself in an awkward situation, one that was swirling around in my head but I didn’t really want to admit out loud.  I was seeing the love my daughter started having for all things horses and then started truly evaluating the horses I currently own and realizing they are certainly not the safest animals for a 3 year old to learn on.  Not only did I have to watch closely out in the pasture just petting, but I certainly didn’t feel comfortable giving her little rides around the yard without holding her leg.  Sure, my horses are great for ME but not a young just learning little girl who sees no fear in just about everything; except bees and strange bugs.  So I started doing a little research here, a little research there and dropped hints to my husband once in a while.  Finally I said out loud, “I think I am going to sell Cali and buy a horse that I can ride with Annie on.”  It hurt a little to say it because to me, if you say it out loud it will probably come true and I love my Cali!  Plus, my stock in Kiger mustangs is rapidly dropping and I also knew that I wasn’t going to search that particular breed for my next horse.  Of course, I was born with champagne taste on a beer budget (sorry for the lame metaphor but it does get the point across.)  I like things that are different, that people say, “Wow, what’s that?”  I have never liked plain ol’ Quarter Horses and I know a lot of people just choked but I’m being honest; I don’t like Paints either.  There, glad I got that off my chest.  Yes yes, lots of you have those breeds and they’re the salt of the earth, the best thing you’ve ever had… I understand.  I have those too but my tastes happen to not settle for average aka popular.  I’m one of those that if something becomes popular, I run in the other direction… Wonder if that means I’m weird?

So my point is, Cali is moving on down the road to make room for a new horse.  One that is older, shorter, and safer for a small child to learn on and around.  Cali, and many other Kigers I have known or owned do not like small things!  They believe they are to stomp and conquer… Many an unwelcome dog has been quickly escorted out of my pasture by my horses.  I’m sure most of the neighborhood coyotes have had to use their wiles to pass through.  So who, you ask, fits the bill?

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Meet “Cookie.”  The one who I’m hoping is going to replace Miss Cali.  Cookie is a Haflinger, a breed that hails from Austria where they were used as all-around family horses.  They plowed, pulled carts to town, baby sat the kids, and were riding horses.  They had to do everything and do it well.  They are small, from 13.3 hands to 15 hands and are very solid built, some tending to be draft in type and others a more modern type that is used nowadays for jumping and more athletic things.  Cookie is 17 and pulls a cart like a champ (what fun that would be to learn to do!) she has been owned by the Amish in the past and has had 3 foals that we know of but probably more.  She is 14.1 hands and is very sweet… Just look at that face. 

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I took Cookie out on a trail ride with the owner of Top of the Line Farms in our Big City yesterday and Cookie moved out quickly!  She just zoomed ahead of the group, ears up and out for a ride with a smile on her face.  She couldn’t have been happier out there on the trails.  We often had to stop and wait for the 4 others who were along to catch up and Cookie would stop and wait but she certainly made sure I knew it wasn’t her idea that we did.  She couldn’t care less about the other horses in the group, something I really like because it shows she’s definitely not herd bound!  The whole time though, with deer bounding out suddenly, quail zooming by, and jack rabbits crossing our path, she never spooked.  Didn’t break stride, didn’t hiccup… She was out where she loved to be.  I mentioned to the owner that I sure loved the ride but was concerned with how quickly she moved for my daughter’s sake.  She then assured me that when Cookie has a child on her back, she goes in to “kid mode” and is quiet and gentle.

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So we’re bringing Cookie home on Friday for a trial period.  I’ll see how she handles Annie on the ground and in the saddle and then we’ll make our final decision.  I have a big feeling that Cookie is it… Annie is already talking about her new “Cookie Horse.”  I sure hope that they bond deeply and that Annie can grow up with the love of a horse like I had in my Papoose.  There’s not much else in the world that can make my heart feel so free as compared to when I’m out enjoying a ride on a trusted steed.