January 20, 2010

Hello horse, goodbye antelope - and a moose record!

Had two lovely trail rides the weekend before last, in spite of the cold.

It was clear and sunny weather, but unfortunately at this time of the year, the low temperatures comes with it. All of the week it had been from -22 to -27C (-8 to -17F) in the evenings, with somewhat higher temperatures at daytime – but then I was stuck at the office!

Fame has since the snow came been back to her normal self.
I had a session for the Danish trainer Jimmi before Christmas, and he was happy with the progress, even if I felt we had been training more on spooking than on sensible work.
So it was very nice to hear!

With all the snow she can romp around with her friends during daytime instead of having all that surplus energy left when riding, I believe it is a major factor in the equation.

Due to the darkness after work it was impossible to go hacking after work too.
Now with the snow the situation is much brighter in all aspects, and she is happy to concentrate on the dressage work.
I have been riding her bareback in the training too.
Both to keep warm, but I also need the saddle to be checked as I am worried it has become too narrow for her. I am waiting for a visit since before Christmas from the saddler.

We are working on straightness and collection.
Basic work to build strength, and by this gaining more expression in the gaits.
When you discuss the issue of straightness with non-dressage people they often tend to go a bit blank.
But if you instead speak of stiffness in the horse, it is more familiar ground.
You might have trouble to get a correct bend to one side.
Your horse might have problems to pick up one canter lead.
But it is all a consequence of the horse not being straight.

On my ride on Saturday we almost broke our moose record.
My old one was 16 off on a two hours ride, but then I passed a feeding station where I saw twelve of them, so maybe that doesn't count?

Anyway Saturday we saw 7 off on a one hour's ride.
No feeding station!

Here we saw four off.
If you look at the center of the picture, one is standing, and one is laying down, but getting almost run into as the first one is trying to escape from us. In reality they were quite near us. (If you click the pic you might actually see something, or look at the blow up below)

One large male seems to have taken residence in the area between the creek and the stable.
After passing him (as no 7) on our way home, Fame after a while suddenly strays off the path and on out into the snow.
I got curious (I mean, we were on our way home) and let her pick the way.
After a short while, we reach a salt lick for the wild animals. Much tracks in the snow, and the bushes are eaten short.
So she inspects the place, trudges around, and then finally starts off home again.

I believe we were on a sightseeing trip, LOL!

On Sunday another cold, but lovely ride with my friend Helen and their New Forest, Othello.

Enjoy your winter rides, everyone!


I can understand that it is not easy to see any moose in the pic above.
Very frustrating really, as they were only some 10-15 m away from us, and I felt very brave grabbing the camera whilst holding Fame in the middle of all these five moose. Bareback.
And in addition I was freezing my fingers off because of the cold!
So - tada - here is a blow up of the picture:

Can you see them now? One walking, one laying.
Below is a picture of another one beside the two above (yes I know, lousy pic here too):

And below is another lousy picture of another moose, the first one we saw.
If you look at the picture at the top of this blog post, this guy was standing below the large spruces just where the field ended (center of the picture):


Shanster said...

Such nice blog posts... and nice sounding rides.

HorseOfCourse said...

Hi Shanster! Thanks, and welcome!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Beautiful pictures and so many moose! I don't really know what I'd do if we saw one, the horses would probably be scared to death. I'm always worried about bears, because we have them around our property. Glad you and Fame got out there and had some fun, I like that she went on her own sightseeing trip for a little diversion.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Looks beautiful, as always. You know how to make the best of winter.

RuckusButt said...

Beautiful! I am so jealous as I am bored with the arena! It's ok during lessons because there is so much to focus on but I would like to go on a nice hack.

I am even more jealous of your moose sightings! I spent 2 summers in the middle of Newfoundland bog and lived for sightings of moose! I love them! Maybe it's because one of the first horses I rode as a kid looked like one.

RuckusButt said...

I just noticed - this post just showed up for me today, Jan 20, I've been checking! I don't trust the sidebar on my blog because it is not always accurate. Now I see your post is dated Jan 11. Weird!

Wolfie said...

Wonderful pictures, once again! I love how you embrace winter!! My father is from Newfoundland and I saw my first moose on summer vacation there as a child. I have only seen five or six in my life. They are beautiful, so magnificent.

Anonymous said...

Grey Horse Matters: I rather have moose than bears ;) Even though me and my horse (or at least me, I think my horse is a bit curious on them) don't appreciate the moose as much as Maria and Fame ;)

Yesterday I was very late in the stable and when I came out of the stable a moose was eating the hay just outside the door. It jumped over the fence and into the riding arena and walked around there for a while looking at me, lol!

And I'm happy Fame is back to her normal self again! Let's hope the snow will last ;)

Di said...

Blimey, is it me, I can't see any moose!!! Beautiful pics as usual.

trudi said...

Click on the pics to enlarge them and then you can see the moose. Gorgeous pictures as always.
Straightening...the work of a lifetime for human and horse.

Siri said...

Moose are ok as long as they don't start chasing us on the trail!
I think i saw 4 or 5 the other day, hacking with the youngster. He didn't see any of them :p

Signing Trudis comment about straightness.

Merri said...

what do your horses think of the moose? I am quite sure our horses would FREAK!!!
- The Equestrian Vagabond

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for your comments all!

GHM, I totally second Siri on her comment. I will take moose anyday compared to bears!!!!

Merri - some horses are afraid.
I believe it is with this as with other potentially frightening situations.
As a rider you have to stay calm, and avoid to get too close to the moose if possible. And over time the horse gets less afraid.
Fame is relaxed around them, more curious actually - but she has never experienced a chase from one of them either.